¹ 5 - 2006
“Political Culture” in Russian Scientific and Public Discourse
It is peculiar features of Russian academic and public discourses about “political culture” that are analyzed in the article. While in Anglo-American political science discourse the concept – which was ambitiously introduced in the 1960s by G.Almond and S.Verba – now occupies a relatively modest place, in the Russian one it is regarded as one of the most plausible explanations of the post-Soviet transition. Though Russian and Western scholars face the same methodological problems, their experience with “political culture” is, besides, in a significant way determined by the different political context, as well as by specific intellectual traditions, standards of research practices and argumentation. In particular, the po-pularity of “political culture”, in the broad sense of the term, in Russia is partly due to its consonance with national intellectual traditions, to its apparently interdisciplinary character, to its ideological connotations. However, these same factors put obstacles in the development of the more advanced methodological approaches to the topic and impede accumulation of the results of various theoretical and empi-rical researches. The notion of “political culture” is actively used also in the public discourse of post-Soviet Russia. Being exploited by politicians and party ideologists, it implements two principal (and interrelated) functions: it works for construction of collective identities (of citizens, members of the nation, ‘majority’ etc.) and is used for justification of programs of political development. In both cases there is a competition of different interpretations. In conclusion the urgency of clarifying the boundaries of public and academic discourses, as well as of further developing empirical research of political culture is stressed.