Drinova E.M., Morozov S.I. The Phenomenon of Gerontocracy in Public Administration: the Dichotomy of “Open” and “Closed” Social and Political Systems

DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/lp.jvolsu.2018.2.7

Elena M. Drinova
Candidate of Sciences (Philosophy), Associate Professor of Department of International Relations, Political Science and Regional Studies, Volgograd State University

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Prosp. Universitetsky, 100, 400062 Volgograd, Russian Federation

Sergey I. Morozov
Candidate of Sciences (Politics), Associate Professor of Department of International Relations, Political Science and Regional Studies, Volgograd State University

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Prosp. Universitetsky, 100, 400062 Volgograd, Russian Federation


Abstract. The archetype of a gerontocrat manifests itself in society regardless of the time, era, level of political and economic development of the state. In traditional societies, the archetype of the gerontocrat is stipulated by religious traditions, not significant development of the system of social and political communication and transfer of intergenerational experience; in modern societies, local manifestations and topoi of gerontocracy are generated by demographic and socio-political challenges facing national states, what generates numerous threats and risks to the development of the public-political sphere. This is correlated with the cultural and genetic code transmitted from generation to generation in the process of socialization of an individual. Among the representatives of post-traditional societies the manifestation of the archetype of the gerontocrat takes place at the level of the collective unconscious, but it can consciously explain their own "gerontocrat-oriented" models of political behavior. Gerontocrats have been in power for a long time, forming in society the idea of this activity as an exclusively "professional" related to the knowledge and experience accumulated by the advanced age. Within such a political "coordinate system" the risk of falling economic growth increases, the economic crisis, the devaluation of the national currency, high levels of corruption, hunger and poverty. The institutional characteristics of the topos of the gerontocracy are the following: the highest power authorities in the state are concentrated in the hands of a legally elected small group of the establishment individually determining the priorities of foreign and domestic policy. The long-term presence of such leaders in power forms the so-called political cohort of gerontocrats. In the twentieth century the topos of gerontocracy was characteristic of the state-political system of the USSR. At the beginning of the XXI century the topos of gerontocracy remains in the political process of a number of African countries. However, the phenomenon of the gerontocrat can manifest itself in modern Western countries. As a result, among the basic values of the ruling elites, conservatism, religiosity (desecularization), and etatism come to the fore.

Key words: gerontocracy, archetype, topos, public policy, political threats, demography, establishment.

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