The 102nd NZ issue consists of two large topical sections, complemented by a number of related pieces, as well as regular columns. The first of the two main topics is Eastern, South-Eastern and Central Europe, a region that has already been extensively covered in NZ. The other major topic is relatively new for the journal.
The section “Other Europe: A Political Calendar” includes three articles. In the first, “Sarajevo and the Imperial Confines of Europe in 1914--2014: «Eternal Calendar»”, Dragan Kujundzic, a professor at University of Florida, sets out certain theoretical foundations for a conversation about a region dubbed bloodlands by the historian Timothy Snyder or, more precisely, about its south eastern part, the Balkans. Alexander Bobrakov-Timoshkin gives a detailed account of the 1989 events in Czechoslovakia, analysing the paradoxical transformation of the movement “for a better socialism” (which continued, in some way, the traditions of the Prague Spring) into an anti-communist, bourgeois Velvet Revolution. The collapse of the communist regime and the memory of the socialist past in the GDR are the subject of Alexander Chertenko's piece on a novel by the German writer Annett Gröschner. The last public speech given by the leader of socialist Hungary János Kádár in 1989 is an eloquent commentary, full of drama and emotion, to the “quiet madness” that beset the communist regimes of Eastern and Central Europe. In his unscripted speech before the members of the Central Committee, he tries to exonerate himself from his past, including late 1940s show trials and collaborationism during the 1956 Soviet invasion.
The other topical section, “Soundscape: A Social History of Sound”, talks about soundscapes and the history of their development. It is from this angle that the issue's contributors discuss the role of technology in the life of people and society. R. Murray Schafer, a Canadian composer, sound theoretician and environmental campaigner, describes the way soundscape -- a concept he introduces -- transformed in the age of industrial revolution. Anatoly Ryasov's article is an analysis of the perception of sound and its treatment by the record industry of the past decades. A narrower aspect of the soundscape problem -- in the context of the present-day social media -- is considered in “Where Have the Melodies (Rather Than the Sirens) Gone: Territories of Hearing in the Social Media Soundscape”, a piece by Andrey Vozyanov.
Technology as “new nature” is the subject of Vladislav Degtyarev's essay “Deus in Machina”, included in Politics of Culture section. It talks, in particular, about an attempt to build some sacral creature, undertaken by a 19th-century American preacher and philanthropist. The section concludes with an article by a young Russian philosopher and media theoretician, Mikhail Kurtov, on a tense dialogue between people and things, which should lead to things gaining their own voice and political representation.
Another important topic of issue 102 is the intelligentsia and its role in modern society, both in Russia and elsewhere. The Culture of Politics section has two pieces on the subject. Alexander Vershinin considers problems facing the contemporary Russian intelligentsia against the backdrop of French experience, bearing in mind that France is famous for having always given a special role to its educated classes. Katarzyna Syska, who teaches at Krakow's Jagiellonian University, dissects the same issue in the context of Poland. A special, “personal” relationship with faith and religion is an important part of the intelligentsia's mindset. Alek D. Epstein writes about the intelligentsia's atheism and agnosticism in “Mosaic of Non-Religious Free Thinking: Atheism, Agnosticism and Other Intellectual Doctrines” (Politics of Culture). Finally, the historical conscience of today's Russian society (in comparison with its Soviet analogue) is the focus of a conversation between Irina Kosterina and the anthropologist Sergey Ushakin (NZ Interview). This subject is also directly linked to the role of the intelligentsia as it is this group that often establishes influential ideas of the past.
Among other pieces published in issue 102 is a translation of an article by Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, “The Making of Americans, the Teaching of English, and the Future of Cultural Studies” (Political Theory and Depolitisation Practices). This important work, whose conclusions do not apply exclusively to Americans, talks about the production and reproduction of society by means of various intellectual, educational and academic practices and institutions.
The issue also contains NZ regular columns. In Old World Chronicles Kirill Kobrin analyses racial and social stereotypes that are being reproduced in those fields of pop culture that exploit, in one way or another, the theme of sex (“Let's Talk About S.”), while Alexander Kustarev in his column Political Imaginary discusses future trends of the consumerist (as well as other types of) behaviour of the Western middle class in an age when unlimited social expectations no longer exist and any illusions of infinite growth have collapsed (“End of the World or La Vita Nuova?”). Alexey Levinson's Sociological Lyrics reflects upon social and psychological consequences of a patriotic consensus that has formed after the annexation of Crimea. And at last 102nd NZ issue concludes with a large bibliography section.
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