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Research Group ‘Cognitive capitalism through the prism of cultural practices and discourses (comparative approach)’

Context

The current trend of civilizational development is often characterized as post-industrial. In recent years, a well-known school of French and Italian economists and sociologists (Paolo Virno, André Gorz, Maurizio Lazzarato, etc.) have proposed the concept of ‘cognitive capitalism’, which is designed to give an adequate account of the cumulative changes in production, labour, capital, law, education, leisure, etc.

However, Western European researchers of ‘cognitive capitalism’ tend to focus exclusively on economic and social relations and ignore sociocultural perspectives. In our research, the aim is to close this gap by firstly investigating the sociocultural aspects of capitalism today, and secondly by applying this perspective to Russia’s situation.

Our two main objectives are:

  1. To show the evolution of capitalist practices in Russia.
  2. To study culture by combining approaches to leisure studies with economic and sociological perspectives.

Upcoming events


An International Conference
Between Labour and Leisure: Towards a New Economy of Salvation?
26th and 27th November 2013


Moscow, Kitay-gorod metro station, Maly Trekhsvyatitelsky pereulok, 8/2, room 102 (ground floor)

If you are not an HSE employee, you will need to order a pass to get into the building by e-mailing or calling to Maria Mirskaya: +7 916 435 68 86.

The conference programme



Department of Cultural Studies, Faculty of Philosophy
National Research University Higher School of Economics
Moscow, Russian Federation
Research Group ‘Labour, Knowledge and Leisure in Postindustrial Society’

The conference aims to explore cultural practices in regard to labour and leisure in the context of contemporary capitalism revising radically boundaries between them.

Though the crisis of industrial capitalism and Fordism-Taylorism did not necessarily signify “the end of labour”, it still marked its profound transformation. Above all, it affected the space–time characteristics of production, i.e. the space of labour went beyond the walls of factories. The boundary between working time and leisure time became blurred. In modernity, labour was considered a guarantee of redemption. This raises the question of what scenario of the “Economy of Salvation” can society offer to the proletariat, now replaced by the precariat, in a context of fewer jobs or when the job itself has changed. The ambivalence of leisure time now means that it is beneficial both for the worker and for leisure industries. During leisure time, the worker not only rests and recuperates, but also perfects existing skills and gains new ones, develops his/her social networks, indulges in his/her hobbies and passions. In other words, one should be completely emancipated from work, yet while being emancipated the person can continue to form his/her own subjectivity, becoming potentially more valuable for the labour market. Thus we can see that leisure time itself can turn out to be productive. Global changes in the nature of labour and leisure have caused deep social metamorphosis in Russia by way of political regime change. In this “new world”, former civil, economic and professional identities yield to stratification by habitus – everyday, consumer and cultural practices. However, will humanity be able to continue its development on the basis of leisure, not labour? Could network solidarity potentially be nourished by some kind of “livelihood allowance” or by alternative economic and ecological micro-projects, and thus be considered simply as a marginal pastime or the basis of tomorrow's polis and oikos? Western politicians regularly promise re-industrialization, while their Russian colleagues argue for the turn from raw-material to high-tech economics. What future does the barometer of cultural practices show?

Working languages: English, Russian, French (with translation to be provided by us).

Our partner: Centre franco-russe de recherche en sciences humaines et sociales de Moscou / French-Russian Center in Social Sciences and Humanities (Moscow)


Colloque international
Entre travail et loisir : vers une nouvelle « économie du salut » ?
Moscou, 26-27 novembre 2013

Moscou, le Kitay-gorod station du métro, Maly Trekhsvyatitelsky pereulok, 8/2, salle 102 (le rez-de-chaussée)

Merci d'ordonner l’entrée dans le bâtiment par e-mail ou par téléphone : +7 916 435 68 86 (Maria Mirskaya).

Le programme du colloque





Le département des études culturelles (Faculté de philosophie) de l’École des Hautes Études en Sciences Économiques (HSE), Russie, Moscou
Groupe de recherche « Travail, connaissance et loisirs dans la société postindustrielle »

Le colloque est consacré aux pratiques culturelles dans leurs rapports au travail et loisirs dans le contexte du capitalisme actuel qui vise à remanier et renégotier les frontières traditionnelles entre ceux-ci.

La crise du capitalisme industriel et du système tayloriste-fordiste ne préfigure pas « la fin du travail », mais sa mutation profonde. Celle-ci concerne avant tout les coordonnées spatio-temporelles de l’acte productif : les espaces de la production dépassent les murs des usines, la frontière entre temps du travail et temps libre devient floue et poreuse. Jusqu’ici la société judéo-chrétienne voyait dans le travail le gage de l’expiation et de la rédemption. Quel scénario de l’« économie du salut » la société du travail raréfié et profondément métamorphosé peut-elle proposer à un prolétariat muté en précariat ? Loin de servir exclusivement à la récréation, le temps libre pourrait permettre d’amplifier ses connaissances, de développer son réseau social, de s’adonner à une passion, bref, d’œuvrer pour son émancipation du travail, ou alors de construire sa subjectivité pour éventuellement mieux la « revendre » sur le marché du travail ! Par multiples biais, le temps libre devient un temps productif. Suite à la rupture politique radicale intervenue au seuil des années 1980-1990, ces changements sont accompagnés, en Russie, par des métamorphoses identitaires : en effet, de plus en plus, les identités civiques, économiques et professionnelles de jadis cèdent la place à une stratification selon les habitus : pratiques comportementales, consommatrices et culturelles. Cependant, une civilisation peut-elle reposer sur les loisirs ? sur la solidarité réticulaire et la connectivité permanente ? sur une coopération de micro-projets ? sur une auto-réalisation à partir du « revenu d’existence » ? Les pratiques culturelles et micro-politiques corroborent-elles les promesses politiciennes régulières de « reprise » et, en Russie, de retour à une économie basée sur la haute technologie ?

Notre partenaire : Centre franco-russe de recherche en sciences humaines et sociales de Moscou



Activity

We hold an open weekly seminar where participants review relevant literature and discuss their research projects. We invite fellow experts and researchers to share their expertise in this field. We are preparing an international conference entitled “Between Labour and Leisure: towards a New Economy of Salvation?” which will take place in Moscow in November 2013. More details on the conference will be posted here soon.