Serkova V.A. Matrix of “Cultural Disadvantage”

Vera A. Serkova
Doctor of Sciences (Philosophy), Professor, Department of Social Sciences, Peter the Great Saint Petersburg Polytechnic University
Polytekhnicheskaya St, 29, 195251 Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation
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Abstract. The article analyzes the matrix as a special form of understanding and describing the phenomena of a foreign culture. The principles of the formation of ideas about the "cultural disadvantage" of Russians are analyzed. Over time, the "Western" discourse about Russia becomes more sophisticated and harsher; it can take the form of economic sanctions, political pressure, recommendations, and clothe itself in the form of "soft" and "hard" power. But its structure remains unchanged, which allows us to see the matrix basis of this kind of representations. The matrix construction is used as a set of initial assessments in the attitude of "cultural disadvantage". To analyze the matrix construction as an organization of ideas about a different culture, the authors of the 19th century Germaine de Stael and Astolphe de Custine are involved, who, to varying degrees, expressed their ideas about the "cultural disadvantage" of Russians. In modern discourse, this practice has found expression in the Eurocentric theoretical constructions of S. Huntington and L. Harrison. The contradiction between the Eurocentric thesis about the uniqueness of Western culture and tactical, pragmatic, applied programs of reforming and reformatting non-European cultures according to the European model is shown. The article analyzes the main points of criticism of Eurocentrism by E. Said in his concept of "orientalism". The concept of the "east", in a broad sense, is formed in the European tradition not as an alternative to the West, but as its invention, its quasi-object. "East" is a special tactic of opposing the "center" and the periphery, of historical progress beyond historical immobility. The East does not correlate with the usual scale of periodization of European culture. It always remains backward by definition, due to the absence of Western stages of development (the Enlightenment, as an option – the Renaissance, modernity, imperialism and similar historical periods).
Key words: civilizational matrix, Russian culture, Eurocentrism, cultural disadvantage, Astolphe de Custine, Germaine de Stael, Samuel Huntington.

Matrix of “Cultural Disadvantage” by Serkova V.A. is licensed under Attribution 4.0 International

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