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Between Past Orthodoxies and the Future of Globalization

Contemporary Philosophical Problems


Edited by Alexander N. Chumakov and William C. Gay

For over a quarter century Russian scholars have operated apart from past ideological constraints and have been discussing in new ways the most acute problems of Russia and of the world community as a whole. Between Past Orthodoxies and the Future of Globalization makes available in English current research by leading thinkers in Russia in philosophy, political theory, and related fields. At the international level, one group of essays articulates Russian perspectives on key global issues. At the national level, another group of essays delivers analyses of the global dimensions in a variety of current issues in Russia. Taken together, the fourteen chapters of this book demonstrate the relevance and vitality of contemporary Russian philosophy to the study of globalization.

Contributors are:
Akop P. Nazaretyan, Alexander N. Chumakov, Alexander V. Katsura, Anastasia V. Mitrofanova, Ilia V. Ilyin, Ivan A. Aleshkovskiy, Leonid E. Grinin, Olga G. Leonova, Pavel S. Seleznev, Sergey A. Nikolsky, Tatiana A. Alekseeva, Valentina G. Fedotova, Vladimir N. Porus, Vladimir V. Mironov, William C. Gay, Yakov A. Plyais

Leah Metcalf

We live in an age of technology that allow unprecedented support for children and adults with disabilities, but do these supports render a previously disabled person nondisabled? The label of disability, which is a term that was originally constructed by the government to make a segment of the population comprehensible to the world of labour, unfairly burdens school-children and adults with medical limitations with reduced opportunity. What follows is an analysis of the forces that educators, the United States business community and the federal government exert in order to render people disabled and a novel application of Foucault’s concept of the ‘disciplinary institution’. It is time for a new dawn for students whose potential contributions are limitless.

Alberto José Viralhadas Ferreira

Kant famously defined war as the natural consequence of any attempt to render politics as an aesthetic. Throughout history, war has attracted unending fascination as the stuff of conscientious or illicit representations of strife in situations that are often isolationist, coloured by the tainted hopelessness of ravaged landscapes, and destructive political purposes. However, the insanity of war is also the object of propagandistic romanticism and ethical idealism and its representations of extreme human desolation. It leads to the arousal of patriotic righteousness in art. The art media are often balanced by a rendered attitude towards the figure of the human body, both in its mangled or ghastly wounded form, and that of the dashing and elevated soldier or the proud baby-bearing working woman. War has assumed a romantic role in the modern imagination. It has been redefined by flashy Hollywood productions and flash-news inflamed rhetoric. These politically minded attempts at establishing war as a playground of principles and ideals and of human emotion, frame war as a purveyor of passions and eroticism. From neophyte homosexuality practices during the American Civil War to the burgeoning wave of prostitution in Central Europe during World War II, art catered to both sides of the conflict and saw the emergence of the pin-up as a cultural icon during important historical periods. The deconstruction of the poetics of the individual and its representation in the midst of these conflicts are a direct reminder of the vulnerability and carnal setting of the human body and emotion. Using art representations from various armed conflicts throughout history, this wide-spectrum discussion will focus on representations of beauty and the erotic in war paintings. As well, it will consider implications of such representations given the time periods and historical settings they depicted.

Jenny Phelan

This chapter explores a selection of programmes in museums for people with dementia, as well as how these types of sessions can trigger a nostalgic response from participants. In recent years programming for this group has become increasingly frequent worldwide, with museums hoping to demonstrate that they are socially inclusive, accessible for all and meeting the needs of their communities. A qualitative research approach allows for a holistic view of both successful and newly established museum programmes. The exploration of their context, programme structure and audience highlights larger issues involved such as social inclusion, arts and health, and the level of provision for disabled people in museums. Although these programmes depend solely on the present, without any requirement for knowledge of art history or even the use of memory, they inevitably trigger reminiscence and evoke a sense of nostalgia amongst participants. While it is clear that museums share a number of common challenges in the development and sustainability of programmes for dementia sufferers, the benefits outlined in this chapter, both for the participants and museums, should be used to encourage and motivate more institutions to cater for this group.

John W. Fisher

At our very core, human beings are spirit; we have a soul, which comprises mind, will and emotions; and we live in a body. These aspects of humans interpenetrate each other. Neither spirit nor mind can be seen physically. However, various properties or behaviours can be attributed to these aspects of our beings. For example, spiritual well-being is reflected in the quality of relationships that people have in up to four areas of life. In a study in which 257 measures of spirituality, spiritual well-being (SWB) and related measures were evaluated by the author, 86% opted for items reflecting relationship with self, 53% for relationship with others, 18% for relationship with nature/environment, and 47% for relationships with God or the Transcendent Other. All spirituality/well-being measure studies except mine record only respondents’ lived experiences. The Spiritual Health and Life Orientation Measure that I propose differs since it elicits each person’s ideal regarding relationships in four areas of SWB, against which their actual relationships (lived experiences) are compared. Most people agree that relationships with the self, others and nature express aspects of SWB, but relationship with God/Transcendent is considered controversial. My research, however, has shown that relating with God provides greatest explanation for variance in SWB. As such, it is the most important one for SWB, which raises concerns about half of the existing spirituality measures. The research described in this chapter provided 18 alternative Transcendents from which respondents could choose ‘some-One or some-Thing that influences life beyond the human and natural worlds.’ A 19th alternative, ‘not an area in which I believe’ was also provided. A web survey sent to 600 people worldwide elicited 453 responses. The 19 alternatives for Transcendent were compressed into four categories – theistic, other religious, non-religious and not believe. Relating to God (theistic) was shown to significantly enhance people’s relationships with self and others, which was not so for other Transcendents, hence the title of this chapter.

John Dayton

Studies attempting to determine the elements of play in war have often been inconclusive, but have produced a general idea that certain genres or periods of warfare (e.g., primitive combat or 18th-century pitched battles) display more pronounced characteristics of game, sport, tournament or ritual than does modern war. This presentation will concentrate on one example, the ancient Greek hoplite battle and its interpretation as an agonistic undertaking, with rules and ethics similar to those of an athletic contest. Some traces of this interpretation appear in later Greek and Roman sources, and it comes to dominate European scholarship after WWI, where the hoplite battle is routinely described as a duel of honor producing limited casualties. This view remains prevalent among scholars of ancient warfare. But we notice that belief in an era of playful warfare is always retrospective and always serves as a foil to contemporary practice. In the case of hoplite battle, Archaic and Classical sources do not indicate much agonistic content; fatality rates were fairly severe and rules of war very rudimentary, limited mainly to the protection of religious sites. The agonistic model only appears in the fourth century BC, after the emergence of vast military leagues and alliances, which threatened the social structure of the polis world. The Greeks sought a more orderly and reassuring pattern in the past, which they could find only with the help of idealization. This tendency was renewed in the total-war environment after WWI and continued into the nuclear age, when the agonistic interpretation of hoplite warfare solidified, along with idealized views of primitive warfare and related phenomena. In an era of increasingly destructive technological potential we continue to search the past for more controlled and less ruthless conventions of warfare which has never existed.

Virgínia Laís Souza

This research aims to analyse how the stigmata of the body have been perpetuated since the freak shows of the nineteenth century. During this period, exhibits of monstrous bodies began to be used to entertain the audience, becoming particularly popular in Europe and the United States. The main hypothesis of this research is that the use of the image of a body that is viewed as marginal in society, further reinforces its stigmatization, and this trend becomes stronger when allied to a market logic of profits and to reach masses. Representations conveyed by different contexts are discussed in the present research (especially in show, film and art). In terms of methodology, two ways of constructing the monstrous body were highlighted: the first and most common understands the body as eccentric product with the ability to increase the popularity ratings of the media where they are presented; the second avoids stigmatizing the body as abnormal by highlighting their singularities and proposing a redefinition of stereotypes. The theoretical discussion is based on research that has discussed the relations of the body with different environments, understanding the image of the body as a construction and never as a presupposition. The expected result is to collaborate with debates that study the role of the body in the society, without, however, failing to recognize the body as bodymedia.

Virginia L. Vogel

For over one hundred years, the showgirl has provided a definition of glamour, the power of illusion, femininity and sensuality through design. As a figure of entertainment, the showgirl exemplifies the complexity and interplay of psychological, social, economic and visual elements., She exemplifies a shifting definition of beauty, and the value that popular culture has placed upon physical aesthetics through various eras. Global and historical recognition of the showgirl accepts her as a symbol of beauty and as such, the showgirl continues to represent a fusion of art, seduction, haute couture and theatrical design. Florenz Ziegfeld is often credited as the creator of the showgirl based upon his promotion, transformation and glorification of the ‘American Girl’. By 1919, the terms ’American Girl‘ and ’Ziegfeld Girl‘ had become part of American vocabulary and Ziegfeld and other American artists, such as F. Scott Fitzgerald, provided inspiration and empowerment for women. In the emergence of the showgirl, she attains prestige in becoming more spectacular while developing a new definition of femininity: a woman with new freedoms, new ideals and confidence in her sexuality. The American showgirl reached prominence between 1950 and the late 1980s prior to cultural shift in Las Vegas towards ’family entertainment’ This attempt to move away from the mystery and noted power of feminine seduction and to enforce the near death of the showgirl proved to be less than successful. The role of the designer, both haute couture and theatre, has largely been responsible for the re-emergence of the showgirl image via such entertainers as Madonna, Cher, J Lo and in particular, Kylie Minogue in her ’Showgirl: The Greatest Hits Tour‘ of 2005/2006. With contemporary attempts to recapture the glamour and elegance of the bygone era, the be-jewelled and feathered spectacle continues to meet the need for the slightly scandalous.

Gerben Bakker

The notion of terror intrigues. The term seems to have a substantial and diverse semantic history that may account for the ambiguous meaning in which it is used often today. With the help of several hermeneutical concepts of Paul Ricoeur, this chapter will examine the meaning of ‘terror,’ and what traces of past narratives have shaped its ambiguous face. We will contend that the semantic history of ‘terror’ shows two dominant traits of meaning that seem to constitute this ambiguity. The first is the trait of objectification, in which our interpretation is inclined to determine ‘terror’ as an object of fear or evil. The second is the trait of terror-as-affect, in which our interpretation takes terror to be a state-of-mind. Together, it seems, they have generated a two-faced shape that is capable of representing both an extensive psychological dimension and a dimension of materialised threats.