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Author:Nikolai Ssorin-Chaikov (Higher School of Economics, St Petersburg)
Paper short abstract:
This paper is an ethnography of the definition of politics in contemporary Moscow. In doing so it revisits a classic political theory question if politics is confined to a political system or if everything is political including the domestic and the social.
Paper long abstract:
How are the limits of politics understood in complex and rapidly transforming Russian political landscape? Does its 'apolitical' majority constitute the political regime's power base and in doing so mirror the rising political mood of conservative and right-wing populist movements across Europe? Candea (2011) argues that the political and the non-political are performatives. They do not describe what politics is but do things with these definitions as in Austin's performativity theory — by making, as he puts this, the spaces of the political and non-political exist or inexist. I take this argument further by suggesting that the very distinction of the political and non-political is performative and, furthermore, foundational for the 'political' as originally Euroamerican but now global cultural category. I do so in a micro-ethnography of the definition of politics in Moscow's municipal elections of the summer of 2019.
Getting 'the Right' right: Comparative ethnographies of neo-nationalist movements in Europe