Civic Participation in Russia Today: Interaction of Social and Political Practices
Cand. Sci (Phil.), Head of the Center of the Comprehensive Social Studies, Institute of Sociology of FCTAS of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia email@example.com
The author argues that the rise of civic activism and formation of the public demand for social change convert the problem of the prospects of the Russia’s democracy into another context, than it had been a few years ago. The change of vector of public moods and expectations as it is stated in the article coincides with the emergence of multiple social groups and strata that do not need any goverment care and are interested to expand the borders of freedom and individual selfrealization. These both factors open a «window of opportunity» for the development of diverse forms and practices of «civic participation». The author interprets the above concept as a way that citizens and either formalized or not formalized social associations are expressing self-manifestation in different social spheres. The problem of interaction and co-influence between such two key components of civic participation as the «political» and «social» ones is the central problem of the article. The author argues that the convergence between the «political» and «social» components of civic participation should occur (and to some extent it is already going on) through both the «politicization» of socially oriented public associations and the «socialization» of political parties and movements. The author applies sociological data collected by Federal Center of Theoretical and Applied Sociology of Russian Academy of Sciences that demonstrate that the level of direct involvement of Russia’s citizens into various forms of political and social participation is low. Wherein there is a rather significant segment of the «activist periphery» that under certain circumstances is promising for more intense involvement. It is emphasized that the increased importance of civic participation in contemporary Russia is determined not so much by its «mass character» as by ability of the active part of society to form institutional matrix of new forms and practices for political representation and public participation. This process is intensifying under the influence of confidence crisis both to existing power and government system and to most institutions of representative democracy.
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