Article Information


Vladimir Ilyin ( 

Saint Petersburg State University; the Sociological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences — Branch of the Federal Center of Theoretical and Applied Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, St. Petersburg, Russia

Citation: Ilyin V.I. (2018) Rossiyskoye obshchestvo zrelishch kak nadstroyka gosudarstvennogo kapitalizma [Russian society of the spectacle as a super-structure of the state capitalism]. Zhurnal sotsiologii i sotsialnoy antropologii [The Journal of Sociology and Social Anthropology], 21(5): 164–182 (in Russian).

Abstract. K. Marx captured the social essence of religion as the opium of the people. The state, meeting the demand, puts on the line of opium production for the people. It not only supports traditional denominations, but also forms a civil religion. Social shell of any religion are spectacular rituals, representing in the form of sight hidden from the power of the sacred. K. Marx developed two fundamentally different models of social development: the Asian (state) method of production and liberal capitalism. The basic law of the firstis the increase in the power of the state, the capitalism — a rise of profit. Since the end of the XIX century, these opposites, which at the time of Marx seemed irreconcilable, demonstrate a trend towards synthesis in the form of state capitalism. Purely market rationality competes with the rationality of the state mode of production, which seeks to assert the primacy of political principles over economic ones. Particular form of manifestation of the state capitalismlogic is the organization of mass show as institutions of civil religion based on the logic of capitalism: the creation of the market demand in the form of state order and the rationalization of purely political decisions in market terms. At the same time, the mass entertainment is a consumer product, often claiming primacy in relation to ‘bread’. The aim of this article is to conceptualize the category of spectacle society as a superstructure of state capitalism with a focus on the specifics of this universal phenomenon in modern Russia.

Keywords: visibility, civil religion, spectacle society, state capitalism, big sports, mega-events, parades, politics as a spectacle, consumption.


The article was prepared with the support of the RFBR grant No. 16-06-00572 «Models of crisis transformation of consumption practices and its optimization in modern Russia».


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