The Concept of ‘Archaic' in Interpreting Contemporary Community Life

Wednesday, 13 July 2016: 16:45
Location: Hörsaal 6D P (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Oral Presentation
Uliana NIKOLAEVA, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia
The concept of linear progress for a long time dominated in social sciences. The primitive irreversibly is replaced by more sophisticated, new and efficient. As it turns out, the past does not disappear without a trace. Most modern processes - for example, the process of globalization - generate two opposite effects: (1)        The worldwide distribution of the latest technical and economic progress; (2) Re-animation and spread throughout the world of the most archaic forms of social and economic interaction (criminal shadow economy, corruption, violence, and other). When we say ‘archaic’, we mean the following (see Malinowski, Mauss, Polanyi). Firstly, it is the earliest - primitive, primordial, pre-class. It is a relationship of mutual aid, reciprocity and exchange of gifts. Secondly, the period of transition from a primitive to a civilized society, or a period of "barbarism." It is a relationship of direct violence and physical pressure on the part of the militarized groups. Small, mobile, well-armed groups regularly rob neighbors, draped their tribute. Thirdly, the so-called "eastern", "redistributive" societies (Polani), or "Asiatic", "Asiatic mode of production" (Marx). One can see these societies, in retrospective, in Ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia and China. It was a relationship of complete domination of the state in the economy, politics and culture. It was at the same time a lack of autonomy of the individual and equally domination of the so-called ‘collectivistic ethics’. The flows of immigration—the outcome of globalization—brings into being a multicultural mosaic of cultures, including the archaic one with all its pre-historic and early historic facets. In this sense globalization seriously undermines the communal way of life in the countries of so called ‘peripheral capitalism’ and makes the archaism more aggressive.