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Sizemskaya, I. N. Modernization and Development of a Civil Society: Russia’s Historical Experience

Published in journal "Philosophy and Culture", 2014-8 in rubric "Social philosophy", pages 1121-1130.

Resume: The article is devoted to the issues of creation and development of a civil society under the conditions of fast modernization. The author pays attention to the relation between these two processes and believes culture to be the uniting element between them. When the civil society is missing this element, social tension occurs and modernization processes slow down. The author of the present article appeals to the historical experience of Russia of the second half of the 19th — beginning of the 20th century and shows that during that period modernization of the country’s life style involved economic, institutional and socio-cultural transformations. That provided for a balanced and efficient modernization on one hand and the development of a civil society according to the pattern that was different from the European modernization and involved social and cultural factors. Civil society demonstrated itself through the development of zemstvos (district councils) which realized the self-government principle and self-organization principle under the control of the government. In parallel the author appeals to the history of the development of social philosophy of that period and demonstrates how the concepts of the law-governed state that were formed in the sphere of the Russian liberal thought (philosophy of law) including the concept of the legal socialism introduced by Kistyakov and Gessen with their idea of extended human rights influenced the practical implementation of modernization models and the process of the development of the Russian civil society. The author of the article also provides a full description of the features that defined the nature and directions of interaction in the opposition and consent with the state authorities. The author also views today’s issues of the development of the civil society and outlines the ‘painful points’ of this process. The author proves that it is necessary to view the aforesaid problems from the point of view of social philosophy.

Keywords: modernization, state of law, power, civil society, self-government, culture, responsible freedom, commodity exchange, legal awareness, tolerance.

DOI: 10.7256/1999-2793.2014.8.12479

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