20(3)
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2020
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catalogue – 43669
ANTINOMIES
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Political science

THE IDEA OF A UNIVERSITY: BEYOND ÉTATISME, MANAGERIALISM, AND “IVORY TOWER” (ON INTERMEDIARY FUNCTIONS OF A UNIVERSITY)

Filimonov Kirill , Topychkanov Andrey

 Modern universities often become a subject of discussion in the public sphere, during which the relevance of university programs, the financing of science and higher education, and a number of other issues are discussed. These discussions again and again prompt political theorists to reflect on the “idea of a university”. These ideas are associated with values, expectations and beliefs, and are most often expressed in the form of normative representations based either on pragmatism that define the university as a functional element of the state system, or on utilitarianism that required from the university to satisfy the economic demands of society, or on idealism that forces position the university as an “ivory tower”. The presented positions somewhat exaggerate the value of some of the university’s abilities to the detriment of others and distort not only the optics of research, but also the social beliefs that influences the development of state systems and universities. Based on the institutional approach, the authors of this article propose a theoretical position that allows to grasp the current pragmatics of the university community, the market and the state regarding the development of universities and their contribution to the organization of the societal order. According to this position, the university should be considered as an intermediary institution that has public subjectivity; acts as an organizational form of the university community and agent of societal relations; carries out a communicative exchange with the external environment (represented by societies, states, markets); creates conditions for the interaction of various agents of societal relations, including on their own space via a formalized rational public discussion; finally, it produces knowledge that influences the organization of the societal order. All of this taken together allows us to consider the university a mediator. This position of the university allows it to successfully fulfill its mediating role, both within the university corporation and outside it, balance between different social expectations and remain in one of the most stable and adaptive organizational forms that constitute the societal order. 

Keywords: university; the idea of a university; étatisme; managerialism; mediation; intermediaryinstitution; societal order. 

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UNFINISHED DISCUSSION: AN ATTEMPT TO RECONSIDER PRINCIPLES OF ALLOCATING SOCIOECONOMIC FORMATIONS

Davydov, Dmitry

The article raises the question of the heuristic potential of the theory of socioeconomic formations. The author tries to challenge the opinion shared by many researchers that this theory was an exclusively ideological product aimed at justifying the political regime that prevailed in the USSR. Behind dogmatic template-like judgments the lively discussions aimed at elucidating the universal laws of social development were hidden. The results of these discussions do not lose their relevance today as many scientists are discussing again the prospects of a post-capitalist society. The theory of socioeconomic formations is aimed at finding relevant criteria for highlighting the historical stages of social development within the framework of a materialistic understanding of history. As such a criterion, the prevailing forms of ownership, historical types of technology, and the specifics of relations of production are proposed. At the same time, the article substantiates that each of these criteria had produced many problems. Thus, the traditional Eurocentric scheme for changing the prevailing forms of ownership was poorly coordinated with the social processes taking place in the East. The technical and technological criterion turned out to be extremely difficult in terms of identifying the qualitative stages of scientific and technological development. The emphasis on the specifics relations of production led to poorly consistent conclusions that there was a fundamental difference between Soviet socialism and Western industrial capitalism. The article attempts to discard obsolete dogmatic and ideological constructions from the theory of social formations. At the same time, it proposes using such a criterion for highlighting social formations as the prevailing sources of consumer values (natural processes, controlled natural processes, labor, and creativity). This criterion allows to connect qualitatively a quantitative technical and technological criterion with political and legal phenomena, such as prevailing forms of ownership, systems of relations of power, exploitation and exclusion, etc., into a single causal scheme. An attempt was made to redefine social formations (pre-class, class-class, class, personalist), based on the corresponding prevailing sources of consumer values. The conclusion is made that the historical forms of socialism and capitalism are different modifications of the class socioeconomic formation (based on labor as the predominant source of consumer values). The emergence of a personalistic socioeconomic formation based on creativity as the main source of consumer values is an extremely controversial process. This formation will have its internal logic and contradictions; therefore, the categories characterizing it should not be confused with the categories of a class socioeconomic formation that is gradually fading into the past.

Keywords: theory of socioeconomic formations; socioeconomic formations; capitalism; socialism; communism; Marxism; post-capitalism; mode of production.

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