International Scientific and Practical Conference on Sociology “Variations of Modernity and Modernization: Ukrainian Society in the Context of Global Processes”
In order to clarify what is a modern society and what are the problems, directions and prospects of modernization of Ukrainian society, the Department of Sociology of the Faculty of Sociology and Law of the National Technical University of Ukraine “Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute” held an International Conference “Variations of Modernity and Modernization: Ukrainian society in the context of global processes” on November 28-29, 2013. The conference was attended by nearly 200 students, graduate students and scholars from around the world, including leading Ukrainian sociologists, as well as well-known scientists from Russia and the United Kingdom. Partners of the Department of Sociology in the organization of the conference were Tallinn University of Technology, Corvinus University (Budapest), Oxford Brooks University, Weston Consulting (Warsaw), Academy of Public Administration under the President of the Kyrgyz Republic, Journal “Expert – South Russia” (Russian Federation) (Moscow), Institute of Sociology of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Faculty of Sociology in T. Shevchenko Kyiv National University, Faculty of Sociology in V.N. Karazin Kharkiv National University, and the Representative Office of “Rossotrudnichestvo” in Ukraine.
Dean of the Faculty of Sociology and Law A.A. Melnychenko opened the conference. In his report he stressed the need in improvement of the management system as a necessary prerequisite for the holistic modernization of Ukraine. Thanks to the support of Russian Cooperation in Ukraine, the world-famous scientist Serhiy Nefedov was able to take part in the plenary session of the conference. He offered a new, unorthodox look at the origins of Peter I’s modernization. Leaders of Ukrainian sociology Yevhen Holovakha, Serhiy Makeyev, and Andriy Horbachyk focused on the problems of values and obstacles to modernization, on the prospects of sociological analysis of classes, and comparative studies of modernization. In particular, E. Golovakha put forward a fundamentally new concept of the values of mediators, which are designed to serve as a bridge between the traditional values of Ukrainian society and modern Western values. S. Makeyev convincingly argued in favor of the relevance of class analysis of society, an analysis designed to reduce the distortion of reality by scientific intelligence, while A. Gorbachev noted the practical and political significance of modernization studies. Volodymyr Ishchenko, a senior lecturer at the Department of Sociology at NaUKMA and project manager of the Ukrainian Protest and Coercion Data project in the Center for the Study of Society, criticized the practice of “real neoliberalism” in Ukraine. Pavlo Kutuyev considered the current state of the concepts of historical sociology of modernity and modernization, as well as the possibility of their application to the Ukrainian context, with an emphasis on the ideas and practices of the state that promotes development. Serhiy Tolstov, Head of the Department of Transatlantic Studies of the Institute of World Economy and International Relations of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine and a member of the Public Humanitarian Council under the President of Ukraine, highlighted the political, economic and socio-humanitarian aspects of Ukraine’s position between the West and the East.
Russian scientists Andrei Korotayev and Yulia Zinkina proposed a structural and demographic view of both global modernization and its local failures (Africa served as a paradigmatic example of “arrested development”). British researcher Chris Weston considered the interaction of domestic (nation-state) and global factors (the role of the United States) in the modernization of South Korea. Volodymyr Dubrovsky, a senior economist at CASE Ukraine, identified factors that contribute to the dominance of rental practices in economic behavior, practices that block the rise of rational capitalism, and thus the modern social order.
The result of the conference was the development of a more adequate understanding of the fundamental problems of the sociological study of modernization, such as the dichotomy of West-centric modernity and multiple modernities; clash of imperatives of national development and limitations of the world-system; and the issue of driving forces and obstacles to modernization.
Based on the conference developments, a collection of abstracts was published: