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"Человек Советский" 1989-2003 гг. Размышления о "большинстве" и "меньшинстве"

русская версия

Опубликовано на портале: 09-11-2006
Тематический раздел:
"Homo Sovieticus" 1989-2003. Reflections on "the majority" and "the minority" (by Yury Levada). In interpreting the data of public opinion polls comparing the attitudes of "the majority" and "the minority" seems most simple and commonplace: the majority supports, disagrees, trusts, disapprove, etc.; the minority is naturally of the opposite opinion. Meanwhile the experience proves these constructions to be artificial and even dangerous, able to mislead both the researchers and practical data users.
In socio-practical aspect the notions "the majority" and "the minority" rarely acquire actual meaning for the society on the whole, only in general elections or referendum with dichotomy choice. In any case the acting force is not "the majority" or "the minority" but a structure, organization, institution, united group. Mass functions in any societal structures and processes are support, approval, agreement with the given pattern or direction. Only the structures and groups comprising quantitative "minority" may be diverse, heterogeneous, inwardly organized. During "perestroika" (transition) period "the Soviet" pattern of interaction between social structure components was still working: quasi-united political elite and obedient, sometimes ecstatically obedient "majority". In the following period of disappointments and confrontations (1993—1999) in the absence of socio-political field the state power remained the main "player".
The side-effect of the series of bargains and confrontations .was keeping up the atmosphere of social rights and freedoms during the 90s. But that was also the source of weakness and unreliability of such rights. That was proved not once by the following events. By 1999 social preferences looked like expectations of "strong power" which would rely on the army and security service. However lack of conspicuous outward competitor to non-alternative power structures doesn't lead to "unanimous approval". But this may be considered a significant difference between the present imitation pattern of mass support of the leader and the totalitarian one.
Where there is no significant minority in social life, where the voice of an individual is not heard, there is no "majority" either. All types of tyrannies and dictatorships in the remote and recent past could get the support of the crowd (though they relied not upon the crowd but on the organized layer of praetorians, opritchniks, etc.). There can be neither minority, nor majority in a crowd, enraged, exalted or scared. One may either behave like "all the others" or be crushed by them.
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