Main Risks Of Civic Self-Identification Of The Subject In Modern Russian Society


The paper addresses the problem of civic identity of the subject in modern Russian culture. Based on comparative analysis of basic philosophical and scientific concepts of this phenomenon, the paper proposes the definition of civic identity of a communication subject as a process when the subject symbolizes the main elements of culture through his active attitude to the environment. The study assumes that the risks of civic self-identification are negative factors in the development of Russian culture. A universal methodology has been developed to systematize the identified risks in order to minimize their negative effects in society. It is shown that stabilization of the economic sphere is the priority strategy to overcome negative trends in society. In this context, the study attempted to determine the peculiarity of the space-time parameters of modern civic identity. The analysis of educational relations indicates the risk of breakage with cultural traditions, which significantly transforms civic identity of the subject. The importance of critical thinking in terms of civic identity formation is emphasized. The main trends in changes in the linguistic shell of culture are formulated to reveal the risk of losing meaning. This risk implies the possibility of subject manipulation. The study results can be used to perform a subsequent analysis of the dynamics of the civic identity state, and to analyze an economic, educational and cultural sphere in order to assess the effectiveness of the impact of consciousness of social movement.

Keywords: Identitysubjectculturerisksociety


Changes in the international political climate, the problems of global economy, contradictions of communication and information flows pose threat to the security of modern Russian society. The effectiveness of opposing the aggressive actions of the international environment directly depends on the state of internal social relations in Russia. The quality of social relations depends on the state of their members. In changed social conditions, a new social subject is being formed, who can be generally referred to as a communication member. Hence, one of the most relevant fields of social and philosophical research is the analysis of the current state of the subject in Russian society. A certain substantial basis of its essence is civic identity as a procedural characteristic of social activity and mobility. In conditions of increased globalization, the processes of civic identity today go beyond the traditional legal field and affect virtually all processes and cultural institutions. Civic identity of the subject is its essential characteristic that determines its existential concreteness. This essence is manifested in a variety of ethnic, legal, political and cultural properties. Therefore, civic identity is successive in the general field of cultural development. In terms of the relationship between being and existence of the subject, civic identity is a step in the development of civic position from mere acceptance of the cultural heritage to critical self-identification. Therefore, the actual problem of civic identity should be solved through the study of the specifics of modern mechanisms of subject self-identification. The main problem of this study is to determine the risks of civic self-identification of the subject in modern Russian society in order to minimize their negative effects both in the development of Russian society and in terms of increasing the effectiveness of international coexistence of countries.

Problem Statement

The problem of self-identification of the social subject in terms of his civic identity currently reveals itself in social practice and is actualized through the development of theoretical idea. Philosophical studies of the relationship between being and consciousness (Heidegger, 1993, Husserl, 2001) are peculiar boundaries of the interdisciplinary analysis of this phenomenon. The essence of civic identity is concretized in post-non-classical philosophy, where it is identified with the processes of individualization (V. Dilthey, M. Bakhtin), and identification itself is associated with nothingness (G. Frege). In postmodernism (J. Deleuze), identity is denied in the subject himself (M. Foucault), identification processes are positioned in communications, thereby a deterministic connection between the identity content and political and social conditions of the subject existence is established (J. Baudrillard). The boundaries of psychological understanding of identity are laid by psychoanalysis (Z. Freud). Another aspect of theoretical interpretation of identity is an anthropological approach (B. Malinovsky, K. Levi-Strauss), which gives rise to ethno-sociological research (L.N. Gumilev, N.Ya. Danilevsky). Separate aspects of the identity processes are considered in sociology (William Jamis, N. Lukman, T. Parsons, P. Bourdieu). The political aspect of cultural identity in modern science is often represented by studies of the nature of ethnic conflicts (Barkov, 2009).

Research Questions

The subject of civic identity under study is selected within the framework of the principle of historical and logical unity that suggests a comparative analysis of theoretical interpretations of the phenomenon of identity, which transform depending on changes in social environment of the subject (Sanina, 2014). The structural-functional approach and the system theory are used as a methodological tool for determining the subject of the study. The study applied the logic of sociological definition of the identity formation process (Parsons, 1998). In particular, identity is considered as negation of negation, when initial imitation (acquisition of knowledge and skills in culture) is denied by subject identification through internal assimilation of values during social adaptation and communication with another subject, which forms the content of civic identity in subsequent negation. Therefore, the phenomenon of civic identity of the subject can be defined as a process of his symbolization of the main elements of culture as the basis of his own active attitude to the environment. Hence, the solution of the problem of civic identity in this study implies consideration of the processes of identity and features of self-identification of the subject as a whole (Hoffman, 2000). The actual subject field of the research is the current cross-section of the culture in subjects of Russian society in the unity of dynamics (self-identification of the subject as a process of refraction of the cultural phenomenon) and statics (civic identity as a state of dynamic balance of culture).

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study is to reveal and systematize the risks of the current phenomenon of civic self-identification of the subject in modern Russian society in order to identify the current state of civic identity as a criterion for sustainability and competitiveness of Russian culture. The patterns and risks of the development of modern Russian society are caused by the features of digital economy. Widespread use of information and communication technologies poses threat not only in the sphere of economic stability and innovation security, but directly affects the state of civic identity of the communication member. This suggests that the study of civic identity should be based on the analysis of the specificity of the modern subject identity found in a constantly changing information environment. Therefore, to identify the emerging risks of civic identity, it is necessary to identify threats of communication technologies and their effects in the economic sphere. Hence, the study inevitably considers the features of the digital economy in order to determine the correlation of its advantages with negative effects in social sphere. Consideration of the shift in the social structure of modern Russian society is particularly important for adequate assessment of the state of the subject civic identity. At the same time, the goal of the analysis is to determine the state and possible negative trends in the development of the educational institution as the main mechanism for refraction of the cultural heritage in direct bearers. The correlation of the goal with research in the educational field inevitably affects practical effects of transformation of subject self-identification. The statistics of the profitability of the educational institution is assumed as an evidence base of practical significance of the state of civic identity. The interdisciplinarity of the problem identified determines the expansion of the goal of the proposed analysis towards the field of the general state of culture. The changed linguistic form of the existence of modern Russian culture requires the definition of the role and functions of the language in assimilation of cultural heritage by the subject. Therefore, the purpose of this theoretical work is to consider multilingualism and polyculture as environmental factors of the subject.

Research Methods

The identified problems are in the area of intersection of many fields of knowledge, hence, its solution can be obtained using universal methods and elements of techniques of specific sciences and general approaches of empirical and theoretical levels of knowledge. The subject of the study is treated using the philosophical method of from the abstract to the concrete. The initial definition of the civic identity phenomenon as a universal model of assimilation of the subject into a mobile culture field can be used to specify the nature of the risks of the selected process in specific areas of social relations. Perception of society as a complex self-organized system determines the need to use the elements of the synergistic approach. In particular, identification of bifurcation points is of particular importance in determining the specificity of the risks of subject self-identification, which makes it possible to conditionally delimit subsequent spread of the identified risk. A comparative analysis is used as one of the fundamental scientific methods. Its use in the framework of the structural-functional and systemic approaches allows compliance of this study with the requirements of the historical and logical unity. At the same time, a systematic approach is the basis for determining the most optimal solution to the problem among possible options. The convergence of these approaches and methods allows us to conclude that this theoretical study has developed a methodological approach to increase the efficiency of overcoming the risks of subject civic identity in modern Russian society.


In order to increase the effectiveness of the research conducted on the problems of civic self-identification of the subject in modern Russian society, a classification of possible risks identified in these processes is proposed. Specification of the risk type is directly determined by communication, the dominant manifestation of the properties of the subject. The classification is based on risks determined by the economic sphere. Vertical determination of classification criteria depends on the selected criterion of the essence of society development.

The risk of economic uncertainty determined by inclusion of the subject in the digital economy.

The qualitative essence of global and regional economy today is distinguished by mature nature of innovative properties, which is evidenced by the security issue formulation in the innovative development of regional economic processes (Golova & Sukhovey, 2018). In the comparative analysis of the levels of digital economic development and the efficiency of innovation activities, the digital technical and economic paradigm states increased risks of innovative development. The most active factors determining the emergence of the civic identity of the modern Russian subject include the conflict between the tendency to create new jobs related to new economic sectors and widespread adoption of ICT, and increased unemployment caused by disappearance of some traditional economic institutions; between the growth of labor productivity and spreading new online forms and methods of tax avoidance, illegal export of capital, laundering of criminally obtained income using cryptocurrency (Golova & Sukhovey, 2018) As a result, the social subject as a productive force of society is currently in conditions of “digital gap” associated with the emergence of a new elite stratum of highly educated intellectuals (Glazyev, 2017). A definite point of bifurcation that strengthens social inequality is uneven return of the subject’s intellectual potential to the economic development of Russia (Klyachko & Semionova, 2018), depending on the region and specialization. The process of subject self-identification directly depends on the quality of the economic stratum in which he is found. Economically comfortable strata focus on success in civic identity development. The existence in less stable strata is more difficult for stable self- identification, and the subject usually compensates for the lack of stability and focuses on fortune, thus indirectly falling under the dominance of social factors. In the aspect of the economic manifestation of the communication subject, the space-time parameters in culture are also different. The civic identity of the subject in a prosperous economic environment is based on the dominance of the present with a view to the future. Temporal incompleteness is accompanied by the absence of spatial constraints. The subject is focused on a pro-active attitude to life. In favorable economic environment, civic identity is mainly focused on the future and on expectation of good. A peculiar denial of the present is accompanied by spatial barriers, which are an obstacle to the continuity of self-identification. The subject acquires the features of passivity and can become a slave.

The risk of breakage with the tradition in educational technologies as a feature of the modern process of civic identification

A fundamental difference in the development of the educational sector in modern Russian society from the preceding stages is striving for information transparency (henceforth transparency), which is a response to the challenges of globalization. However, the complexity of the current development of this social institution is due not so much to a radical change in the form of its existence as to the fact that “the situation with transparency in Russian education can be described as an extensive development of information resources affected by the state's regulatory framework (Mertsalova, 2015). In addition, integration of Russian education into the global system is hindered due to objective factors, for example, due to the weakness in the global engagement of Russian science (Marginson, 2014). This leads to difficulties in the implementation of the competence-based approach in terms of the content of disciplines, the preparedness and skills of teachers to work in changed conditions, the ability of a learner to learn, the conflict between innovative ways of presenting information and preservation of academic knowledge. In this case, the process of civic identification is hampered by the contradiction between the main requirement imposed by the educational institution: the ability of critical thinking and the reduced value of the ability to critically analyze the situation in society. The conceptualization of self- identification in these educational processes convincingly shows a significant change in the existential characteristics of human existence. It should be borne in mind that education is a component of reflection over the ultimate bases of culture and, therefore, determines features of civic identity of the modern communication subject. In this regard, a traditional emphasis on a certain element of revolutionism in the processes of civic identity of the Russian subject in modern Western theoretical idea seems to be controversial (Bird, 2018). However, Russian researchers claim the tolerance dominant in civic identity of the modern Russian subject (Andreev, 2014). The risks of ratio serviens (Pruzhinin, 2004) and significant decrease in the level of critical reflection should be noted as a feature of self-identification.

The risk of blurring the meaning of information due to the linguistic diversity of the culture forms.

The dominant linguistic form of the culture existence is determined by many objective reasons: natural process of the Russian language development, the introduction of anglicisms, the increasing importance of certain ways of presenting information. In particular, a deliberately inconsistent way of presenting information in countless talk shows can suppress the significance of meaning and create the illusion that it can be replaced by simple perception of a continuous flow of information. An additional difficulty in self-identity of the subject is the innovative form of information content in the media (Kopytov, 2014). The factors contributing to this risk of civic identity are the fashion for foul language, the substitution of a segment of artificial languages by the language of marginal layers or subcultural vocabulary. Due to this, the imagined reality moves from meaning to denotation, that is, it claims to be observed by empirical reality that designates a word as a sign. At the same time, in political linguistics, the emphasis is still placed on the conjunctive "-newspeak-" (Vasiliev & Podsokhin, 2016). The subject of communication faces the breakage between verbal and emotional presentation of information (Golovashina, 2015). Associative experiments using visual intermediaries show a decreased number of associations related to traditional values of Russian history and culture, which indicates a certain loss of the ethnic component of modern civic identity (Golovashina, 2015). The consequence of this risk is not only the difficulty of self-identification of the subject but also the possibility of imposing sense-formation from the outside by introducing some social algorithm (Slobozhankina, Teplykh, Akhmetzyanova, Zhilina, & Nazaricheva, 2018).


The ongoing processes of globalization cause the transformation of all aspects of society. In particular, the factors directly affecting the processes of self-identification of the subject need to be improved. The most promising approach to eliminating negative effects in the culture development is to develop adequate measures to eliminate the risks of economic uncertainty, breakage with cultural traditions and blurring the meaning in the process of civic identity of the modern Russian subject. In the identified risks, the dominance of the economic uncertainty risk is found to be the part of a real basis of all social relations. Economic science in the digital technical-economic paradigm allows comparison of the digital economy advantages with its negative effects for the economy. The rating of these potential risks in modern economic relations in Russia enables revealing adverse factors that significantly affect self-identification of the subject. The leading ones are the transformation of the labor market in the field of employment, the uneven development of regions, and growing social inequality. The features of self- identification of the subject become vague, which leads to a radical shift in emphasis in civic identity. Existing in an economically comfortable stratum, the subject chooses a focus on success; in a less stable economic sector, the focus on success is replaced by the focus on fortune. In any case, this means a radical change in the cultural paradigm: traditionally, civic identity is associated with the integrity of society, but modern interpretation mainly implies individualization. Thus, the focus is primarily on a separate subject but not on society. Civic identity implies both equality and integrity. Changes in existentialism have ontological consequences. The analysis shows the transformation of the space-time parameters of the subject existence. At the same time, the analysis shows threats posed by the existing civic identity of the subject oriented towards the past or future to the detriment of the present, when false time barriers occur in the realization of his own self. The loss of existential uniqueness in the processes of self-identification can entail the destruction of civic identity in terms of the uniqueness of Russian society.

The risk of economic uncertainty determines the system of other risks of civic identity of the modern subject of Russian society. In particular, the process of self-identification reveals the problems of educational relations and an educational institution. The significance of the identified risk of breakage with traditions is determined by the informational and communicative form of society, when the impact of knowledge on knowledge itself becomes the main source of productivity. Accordingly, the main function of the educational institution has been fundamentally changed. Formation of the human capital of society as a real and potential productive force implies preparation of the subject for culture reproduction. This means that in the modern information space, the educational institution should be considered as the leading mechanism of self-identity of the subject and, hence, as a factor determining the sustainability of civic identity. The need of a competency-based approach in the modern educational process is analyzed, and the advantages of this system and its negative consequences are identified. The study of the process makes it possible to indicate the orientation towards the formation of critical thinking in the modern subject of social relations. However, the fundamental contradiction between the traditions of Russian culture and Western educational models makes it difficult to correlate the processes aimed at goal achievement and the results in the real competences formed. This contradiction defines the potential risks of civic identity, which are determined by the reflection violation. Meanwhile, reflection is not only the condition and mechanism of subject self-identification, but it also serves as a certain criterion for preservation of the uniqueness of the ethnic component of civic identity. This, in particular, explains the interest to religion in modern Russian society. The speculations around religion are caused not so much by the political situation as by the fact that the traditions of Russian culture directly link reflection with the possibility of communion with the Truth. The study shows that the threats posed by the transformation of civic identity in terms of breakage with cultural traditions can be reduced by correcting the desire of the educational institution to shift the emphasis on practical skills to the detriment of the development of creative abilities. The situation is urgent due to the fact that the modern labor market cannot be satisfied with a skilled artisan and, on the contrary, it requires a future specialist to be creative. The discrepancy between the expectations of society and the method of self-realization offered to the subject destroys the integrity of the internal perception of society and threatens the integrity of civic identity. The gravity of disbalance between subject self-identification and the state of civic identity is evidenced by the expansion of the field of pseudo-knowledge and pseudo-science.

These facts highlight the risks of civic identity associated with the strengthened role of language in communication as a new form of culture. The analysis indicates a special status of these risks, since they potentially contribute to the development of manipulative techniques relative to the subject. The findings are based on the analysis of the modern linguistic form of culture, which reveals strengthening of the suggestive role of language. It should be noted that the subject itself exhibits prerequisites for the occurrence of risks of blurring the meaning in the process of civic identity. In particular, the increasingly dense immersion into information and communication, the accelerated pace of social interactions and the mobility of the environment cause in the subject the fear of the possibility of being controlled in the subject. This expectation can become a reality under the changed way of presenting information and serve as a basis for risks of civic identity. The existence of the subject in multilingual field can disrupt the clarity of his orientation. So, advertising slogans are capable of crossing the information boundaries and impose the rules of behavior. Anglicisms become peculiar "idols" of the 21st century. The analysis shows that the so-called Runglish devastates the meanings of both English and Russian words. At the same time, these risks exhibit a close relationship with the previous ones. One of the most clear manifestations of blurring the meaning in the processes of civic identity is deliberate attempts to ascribe the scientific character to the information provided. The study reveals a class of words-transformers, the meaning of which is replaced by an indefinite meaning. For civic identity, the greatest risk is the possibility of constructing these words with their own autonomous reality which can be perceived by the subject as social reality. With regard to the real social practice of the subject's behavior, this symbolic state of language manifests itself as a potency of deviant, marginal behavior. The continuity of the cultural heritage perception is violated in the processes of civic identity.

Thus, the identified risks of civic identity pose threat to the integrity and sustainability of the culture. The urgency of risk minimization is caused by the need of society in the undisturbed processes of self-identification, when the level of simple perception of cultural traditions refracted by the critical perception of the subject implies the process of favorable reproduction of cultural heritage.


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29 March 2019

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Sociolinguistics, linguistics, semantics, discourse analysis, science, technology, society

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Zhilina, V. .., Kuznetsova, N., Akhmetzyanova, M., Teplykh, M., & Zhilina, E. (2019). Main Risks Of Civic Self-Identification Of The Subject In Modern Russian Society. In D. K. Bataev (Ed.), Social and Cultural Transformations in the Context of Modern Globalism, vol 58. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 1897-1905). Future Academy.