Balakleets N.A. Heroic Dimension of Post-Heroic Society


Natalia A. Balakleets
Candidate of Sciences (Philosophy), Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy, Social Sciences and Humanities, Samara State Technical University
Molodogvardeyskaya St, 244, 443100 Samara, Russian Federation
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Abstract. The article studies the phenomenon of heroism in the context of socio-cultural transformations that modern society is experiencing. The ability of culture to produce heroic models and behavioral matrices, which is preserved in the post-heroic era, is substantiated. The author explicates the following characteristic features of heroism. Firstly, the need to include human being in the appropriate situation in which its heroic potential is revealed. The absence or lack of constitutive situations for the phenomenon of heroism leads to transformations of socially significant criteria of military and civil heroism. Secondly, heroism is interpreted as a gift that excludes the possibility of gifts in return. Heroic behavior does not fit into the exchange paradigm and constitutes the social and existential asymmetry that does not imply a symmetrical response. Thirdly, the mediation of the heroic event by the heroic narratives is substantiated. It is shown that the moral significance and world-historical meaning of heroism cannot be comprehended from the horizon of everyday life, which has lost access to the transcendent. The article substantiates that the heroic narratives can get the status of moral examples is their epistemological incompleteness, which contributes to the aestheticization and sacralization of the feat. Accordingly, the unknown soldier phenomenon serves as the apotheosis of the mystery of the feat. Fourthly, the heroism is conceptualized as as a way of establishing a new paradigm of activity and mastering of a new dimension of the world. By asserting a new mode of activity, heroism destroys the existing forms of social interaction. The problem of appearance of heroic figures in a post-heroic society is compensated by the large-scale production of media pop heroic images that serve as mimetic models. According to the author, the hallmark of true heroism, which makes it possible to distinguish it from pseudo-heroic counterparts, is the possibility of its desacralization and ethical travesty. The possibility of preserving the gift-bearing and world-affirming potential of heroism in the post-heroic society as the realization of individual life strategies is substantiated.
Key words: heroism, hero, post-heroic society, war, mimesis, gift, risk, narrative.

Citation. Balakleets N.A. Heroic Dimension of Post-Heroic Society. Logos et Praxis, 2023, vol. 22, no. 2, pp. 39-48. (in Russian). DOI:

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Heroic Dimension of Post-Heroic Society by Balakleets N.A. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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