How far have social theorists in Russia engaged with the international academic world since the era dominated by Soviet-style historical materialism? Mainstream theories in sociology and ‘culturology’ use new vocabulary but remain loyal to ideological interpretations of society and culture. A minority of Russian sociologists have translated, adopted and critiqued Western ideas. Works by three such authors are explored and compared. This leads to consideration of the institutional development of the social sciences in post-Soviet Russia and their relative isolation from international trends, especially in the regions. The discussion highlights the limitations of old institutional hierarchies and suggests that there is new demand for internationally-trained social scientists to analyze and interpret the post-Soviet experience in innovative ways.
KharkhordinOleg V., '“Things as Res Publicae: Making Things Public”', in Bruno Latour and Peter Weibel(eds), Making Things Public: Atmospheres of Democracy, (MIT Press/ZKM Karlsruhe, Cambridge, MA2005).