In: Contemporary Russian Conservatism
Author: Dmitry Uzlaner

Jacques Lacan’s theory of the subject is put forward in order to correct what the author calls “the naïve theory of the subject,” which sociologists of religion tend to utilize by default in numerous quantitative sociological studies based on mass surveys and oriented towards obtaining exact, scientific, positivistic knowledge. This article applies Lacan’s three registers—Imaginary, Symbolic, and Real—to the religious sphere and demonstrates their potential implications for the sociological analysis of religion. An analysis of the empirical research on Russia’s post-Soviet religious situation reinforces the author’s argument that an uncritical theory of the subject attends only to the superficial layers of the subject, which end up being devoid of actual subjectivity, according to Lacanian logic. The more fundamental layers of the subject, capable of making it “the subject” in the full sense of the word, seem to be completely outside of sociologists’ current field of vision. This critique directs the reader’s attention to the shortcomings of sociological surveys, and the author argues that a more robust understanding of the subject could enrich the sociology of religion, particularly by further developing certain conceptions, such as Grace Davie’s “vicarious religion.”

In: Method & Theory in the Study of Religion
In: Contemporary Russian Conservatism
Problems, Paradoxes, and Perspectives
This volume is the first comprehensive study of the “conservative turn” in Russia under Putin. Its fifteen chapters, written by renowned specialists in the field, provide a focused examination of what Russian conservatism is and how it works. The book features in-depth discussions of the historical dimensions of conservatism, the contemporary international context, the theoretical conceptualization of conservatism, and empirical case studies. Among various issues covered by the volume are the geopolitical and religious dimensions of conservatism and the conservative perspective on Russian history and the politics of memory. The authors show that conservative ideology condenses and reworks a number of discussions about Russia’s identity and its place in the world.

Contributors include: Katharina Bluhm, Per-Arne Bodin, Alicja Curanović, Ekaterina Grishaeva, Caroline Hill, Irina Karlsohn, Marlene Laruelle, Mikhail N. Lukianov, Kåre Johan Mjør, Alexander Pavlov, Susanna Rabow-Edling, Andrey Shishkov, Victor Shnirelman, Mikhail Suslov, and Dmitry Uzlaner