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Until 01.01.2019 - Scientific Yearbook of the Institute of Philosophy and Law of the Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences

ISSN 2686-7206 (Print)

ISSN 2686-925X (Оnlinе)

April 17, 2024, a theoretical seminar "On the criteria of civilizational classification in the light of the concept of dialogue M.M. Bakhtin" was held at the Institute of Philosophy and Law of the Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences 

Speaker: Shemyakin Yakov Georgievich, Doctor of Historical Sciences, Chief Researcher Institute of Latin America RAS


The author proceeds from the idea that the main criterion for distinguishing civilizational types is the relationship between fundamental principles of unity and diversity. Civilizations are vast human worlds that consist of many diverse elements (ethnic, religious, national, etc.), but they are united at their core. However, the relationship between unity and diversity differs fundamentally between civilizations that are traditionally classified as "classical" and those that are considered "borderline." The former include the West, China, India, and the Islamic world, while the latter includes Hellenistic culture and Byzantium, which historically belonged to a "borderland" of world civilization. Currently, this category includes two planetary-scale civilizations: Russia-Eurasia and the cultural and historical community of Latin America and the Balkans.Iberian Europe also retains many of its "borderland" features. The defining structural characteristic of civilizations of the "classical" type is the dominant principle of unity. In these societies, there is a single spiritual and value core that permeates the vast diversity of human experience. In contrast, the key characteristic of the "borderlands" is the dominance of diversity, while paradoxically preserving a unique kind of unity, which creates a sociocultural system that differs qualitatively from that found in "classical" civilizations.Rethinking the creative legacy of M. M. Bakhtin in the context of recent civilizational studies has led us to conclude that the relationship between unity and diversity is determined by the approach taken to solving the "Other" problem, that is, the formation of a dialogical basis for coexistence. There are two approaches to this problem, which can be seen in two types of discourse: exclusive and inclusive.The predominance of "exclusive" discourse inevitably leads to a situation where the beginning of unity dominates over the beginning of diversity, suppressing it and forcing it into a rigid, institutional and value-based framework. This is why "exclusive" discourse occupied such an important place in the spiritual sphere of "classical" civilizations. "Inclusive" discourse, by its very nature (which is fully reflected in this term), presupposes the recognition of the "Other" as an integral part of the diverse spectrum that represents the existential space of a "borderline" civilization. Therefore, the dominance of diversity is inevitably conditioned by the inclusion of the "Other" in this space.