Article Information


Alexander Kondakov (

European University at St. Petersburg; Centre for Independent Social Research, St. Petersburg, Russia

Citation: Kondakov A.A. (2017) Konfiguratsii prava: kak deystvuyet zakon o “propagande” v shkolakh [Configurations of Law: How Does the Law on “Propaganda” Function in Schools]. Zhurnal sotsiologii i sotsialnoy antropologii [The Journal of Sociology and Social Anthropology], 20(5): 187–206 (in Russian).

Full Text (PDF)

Abstract. This research uses approaches of the new legal realism. I analyze relations of power that are subject to a dynamic reconfiguration in result of emergence of a new legal norm, which is designed to regulate the interaction between people about sexuality. Th e approach is built on the sociology of law and queer theory, which both are based on analytical concepts developed by Michel Foucault in his interpretation of power. Th e main goal of the study is to reveal the effects of the law of “propagation of non-traditional sexual relations” in the everyday interactions between people. The study is not concerned with the whole society, but it takes cases of discussion of this law by school teachers in St. Petersburg who shared their ideas within an empirical research interviews. The analysis considers a relatively small number of semi-structured biographical interviews with “everyday experts,” i.e. those people who learn from their own experience the effects of legislative initiatives. Eleven interviews were conducted with teachers of secondary schools, who expressed their friendly attitudes towards LGBT issues. This circumstances have methodological limitations, however, the research task does not seek for broad generalizations; rather, I am faced with the question of the applicability of the methods of the sociology of law to the analysis of the emerging legal relations as a result of the adoption of the law on “propaganda.” Discussion of homosexuality, which is censored by this law, is currently a taboo in schools, according to the study. The law is instrumentalized by various subjects of power relations in the school settings to exercise pressure on teachers. In this sense, it is not a unique instrument of control.

Keywords: LGBT, propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations, legislation, St. Petersburg, school


The author thanks the Russian LGBT Network for supporting the project, part of which was the basis of this study, as well as Eugene Storona and Polina Kislitsyn for their assistance in conducting this project. In addition, I would like to note valuable advice and detailed comments of the co-editor of this issue of Ekaterina Borozdina and an anonymous reviewer.


Butler J. (1997) Excitable Speech: A Politics of the Performative. London: Routledge.

Erlanger H., Garth B., Larson J., Mertz E., Nourse V., Wilkins D. (2005) Introduction: New Legal Realist Methods. Wisconsin Law Review, 2: 335–363.

Foucault M. (1990) The History of Sexuality. Volume I: An Introduction. NY.: Pantheon.

Foucault M. (1999) Nadzirat’ i nakazyvat’. Rozhdeniye tyur’my [Discipline and punish. Th e Birth of the Prison]. M.: Ad Marginem (in Russian).

Foucault M. (2010) Rozhdeniye kliniki [The birth of the clinic]. M.: Academic Project (in Russian).

Freeman M. (2005) Law and Sociology. Current Legal Issues, 8: 1–15.

Gorbachov N. (2014) Proizvodstvo normativnosti v diskurse zapreta “propagandy gomoseksualizma” [Normativity Production in the Discourse around the Ban on “Homosexual Propaganda”]. In: Kondakov A. (ed.) Na pereput’ye: metodologiya, teoriya i praktika LGBT i kvirissledovaniy [On the crossroads: methodology, theory and practice of LGBT and Queer studies]. St. Petersburg: Center for Independent Social Research: 86–100 (in Russian).

Healey D. (2014) Chto takoye “traditsionnyye seksual’nyye otnosheniya”? [What is “Traditional Sex”?]. In: Kondakov A. (ed.) Na pereput’ye: metodologiya, teoriya i praktika LGBT i kvir-issledovaniy [On the crossroads: methodology, theory and practice of LGBT and Queer studies]. St. Petersburg: Center for Independent Social Research: 55–67 (in Russian).

Hendley K. (2017) Everyday Law in Russia. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

Ivanova E. (2015) Gendernyy disbalans v rossiyskom sudeyskom korpuse: feminizatsiya professii [Gender imbalance in the Russian judiciary: feminization of the profession]. Zhurnal issledovaniy sotsialnoy politiki [Journal of Social Policy Studies], 13 (4): 579–594 (in Russian).

Johnson C. (2002) Heteronormative Citizenship and the Politics of Passing. Sexualities, 5(3): 317–336.

Kondakov A. (2012) Chelovek i grazhdanin: seksual’nost’ kak sposob konstruirovaniya grazhdanstvennosti v Rossii [Human and citizen: sexuality as a way of constructing citizenship in Russia]. Neprikosnovennyy zapas [NZ], 85 (5): 249–258 (in Russian).

Kondakov A. (2014) The Silenced Citizens of Russia: Exclusion of Non-heterosexual Subjects from Rights-Based Citizenship. Social& Legal Studies, 23(2): 151–174.

Kondakov A. (2015) Neyuridicheskiye podkhody k izucheniyu prava [Non-juridical approaches to the study of law] In: Kondakov A. (ed.) Obshchestvo i pravo: issledovatel’skiye perspektivy [Law and Society: Research Perspectives]. St. Petersburg: Center for Independent Social Research: 1–24 (in Russian).

Kondakov A. (2017) Prestupleniya na pochve nenavisti protiv LGBT v Rossii [Hate crimes against LGBT in Russia]. St. Petersburg: Center for Independent Social Research (in Russian).

Kovalev E., Steinberg I. (2009) Proyektirovaniye kachestvennogo issledovaniya [Designing qualitative research]. In: Steinberg I., Shanin T., Kovalev E., Levinson A. (eds.) Kachestvennyye metody. Polevyye sotsiologicheskiye issledovaniya [Qualitative methods. Field sociological research]. St. Petersburg: Aleteya: 67–79 (in Russian).

Meyer D. (2010) Evaluating the Severity of Hate-motivated Violence: Intersectional Differences among LGBT Hate Crime Victims. Sociology, 44(5): 980–995.

Muravyeva M.G. (2014) Traditsionnyye tsennosti i sovremennyye sem’i: pravovyye podkhody k traditsii i modernu v sovremennoy Rossii [Traditional values and modern families: legal approaches to tradition and modernity in modern Russia]. Zhurnal issledovaniy sotsialnoy politiki [Journal of Social Policy Studies], 12 (4): 625–638 (in Russian).

Nartova N. (2008) Drugoye (li) telo: proizvodstvo lesbiyskogo tela v lesbiyskom diskurse [Another body?: the production of a lesbian body in lesbian discourse]. In: Nartova N., Omelchenko E. (eds.) V teni tela [In the shadow of the body]. Ulyanovsk: Ulyanovsk State University: 93–110 (in Russian).

Parfenova O. (2010) “Taktik pod maskoy stratega”, ili vykhod iz “chulana” po-russki [“Tactician under the guise of a strategist,” or coming out of the “closet” in Russian]. Gendernyye issledovaniya [Gender Studies], 20–21: 127–133 (in Russian).

Pronkina E.S. (2016) Osobennosti LGBT-diskursa v rossiyskikh media, initsiirovannogo diskussiyami o regulirovanii seksual’nosti [Features of LGBT discourse in Russian media, initiated by discussions on regulating sexuality]. Zhurnal issledovaniy sotsialnoy politiki [Journal of Social Policy Studies], 14 (1): 71–86 (in Russian).

Rozhdestvenskaya E.Yu. (2012) Biograficheskiy metod v sotsiologii [Biographical method in sociology]. M.: NIU HSE Publishing House (in Russian).

Sarat A., Simon J. (2001) Beyond Legal Realism: Cultural Analysis, Cultural Studies, and the Situation of Legal Scholarship. Yale Journal of Law& Humanities, 13(4): 3–32.

Seidman S. (1999) Beyond the Closet? The Changing Social Meaning of Homosexuality in the United States. Sexualities, 2: 9–34.

Sheffield С. (1995) Hate Violence. In: Rothenberg P. (ed.) Race, Class and Gender in the United States. 3d ed. NY.: St. Martin’s Press.

Steinberg I. (2009) Teoreticheskiye osnovy kachestvennykh metodov v sotsial’nykh naukakh [Theoretical foundations of qualitative methods in social sciences]. In: Steinberg I., Shanin T., Kovalev E., Levinson A. (eds.) Kachestvennyye metody. Polevyye sotsiologicheskiye issledovaniya [Qualitative methods. Field sociological research]. St. Petersburg: Aleteya: 47–66 (in Russian).

Teubner G. (1997) Global Law without a State. Aldershot: Dartmouth.

Titaev K., Shklyaruk M. (2016) Rossiyskiy sledovatel’: prizvaniye, professiya, povsednevnost’ [Russian Investigator: vocation, profession, everyday life]. M.: Norma (in Russian).

Valverde M. (2012) Everyday Law on the Street: City Governance in an Age of Diversity. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Volkov V.V. (2011) Vvedeniye [Introduction]. In: Volkov V.V. (ed.) Pravo i pravoprimeneniye v Rossii: mezhdistsiplinarnyye issledovaniya [Law and Enforcement in Russia: Interdisciplinary Studies]. M.: Statute: 3–14 (in Russian).

Warner M. (1993) Fear of a Queer Planet: Queer Politics and Social Theory. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Wittig M. (2002) Pryamoye myshleniye [Straight mind]. M.: Idea-press (in Russian).

Zdravomyslova E., Temkina A. (2014) Feministskiye refleksii o polevom issledovanii, [Feminist reflections on the fi eld study]. Laboratorium: zhurnal sotsialnykh issledovaniy [Laboratorium: Journal of Social Studies], 1: 84–112 (in Russian).