Anna G. Ganzha

National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia

Articles. Research

The world of animals in the late Soviet culture is considered as an example of an «imagined world», which is based on performative practices of demonstration and contemplation of things and their signs. The fact that in the period under review, in the field of cultural colonization of «wildlife», historicity is displaced by performativity, is determined by the tradition of Russian literary animalism. In this tradition the animal is not deprived of subjectivity/agency, but these qualities get their meaning only in the horizon of the Human: the animal as such is unhistorical and no story about the animal world without any connection with the human world is possible. We will use several cases to discuss, firstly, the role of performativity in the construction of the animal world and, secondly, the role of communicative practices in the process of establishing relationships between the animal and human worlds. Performativity and communicative efficiency, being transposed into the space of the Work, consistently opposed as visibility vs. reality, unproductivity vs. creativity, social atomization vs. experience of togetherness/belonging, disenchantment vs. reenchantment of the world. Our examples demonstrate different possibilities of overcoming the sentimental pathos in the treatment of relations between humans and non-humans, inevitable in cases where the animalistic narrative is limited to the theme of vain suffering of the animal in an alien world. The ethics of compassion evolves here into the ethics of collaboration and the practice of moral construction of particular communicative community.


Keywords: animal world, late Soviet culture, humanist animalism, environmental ethics, collective