The human history has evidenced various systems of hierarchy and power in different spheres of social life. The relations of hierarchy and power are relevant for every sphere as they penetrate the whole life of a society and represent a sort of framework for an individual's activity. The cultural sphere (in the wide sense of the word) is not an exception, although, of course, it has great peculiarities in the manifestation of power-hierarchical relations. The relations here are usually informal and more often connected with traditions than with norms, there are much less power structures that have the legal right for coercion. The book consists of two main parts. The papers included in the first section discuss the dynamics and potentials of newly emerging socio-cultural network structures and the ways in which they reconceptualize socio-cultural organization through innovative forms of spatial practice. The second section is dedicated to the study of new models of communication whose influence overcomes states' borders and which have a great potential and capabilities for destroying the basis and cultural values of the society.
The human history has evidenced various systems of hierarchy and
manifestations of power and hierarchy relations in different
spheres of social
life from politics to information networks, from culture to
A careful study of each particular case of such relations is
very important, especially
within the context of contemporary multipolar and multicultural
In the meantime it is very important to see both the general
features typical for
all or most of the hierarchy and power forms, and their
variation. This set of
issues has been treated by a series of international conferences
and Power in the History of Civilizations' held in 2000--2006.
Most articles of
this volume were originally presented at the 4th
conference of this series (Moscow,
2006). Needless to mention that all those presentations have
re-worked for the publication in this volume.
The relations of hierarchy and power are relevant for all the
spheres as they
penetrate the whole of social life, establishing a sort of
framework for the human
agency. Cultural sphere is not an exclusion, although reflection
relations in culture has its specific traits. First, within the
cultural sphere power
relations are usually informal, as they are more connected to
traditions than to
norms. Second, in cultural sphere there are less power
institutions which have
legal right to the coercion.
These informal aspects are explored in the first section -- `Networked Cultures:
Negotiating Cultural Differences in Contested Spaces'
Cordula Gdaniec presents one of the ethnographic case studies
within a research
project examining urban culture and ethnic representation in
Moscow, using the Peoples' Friendship University of Russia as an
She suggests that the campus of this university is emblematic
fragmentation of urban space in Moscow. This situation reflects
of Soviet-style policy of separating `other' cultures from the
public arena and
token celebrations of the `exotic'.
Peter Moertenboeck argues that recently EU policies led to the
when the human geography of the Mediterranean is increasingly
a logic of exclusion and separation. As a response, current waves
and disordering this space of layered ethnicities are
characterized by a struggle
between diasporic, self-organized digital networks counteracting
network of control.
Helge Mooshammer discusses emerging rhetorics of self-invention
cross-contamination as a future model of social organisation for
city of the 21st century, drawing upon a case study
of the city of Istanbul.
Andreas Kofler's paper is devoted to the so-called `Greenland
inability to properly compare size of geographic objects on
a Mercator projection.
He states that maps are never restricted to just (re)present
but further manipulate, crop, limit, state, define, distort and
insist, to validate
and create stashed hierarchies.
Marina Butovskaya and her colleagues discuss the problem of
transformations in sub-Saharan Africa, as concerning the choice
partners in urban communities.
During the 20th century the state became a serious
player on the public
sphere stage, being sometimes an authoritarian or totalitarian
control can serve as a part and parcel of nation-building. In
world the public sphere as a zone of modern discourse is
unequal access to information, power and prosperity. At the same
time the progress
of communications gives new opportunities for people to overcome
and deficiencies, even social norms and social control. Various
the role of modern mass media in the public sphere's formation
are discussed in
the second section -- `Changing in Modern Mass
Media and Public Sphere'.
Annekaryn Tiele and Helmut Scherer develop the concept of
or the models according to which countries and governments are
in the mass media. Their analysis indicates that the structure
news flow is influenced by the economic, linguistic, political
proximity between two countries.
Two following papers are devoted to the role of Internet in
Gabriella Szabу focuses her research on the formation of
European public sphere,
and explores the status of the Internet in the interactions
between the main actors
of European political communication. Anna Trakhtenberg explores
ideals of rationality in the `public sphere' are realized in
or Russian sector of the World Wide Web. It is shown that
Runet's discourse still
preserves traditional features of the Russian public discourse.
Johannes D.Froneman demonstrates how the change from an
system with a Christian ethos under a dominant white government,
to a secular
liberal-democratic system under a dominant black government with
Marxist component in Post-Apartheid South Africa was reflected
in the mass media.
South Africa has shifted from being a two-tier media system (for
print media, each with its own characteristics) to a more
Lucie Hribal investigates the differing impacts of mass media,
and kinship politics on the public sphere in post-Communist
that is characterized by such peculiarities as a low threshold
for unlawful public agitation, the resilience of parts of the
population to dissociate
themselves from habitual submission under dominant geopolitical
and the high status assigned to rumors when compared to the
in the mass media. She concludes that such interferences with
of an open public sphere, are, in the context of this Central
equally or more restrictive than the low freedom and
professionalism of postSoviet
Andrе Bourgeot shows how media use to build information, create
event in the goal of identifiable propaganda. His analysis is
displayed in three
aspects: semantical, political/institutional, and international.
Asimina Michailidou looks at the EU's public diplomacy strategy
three theoretical aspects: the Habermasian normative approach of
sphere, the theoretical discussion regarding the democratizing
potential of the
Internet and key definitions of public diplomacy.
Veronica Usacheva in the study of mass media and development of
sphere in modern Russia underlines the difference of situations
in the West and
Russia. In the West the questions about the public sphere have
turned to questions
about the ways in which hegemonic forces (state, corporations
what discourse is not allowable in the public sphere, and in
what can and cannot be formulated as a part of one's identity.
In Russia the
main question is how to limit the hegemony of the state in
public sphere and
support mass media to be an independent and socially responsible
Leonid Grinin analyses celebrities -- a new social group that
last decades. This is a noticeable and powerful stratum of
people having large
and even huge earnings, the major part of which results from the
high level and
wide range of their popularity. The common feature of this
is that they exploit their renown, converting it into
links and benefits and sometimes even handing it down.
It is rather clear that the theme of hierarchy and power in the
and informational aspects of contemporary societies is virtually
and, as we have already mentioned above, in this edited volume
can naturally present the analysis of just a few (though, we
hope, quite interesting
and relevant) cases. Unfortunately, in this book we can only
consider some manifestations of hierarchy and power in some
examples of the
modern lifestyle of some youth groups and mass media influence
sphere. On the other hand, we can refer those who are interested
in this set of
problems to the materials of the previous four `Hierarchy and
(see below Hierarchy and Power Conference
Proceedings), as well as in
the issues of the journal Social Evolution & History
2002--2008 (edited by
Dmitri M.Bondarenko, Leonid E.Grinin, and Andrey V.Korotayev).