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Журнальный клуб Интелрос » Неприкосновенный запас » №5, 2013


The 91st NZ issue is split into three main topical sections. One can be said to have a political science (or, more precisely, regional studies) angle, while the other two focus on history, intellectual, ideological and political. The rest of the issue is related in some way or another to these topics.

The first section is titled “Regions Rebelling”. It contains an article by Andrey Makarychev where the recent crisis in the euro area is discussed from the Russian – in particular, regional – perspective. Andrey Starodubtsev attempts to find out the reason why Russian regional authorities are unable (or unwilling?) to claim real powers despite being legally entitled to them. In his essay “New Era of Geographic Discoveries” Vadim Shtepa reflects upon the subject of regionalism, branding and rebranding with regard to various areas the world over. According to him, “geophilosophy” can be relied upon as a means of changing the world today. The section also includes an article by Maria Nozhenko entitled “Regional Communities in the National States: The Real or Imaginary Threat?”.

The second section pays tribute to an important event in the intellectual history of Russia. This year sees the 20th anniversary of the publication of “Eros of the Impossible”, a book by Alexander Etkind concerned with the development of psychoanalysis in Russia and the Soviet Union. The author's essay “Twenty Years Later”, printed in this issue, can be read as an afterword to his study. Looking back on the past two decades of Russian history, Etkind comes to a sad, almost melancholy conclusion: “When I was writing «Eros of the Impossible», the most insightful among the leaders of the intelligentsia – Dmitry Likhachev, with his preaching of remorse, Yuri Karyakin with his mournful and, alas, comical “Russia, you're nuts” – were urging people to understand inherent complexity of the transformations. Yet even they never imagined how much pain, resistance and regress the next twenty years would bring about.”

The topic is further explored in four more pieces, all dealing, each in their own way, with political contexts of psychoanalysis. Professor Eli Zaretsky, of the New School for Social Research in New York, looks at “Eros of the Impossible” in the light of Freudo-Marxism and the evolution of political and cultural self-consciousness of Afro-Americans. Freud, homosexuality issues, homophobia on a state and societal scale and the treatment of “non-traditional” sexuality in the USSR and post-Soviet Russia are the subject of an article by Professor Dan Healey, a fellow of the Oxford University. The British therapist and writer John Launer shares his findings on the biography of Sabina Spielrein, one of the main characters of Etkind's book, touching – unsurprisingly – upon “A Dangerous Method”, the David Cronenberg film about Spielrein's relationship with Freud and Jung. Finally, Isabella Ginor and Gideon Remez, researchers at the Truman Institute of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, write about another of the book's characters, Max Eitingon, concentrating on some newly revealed details of his life, namely, his “unofficial” connections with the USSR.

The historical theme continues in the third section of the issue. It talks about people's reactions to “all things Soviet” and to the USSR, from direct political struggles to attempts at reforming the regime (and, more prosaically, surviving under it). An article by Lyudmila Klimovich focuses on the first period of the history of the National Alliance of Russian Solidarists. As Evgeny Kazakov and Dmitry Rublev trace in their short study the destiny of several underground groups that were active in Leningrad in the late 1970s – early 1980s, a fascinating plot unfolds. Nikolay Mitrokhin offers a specimen of a curious genre, which could be called “an (almost) unnoticed book review”. Mitrokhin analyses the memoirs of Valentin Beilinson, a prominent Soviet teacher.

The two historical selections end with an unusual postscript: Lev Usyskin reviews a rather interesting product of contemporary Russian pop science writing, pondering over a book about the Seven Years' War written by an amateur historian.

Although not headlined as special topical sections, two more subjects are covered in 91st issue. Comparative Studies features an article by Rámon Grosfoguel, a political and social scientist at UC Berkeley, entitled “Decolonizing Political Economy and Postcolonial Studies: Transmodernity, Border Thinking, and Global Coloniality”. Postcolonial issues – and, more generally, modernisation versus the relatively traditional ways of societies in the Middle East and Asia Minor – are also covered in Events and Comments. Karina Ilyintseva writes about the riots that shook Istanbul in the summer of 2013, their causes and consequences, while Leonid Isaev discusses the “Arab Spring” and, more specifically, the demands to create a Muslim state as one of its important elements.

The other subject is poverty in the present-day West, particularly in Europe. Kirill Kobrin, one of the NZ editors, launches his column Old-World Chronicles: Europe 21.1 with a piece on “contemporary European poverty”, where he considers its origins, sociopsychological and sociocultural connotations. In another, long-standing regular column Political Imaginary, Alexander Kustarev analyses historical perceptions of poverty, dissecting various contexts in which they emerged, while also talking about what links social institutions, modernisation and establishment with the problem of poverty today.

This issue contains two other customary columns, Sociological Lyrics by Alexey Levinson (“The Right to Choose and not to Choose”) and Political Economy of the Everyday by the editor-in-chief Ilya Kalinin (“Antirevolutionary Exorcism”). The issue concludes with Russian Intellectual Journals’ Review, compiled by Vyacheslav Morozov, Olga Burmakova's Digest of American Feminist Blogs, and the New Books section.

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