In his regular Political Imaginary column, Alexander Kustarev provides a certain kind of key to the majority of pieces published in issue 86th of NZ. His article “Le style, c’est l’état” discusses two things, democratisation – not only in relation to state, but also to other institutions, including church – and “style of combining” that with some features of non-democracy as the most important constituent of the image – as well as the substance – of any state or institution.
It is no coincidence that the first part of this issue
focuses on a theme which, in a way, combines one of democratisation’s historical features (with regard to societal and
national processes) with stylisation,
particularly the style inherent in contemporary national and societal behaviour.
The section, titled “Dialectics of
includes four articles. Warren Goldstein,
Executive Director of
the Center for Critical Research on Religion (
The following section of this NZ also deals in some sense with the relation between democracy and style, introduced by Alexander Kustarev, but in the reverse order: “style” followed by “democracy”. Titled “Visual Trajectories of Experience”, it comprises four articles. The theme, as the title suggests, is the visual arts: photography (Alexander Pershay’s “Alongside the Sensation of Life: On Female Photography, Sexism and the Right for the Everyday Life”); graffiti, that most democratic of the visual arts (“Not Just Banksy: Street Art in the Context of Contemporary Urban Culture” by Natalya Samutina, Oksana Zaporozhets and Varvara Kobyshcha); and cinema (Andrey Gornykh on time in Tarkovsky’s films and Igor Smirnov with his “Ten Theses on the Problem of Kitsch and Cinematic Art in the 1920s–1940s”). Style as a powerful weapon with which to democratise (or, more precisely, liberate) conscience is the subject of Kirill Kobrin’s historical-culturological essay, written in a personal tone and concerned with “the Soviet 1980s” (Culture of Politics). Finally, to prevent the visual arts from dominating literature, we publish Irina Golovacheva’s article “Dangerous Liaisons: Man and Monster in Contemporary Mass-Market Literature” (Politics of Culture).
Among other pieces in NZ—
Our regular column is Alexey Levinson’s Sociological Lyrics. The issue ends with Russian Intellectual Journals’ Review and the New Books section.