Head of the Project: Petar Bojanic (Director of the Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory of the University of Belgrade)
The project is motivated by the fact that modern culture has a contradictory, often paradoxical relation to war: the war as a social reality has greatly changed while reflection on the war among intellectuals remains rather similar to the previous centuries. Modern war and collective violence due to the mediatization of the public sphere have entered our everyday life, large scale wars have been substituted by local conflicts of a hybrid character (no clear adversaries of the bipolar world system). The discrepancy between realities of the modern conflicts and reactions of the intellectuals to the outbreaks of collective violence, to the fact of war in particular, should be addressed by social sciences and humanities.
We intend to study the post-imperial situation of the interwar period in Russia and Europe as a cultural topos, which entails an analysis from the perspective of intellectual history and philosophy of how the intellectuals perceived, made sense of and reacted to the Great War, an event that radically changed the personal and social histories of the world and shattered empires. The research group claims that cultural historical-situation of Europe and Russia between 1918 and 1939 (the interwar period) was unique and can be best described as a cultural topos. We selected the methodology of symptomal (deconstructivist) reading that allows us to uncover implicit meanings and structures of the texts and thereby to interpret overt and latent intentions of the authors with the view to bring to light the representations and reactions to the post-imperial situation of the interwar period.
Furthermore, our approach views intellectual reflection not as merely existing on the level of high theory, but rather as a contribution to and factor in institutionalization of certain social values, attitudes and roles. We suppose that intellectual reflection on war, responsibility, and identity shapes social institutions and sets the patterns of “acceptable/unacceptable” in thinking about collective violence and war.
In the course of our research we will analyse socio-cultural and philosophic-historical significance of the post-imperial situation of the interwar period as a cultural topos, by which notion we understand a mental construct or image that had been engendered by the historical traumatic event and that still continues to shape the production of meaning, social memory and symbolic space in subsequent epochs. We will identify the key concepts employed in the intellectual reflection in the regions we selected for our research (Russia, Austria-Hungary, Spain, France) and will try to retrieve the patterns of the intellectuals' reaction to the war. We will describe the institutionalization of the reaction the intellectuals had to the world war and analyse what new role and position for the intellectuals in the after-war social realities they imagined. We will assess by methods of content analysis of Russian public debates the “presence/absence” of this cultural topos in modern Russia. The described approaches and methods will contribute to advancing Russian humanities and will introduce valuable concepts to Russian philosophical discussion.
Created / Updated: 16 April 2019 / 7 June 2019