Article Information

CONFIGURATIONS OF LAW: HOW DOES THE LAW ON «PROPAGANDA» FUNCTION IN SCHOOLS

Alexander Kondakov (akondakov@eu.spb.ru)

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). https://doi.org/10.31119/jssa.2017.20.5.11

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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

Acknowledgment

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.

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