The human history has evidenced a great number of systems of hierarchy and power, various manifestations of power and hierarchy relations in different spheres of social life from politics to information networks, from culture to sexual life. A careful study of each particular case of such relations is very important, especially within the context of contemporary multipolar and multicultural world. 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 titled 'Hierarchy 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 been substantially re-worked for the publication in this volume.
Notwithstanding the fact that 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, they are naturally most visible in the political sphere. They existed long before the formation of the earliest states -- ethologists maintain that complex systems of hierarchy and power can be found among many highly organized animals. Yet, this was with the formation of the state and civilization when the power and hierarchy relations acquired their mature forms.
Although ancient and medieval systems of government and domination always attract special attention, contemporary systems are much closer for every scholar. At the same time relations of power and hierarchy in the modern political world system demonstrate a great number of variants, levels and dimensions. In the present edited volume we only focus on three aspects of this important subject. These are revolutionary transformations (in the broad sense of this notion), violence, and globalization. Each volume section is devoted to one of those themes.
The first section -- 'Hierarchy and Power before and after the Revolutions' -- includes eight articles. They are united by the general idea that in various types of state systems the distribution of power has always been the main issue. In every type -- old or modern, theocratic or democratic, despotic or pluralistic -- different classes and strata played (and still may do so) different roles either in supporting or opposing the ruling power which in its turn may have some relation to a particular context of social and economic power. That is why opposed classes and groups tend to continue their opposition to a revolution which may lead to a collapse of the whole sociopolitical system. Two papers are devoted to the Islamic Revolution of 1979 in Iran. Majid Bozorgmehri in his paper insists that it should be viewed as a revolution in the classical sense, a mass movement with wide popular participation that resulted in a major shift in economic as well as political power, and that inaugurated, or, perhaps more accurately, continued, a process of vast social transformation. He concludes that the Irano-Islamic reflections on the power and sovereignty are a new combination of western and Islamic conceptions, which could be also considered as a new model. Mohsen Khalili reviews the political changes in the post-revolutionary Iran from the adoption of the new Iranian Constitution in 1979 to its reform in 1989, after the end of the Iran-Iraqi war.
Two papers focus on the Constitutional Revolution of 1906 in Iran. Seyed Javad Emamjomehzadeh and Houri Jahanshahrad elaborate the model of the development of the women's movement during the Iranian Constitutional Revolution describing women's conditions in Iran before the CR, their roles in the victory of the revolution, and the achievements of women movement. They conclude that revolution could not really meet different women's political, social and legal needs and to make their rights equal to the men's ones. Bahram Navazeni attempts a comparative study of the Iranian Constitutional Revolution and American Revolution of 1775. His main conclusion is that beside the internal causes, the role of foreign actors is very important for successful revolution. Thus, in two case studies presented the British government helped the Iranian bourgeoisie to draw Iran out of the Russian sphere of influence and the French government helped the American patriots to make the British colonies independent.
In a historical analysis of the revolutions in early modern Europe Julian Goodare defines revolution as a coercive seizure of political power in a state, accompanied by revolutionary ideology and popular mobilization. The paper emphasizes differences between early modern revolutions and later ones, using the example of the Scottish Revolution of 1638, that paralleled, complemented and sometimes preceded the English Revolution of 1640.
Konstantin Khroutski and Alan Kimball center their attention on the Russian experience of conceptualization of revolutions. Konstantin Khroutski applies principles of Russian cosmism to the analysis of revolutions. Alan Kimball explores pre-Soviet concepts of the civil society and their impact in the contemporary Russian political thought. These pre-Soviet figures defined political-economic continuities that link Imperial Russian, Soviet Russian and contemporary Federal Russian political and social life.
Pingchao Zhu's paper intends to show how a central government and regional powers interacted within and beyond the state power system in order to strengthen each other's power base. It is devoted to the transformation of wartime relations between the Chinese Nationalist government under Chiang Kaishek and the Guangxi warlord group between 1931 and 1945.
The second section 'Interpreting Violence' includes four articles dealing with the interpretation of violence at different national levels. Charles Rheaume reviews Canada's experience of constructing new self-image. After the Second World War it became a middle power that in the second half of the 20th century shaped its self-image as a non-violent nation. This self-image also influenced Canada's international policy, and led the country into taking part in hundreds of peace-keeping missions over the years.
Maria Yelenevskaya explores how Russian-language media in Israel form the conservative attitude to Intifada among the ex-Soviet immigrants. A specific feature of their strategy is the manipulation of collective memory. Allusions to the Russian and Soviet military past, in particular to World War II, put events in Israel in the context meaningful for ex-Soviets. Journalists use these parallels to objectify their interpretation of the situation in the Middle East, predict its development and legitimize extremist views.
Oxana Klimkova focuses on a particular manifestation of violence as a method of state governance in the context of Stalinist Russia. She analyzes the mechanisms, dynamics and the peculiarities of the so-called 'Great Terror' in the context of the GULAG (the system of the Forced Labour Camps). GULAG was not an ordinary penitentiary system, but an instrument of detention and exploitation of the real and imaginary opponents of the regime. The paper also discusses the influence of the policy of the 'Great Terror' on social life.
Yakov Rabkin shows how the Jewish pogroms of the late 19th century in the Russian Empire transformed the perception of the use of force in the Jewish communities through the strengthening of personal or collective pride. This transformation gave the extraordinary vigour to the Zionist movement.
The third section, 'Hierarchy and Power: Aspects of Globalization', includes four papers. Mohammad AH Basiri looks at international relations as a part of social and gender relations. He defines globalization as the world revolution in which women are one of the pressure groups. The paper by Dmitri Bondarenko is devoted to the problems of the interaction of the processes of globalization and the development of non-Western cultures which is strongly influenced by the dominating Western culture. In his paper Leonid Grinin explores one of the very important but insufficiently investigated aspects of the present -- the transformation of national sovereignty under the conditions of globalization. He shows that globalization on the whole contributes to the change and reduction of nomenclature and scope of state sovereign powers, and besides it is a bilateral process: on the one hand, the factors are strengthening that fairly undermine the countries' sovereignty, on the other -- most states choose a strategy of a voluntary reducing the scope of sovereignty due to different reasons.
Finally, Andrey Korotayev analyzes the relevance of the mathematical models of the World System development for the globalization studies. This analysis indicates that the start of the globalization processes can be dated to the 10th -- 8th millennia BCE and suggests viewing the long-term globalization processes in two major dimensions: 1) the spatial expansion of the World System (that in the 2nd millennium CE encompassed the whole of the Earth); 2) the growing integration of the World System (whereas the mathematical models of the World System development in conjunction with empirical data suggest that the degree of this integration has grown by orders of magnitude in the recent centuries).
It is rather clear that the theme of hierarchy and power in the contemporary societies is virtually unbounded, and, as we have already mentioned above, in this edited volume we can naturally present the analysis of just a few (though, we hope, quite relevant) cases of the pre-modern and modern social and state systems. Unfortunately, in this book we can only preliminarily consider the issues of correlation between revolution and changes of hierarchy and power in the societies; the significance of violence in the evolution of hierarchy and power in the political and social life; the transformations of the international order; hierarchy and power in the Age of Globalization etc. 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 Power' conferences (see below Hierarchy and Power Conference Proceedings), as well as the other edited volumes prepared by the editors and authors of this volume where those issues are analyzed in more detail: Grinin, de Munck, and Korotayev 2006; Turchin, Grinin, de Munck, and Korotayev 2006; Grinin and Korotayev 2006; Korotayev and Grinin 2006; Korotayev, Malkov, and Khalturina 2006; Nazaretyan 2006; Tausch 2006.