The Future Torn Apart:
Forecasts, Projects, Catastrophes, Utopias
XIX International Conference of Young Scholars
Development Vectors of Modern Russia
16-18 April 2021
application deadline: 31 March 2021
MSSES, Moscow,
Gazetnyy per., 3/5
Progress — that is, the notion that the history of humanity is essentially a movement towards some kind of common Good (happiness, liberty, unfolding human potential) — was undoubtedly the leading, albeit contested, ideology of the 19th and 20th centuries.

However, optimism, on which ideology of progress relies, exceeds that of a simple positive forecast wherein the future is never anything more than a better version of the present.

A view of the future that can guide human action, a project, always involves imagination, a degree of utopianism, it is always to some extent based on a rupture with experience grounded in the present.

The ideology of progress is impossible without a conviction that things will be better off tomorrow and we do not even know how.

But today it seems that the time of ideology of progress is over. The future — when and if it's even mentioned — invokes not optimism but anxiety or in the best case an ironic expectation of more of the same.

At the end of the last century «the end of history» was proclaimed (once again), the idea being that humanity has found the perfect and ultimate form of political constitution in liberal democracy. As a reaction to that a new peculiar kind of melancholy has emerged, the nostalgia for the lost future, for radical projects, for utopian thinking as such. On the other hand, our imagination is now full of various catastrophic scenarios ranging from an ecological crisis to a society of total technological control.

The future is no longer something offering opportunities for realisation of our freedom, but rather something posing all kinds of threats to it.

We invite researchers from diverse disciplines to the «Vectors 2021» conference to discuss the vast variety of problems related to the future:

  • Are there any projects of the future today?
  • Do we need them?
  • If the universalist ideology of progress is gone, what has replaced or can potentially replace it?
  • What is the future of the fundamental social institutions and forms of social life such as the state, the city, the people?
  • How do social sciences conceive of their own future?

Key dates

Young researchers and experts in the field of social sciences and humanities from Russia and other countries are invited to participate in the conference. We are glad to welcome undergraduate and graduate students as well as alumni and junior research assistants from research institutes.
until March 31
call for papers
(500-1000 words)
no later than April 4
results of the competitive selection of applications
April 16-18
(Moscow, Russia)
Political Philosophy
Can liberty exist without liberalism? Prospects for Republican Theory in the 21st Century
Dmitry Plotnikov, MSSES (dplot43[at],
Denis Vyaznikov, MSSES (flowerman59[at]

Nowadays the reason of the populist politics popularity is seen in liberal paradigm crisis. However, it doesn't mean that the era of democracy, which began in the middle of the 20th century, is ending, and the world is waiting for a setback to authoritarianism. Quentin Skinner, author of the book «Liberty before Liberalism», argues that thinking of liberty appeared long before liberal ideology, which means it can exist outside of it.

His works formed the basis of modern republican theory, which has already gone beyond university departments into the field of practice. One of the key Republican theorists of our time, Philip Pettit, advised the Spanish government of Jose Luis Zapatero; The team of the «Res Publica» research center of the European University in St. Petersburg took part in the development of Russian participatory budgeting projects.

Republican theory can help us answer questions about the future of politics in the 21st century.

We will discuss:
- What unites liberalism and republican theory?
- How do republicans see the world after the state?
- Where are republican practices used today?
- Can republican theory be associated with capitalism?
- What is the role of public spaces in the republican political system?
- Will republican practices, such as the lot, help to solve the crisis of representative democracy?
- What will be the fate of the «Populus» in the era of universal inclusion?
- How we can incorporate the concept of Human Rights into classical republican theory?

Key speaker: Julius von Freytag-Loringhoven, Head of the Moscow office of The Friedrich Naumann Foundation.
Global/local/glocal future: «transcultural universality» and «cultural diversity»
Nadezhda Kokoeva, MSSES,
Margarita Shaburova, MSSES,
Egor Khvostov, MSSES.

Due to globalization and the process of cosmopolitanization, the erosion of nation-states occurs, the permeability of physical and cultural borders increases, and former local and national communities are being transformed. At the same time, a new «nomadic» subject appears, who is characterized by the absence of a strong attachment to a place with a floating national and ethnic identity. However, this kind of partially progressive view of the development of society is increasingly criticized in connection with the recent processes of «returning the borders» — the growth of nationalism and the «right turn» in Europe and America, introducing travel bans for certain immigrant groups, and the disappointment over the multiculturalism policy — all this leads to criticism of the globalization process .

The future in such a situation is constantly moving and uncertain. The emergence of a «world risk society» (U. Beck), in which the future is the expectation of impending global catastrophes — becomes our reality. Questions about local/global, universal/individual, national/ethnic, etc. have to be asked again. Can we offer any alternatives to «identity politics»? What does the future hold for the post-national world? Can we talk about the categories of «nation», «race», «ethnicity» and «culture» in the future? what will happen to local cultures?

Engaging the «political imagination» in such situation becomes a possible way to overcome this uncertainty, for which the involvement of the modern philosophical and sociological understanding of the world's structure, as well as the involvement of theories of nationalism and ethnicity, multiculturalism, postcolonial theory, decolonial turn, etc. can play an important role.
Fundamental Sociology
Poststructuralism, postanarchism and contemporary social theory: conceptualizing ontological politics of the future
Organizer: Petr Torkanovskiy, MSSES (torpyotr[at]

The term «ontological politics» introduced into the field of social theory by the researchers associated (in Russian tradition) with the so-called Lancaster school (Vakhstain, 2005) of Science and Technology Studies – John Law and Annemarie Mol – in the 21st century regains its importance due to the ontological turn in anthropology and social sciences. Development of non-anthropocentric approaches to the description of social reality(ies?) appears to be inspired simultaneously on the political (as a result of integration of postcolonial pathos into scientific mainsteam), ontological (due to the development of speculative realism and object-oriented theories in philosophy) and epistemological (due to the recovering interest in poststructuralist philosophy) levels. Foucauldian understanding of power-knowledge relations invites researchers to look for new concepts describing social world(s). These worlds' ontology of becoming (Pickering, 2017) requires to be examined in a complex conjunction of ontological, political and epistemological trajectories. This section invites researchers to inspect the genealogy, the current state and the future of postanarchist theory in which epistemological insights of the poststructuralist philosophy combine with radical political thought.

Key speakers: Benjamin Franks (University of Glasgow), Maria Rakhmaninova (Saint-Petersburg Mining University), Evgeny Kuchinov (Minin University).
(Un)invented future: practices of thought after the human and capitalism
The section is organized jointly with the «Stasis» Center for Practical Philosophy of the European University at St. Petersburg

Mikhail Fedorchenko, PhD student, «Stasis» Center for Practical Philosophy, European University in Saint-Petersburg
Maksim Ukhin, Bachelor student, Department of Ontology and Theory of Knowledge, Faculty of Philosophy, Moscow State University

Left accelerationism and radical ecology frequently speaks of the possibility of going beyond neoliberal thinking and imagination. This "going beyond thinking" was conceptualized by post-capitalist theorists through the actualization of network and grassroots platforms of resistance to capitalist realism.

However, technologies with post-capitalist intentionality as well as the transformation of desire that goes beyond anthropocentrism are needed for the full-fledged implementation of alternative paradigms of thinking and designing the future. The relationship of dominance and hierarchy can be replaced by the actualized forms of inclusion and care. The change of technology patterns can be a condition for creating a qualitatively new methodology of technological acceleration and kinship with non-humans. The questions of which technologies to develop and in what direction, as well as how to manage relations between the technical and the biological, are not politically neutral and require the conceptualization of goals and values of political theory and practice.

The transformative nature of the disclosure of the mystery between the biological and the technical is important in the context of the fact that technology serves as universal means of mediation between the human and non-humans. Ways of reassembling and reinvesting the flows of desire can serve as the basis for overcoming capitalism and the human. The posthumanistic search for the non-capitalist and non-human allows to find vectors for going beyond the limits of the current ontological policy and open the way to become xenological. The practices of thought can be achieved through the experience of going beyond the existing paradigms, thereby shifting the ontological emphasis and intruding into the usual rhythm of capitalist realism.

The key question of this section is the question of the acceleration of capitalism - the acceleration of capitalism to the point of going beyond its limits. In our section, we propose to refer to actual projects regarding new ontologies, left accelerationism, radical ecology, cyberfeminism, care, post-luddism, as well as other projects that are aimed to reassemble current methods and paradigms of thinking.
practical psychology
Resilience: dynamically sustainable way towards the indeterminate future
Marina Varich, MSSES,
Shamil Akhlakov, MSSES.

Section website

Resilience in the broadest interpretation is understood as the ability of an individual or group to cope with unexpected life difficulties.

The theory of resilience in its core is based on the work of John Bowlby and the research of Norman Garmezy, who is considered to be the founder of the theory. Now this topic is widely spread in the world. So, in 2014, the center for psychological assistance of the American psychological Association released information materials about the factors of resistance and how to develop and maintain it.

After another psychologist, Ann Masten, popularized the concept, since the 2000s the scientific community has been actively engaged in the study of resistance in individuals, individual organizations/institutions, and society. A feature of the development of the last wave of the theory is a multi-level approach to its measurement, which takes into account not only personal characteristics, which is typical for modern neoliberal society, but also socio-cultural and socio-political contexts.

In our section, we would like to talk about resilience as an attribute of the readiness of society, its institutions, and the individual for the future.

Key speakers:
Igor Gurkov – HSE, PhD in economics, professor of General and Strategic Management Department. Zoom. «Two resilience models in organizations»

Marina Pinskaya – associate professor of the Department of Educational Systems and Pedagogical Technologies of the branch of the Federal State Autonomous Institution of Higher Education «Moscow State Institute of International Relations (University) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation» in the town of Odintsovo. Zoom. «Resilient students in resilient schools»

Anastasiya Kachina — MSU, senior researcher Laboratory of Psychology of Labor. Specialization in the field of hardiness and resilience of professionals in organization environment and stress-management technologies. Alla Kuznetsova — MSU, assosiate professor, Laboratory of Psychology of Labor. Live. «Effective selfregulation as a strengthening factor of hardiness resources in the stressful context of new forms and types of occupational activity».

Alexander Makhnach — Ph.D., Deputy Director for Science, Institute of Psychology of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Balakin Mikhail. Counsellor, business trainer, psychologist. Senior lecturer at RANEPA. Live master-class «Principles of longterm goal setting in the context of uncertainty».

Contacts of Mikhail Balakin: VK, fb,, 8(925)3165039.
Opening the veil of time: communication of the individual and society in the psychology of art
Alexandra Prudnikova, MSSES,
Svetlana Zaskoka, MSSES.

«The most absurd delusion is to regard art as a craft that is fully understood only by the artisan. Art is a manifestation of feelings, and feeling speaks a common language» — Somerset Maugham.

We are surrounded by art, but how much do we know about the psychology of art? Any creative work bears the imprint of the interaction between the individual and society. What and how does the author reflect in his work? In this section, we will track the relationship between intrapersonal and social processes in creativity!
Future of psychological counseling
Shamil Akhlakov, MSSES,
Ekaterina Kucheryavaya, MSSES.

Is psychology a science or an art? Even psychological science itself has no answer to this question. To the extent of its development, it repeatedly passed through the "crises of identity". Some paradigms were replaced by others. Some were eliminated before they existed for ten years, and some have been alive for more than a century. What is the future of psychological counseling? What best practices will we preserve for our clients and patients? And how do we know that they are really the best?

Key speakers:

Zara Arutyunyan — psychologist, sociologist, psychotherapist.

Terry Hanley — associate Director of Research (impact) for the School of Environment, Education and Development and a Reader in Counselling Psychology within the Manchester Institute of Education.

Alexandra Oleinick — clinical psychologist, project «They'll Believe You».
Potency of the soft nudge hand
Zeldin Misha, MSSES & IBS
Ivan Shavelzon, MSSES
Elena Andrich, MSSES
Viktoria Shkuratovskaya, MSSES
Karina Leyko, MSSES

In the course of the development of our society, we have come to the need to comply with legal and ethical norms when we use nudges. Knowledge of human behavior allows us to grow our influence toolkit. The era of extensive data reveals the structural horizons of society and human personality. It is predicted that the practice of nudging will become widespread as a paternalistic intervention in the architecture of choice conditions without violating the very right to choose. The concept, developed by behavioral economists, has received wide media support in the form of a popular idea close to noocracy. Specialists in Behavioral Insights teams are already influencing the policies of governments and private companies. However, the little-discussed limitations and risks have already shown themselves as being a widespread problem during the corona crisis. It is the responsibility of the interventionists to understand both the best model and the mechanisms for its implementation. The section is supposed to discuss the problems of substantiation and implementation of nudges.

More details:
The law of the future and the future of law
Organizer: Lia Barseghyan, MSSES.

Text now available only in Russian.

Право — архив решений прошлого, который определяет выбор в настоящем. Но право — это еще и попытка сделать мир лучше для будущих поколений. Вспомните историю возникновения преторской собственности и представьте, что вы наполовину претор, а наполовину гость из будущего или предсказатель. Ваша цель — указать на тенденции изменений, найти такие кусочки паззла и по возможности собрать его. Будущее сложится по-своему, но каждый отчасти окажется прав. Так какой вклад юристы могут сделать в разработку проекта будущего? Какое законодательство будет действовать в мире пост-труда, пост-гендера, тотальной цифровизации? Как именно право деформируется, и как будет соблюдаться баланс интересов завтра?

Key Speaker:
Alexander Latyev — Ph.D. in Law, Associate Professor of the Ural State Law University

Section guests:
Dmitry Dozhdev — Ph.D. in Law, Professor, Dean of the Faculty of Law MSSES

Maria Erokhina — Ph.D. in Law, Academic Director of the educational program "Jurisprudence: Private Law", National Research University Higher School of Economics
Images of the Future in the History of Russian Culture
Chair of the panel: Alexey Kotelvas, MSSES.

As the politics of historical memory becomes the leading tool of ideological construction, we are increasingly aware of the lack of an image of the future in public discourse. The future as a component of ideology, culture and the artistic picture of the world remains undervalued in the space of historical research.

Our panel is a kind of inventory tool for the concept of the future as manifested throughout the history of Russian culture. We will be glad to welcome speakers whose historical research focuses on projects of socio-cultural development, the aspirations of various social groups, the future in the aspect of ideological construction and the artistic picture of the world.

Young scholars-historians, as well as representatives of related socio-humanitarian
disciplines are invited to participate. We will be pleased to welcome senior colleagues
interested in the stated topic as invited speakers.

Topics of the panel:
  • The future as an element of political ideology
  • Projects and experiments in the field of urban planning policy, social relations and everyday life
  • Ideas about the future in different social groups
  • Images of the future in art and visual culture
  • Utopian worlds in literature and cinema
  • Religious and quasi-religious eschatology
More information:
Travel and accommodation expenses are covered by the conference participants. At the request of the participant, the conference organizing committee can assist in finding and booking a hotel in Moscow. At the request of the participant, the organizing committee may send an official invitation to the conference for presentation at the place of study or work.
Key speakers
political scientist, Goldsmiths University, England
Julius von Freytag-Loringhoven
Head of the Moscow office of The Friedrich Naumann Foundation
Evgeny Kuchinov
philosopher, Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University
Maria Rakhmaninova
philosopher, Saint-Petersburg University of the Humanities and Social Sciences
sociologist, Assistant Professor of HSE in St.Petersburg, Senior Researcher Laboratory for Comparative Social Research
co-founder of Fancy Interactive
gestalt therapist, supervisor, lecturer at MIGTiK
head of the Department of psychology and methodology of education, Russian State University for the Humanities
Dmitry Polyakov
Associate Professor of the Department of Humanities of the Trans-Baikal Institute of Railway Transport
Professor Lancaster University, Center for the Study of Rationality of Hebrew University
Head BELab HSE, Executive Director Society for the Advancement of Behavioral Economics (SABE)
Igor Gurkov
PhD in economics, professor of General and Strategic Management Department, HSE
Marina Pinskaya
associate professor of the Department of Educational Systems and Pedagogical Technologies, MGIMO
Anastasiya Kachina
senior researcher Laboratory of Psychology of Labor, MSU
Alla Kuznetsova
assosiate professor, Laboratory of Psychology of Labor, MSU
Mikhail Balakin
counsellor, business trainer, psychologist
philosopher, «Stasis» Center for Practical Philosophy at the European University at Saint-Petersburg
philosopher, European University at Saint-Petersburg
Mikhail Fedorchenko
Post-graduate student of the «Stasis» Center for Practical Philosophy of the European University of St. Petersburg, editor of the Libromarxism (Post/work)
Alla Mitrofanova
philosopher, participant of the Cyberfeminist International, curator of the «Philosophical Cafe» seminar
Alexander Makhnach
Ph.D., Deputy Director for Science, Institute of Psychology of the Russian Academy of Sciences
Zara Arutyunyan
psychologist, sociologist, psychotherapist
associate Director of Research (impact) for the School of Environment, Education and Development and a Reader in Counselling Psychology within the Manchester Institute of Education
Alexandra Oleinick
Clinical psychologist, project «They'll Believe You»
Alexander Latyev
Ph.D. in Law, Associate Professor of the Ural State Law University
The Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences
Russian-British postgraduate university providing variety of educational programs: Sociology, Psychology, History, Law, International Politics, Management of Socio-Cultural Projects, Urbanism, Media Management
The organizing committee
Shamil Akhlakov
Veronica Khomyakova
Ekaterina Novikova
Lenya Yuldashev
Mikhail Zeldin
Alexey Kotelvas
Alexandra Prudnikova
Ekaterina Kucheryavaya
Marina Varich
Ksenia Lavrenteva
Vlad Smirnov
Asya Aladzhalova
Nina Gondarenko
Elena Lipatova
E-mail: vectors[at]

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