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“Homo universitatis”: dynamics of the corporate identity of Russian university lectures in the 1990-2000-ies

Name
Alexander
Surname
Sorokin
Scientific organization
Tomsk State University
Academic degree
Candidate of historacal sciences
Position
Senior Research Fellow
Scientific discipline
Humanities & Social sciences
Topic
“Homo universitatis”: dynamics of the corporate identity of Russian university lectures in the 1990-2000-ies
Abstract
Under circumstances of globalization and transformation of Russian society the identity crisis is taking its toll. In this respect, the research of university research and teaching community as a special category within Russian society becomes pertinent. On the basis of published sources our previous ethnographic research conducted in 2014-2015 among university lecturers of Tomsk universities factors that influenced the formation of corporate identity of Russian university lecturer’s community in 1990-2012 have been analyzed.
Keywords
“homo universitatis”, corporate identity, identity crisis, higher education, post-Soviet Russia
Summary

Introduction.

Under circumstances of globalization and transformation of Russian society the identity crisis is taking its toll. This crisis is caused by the collapse of foundations and values of Soviet period and the loss of historical ties with traditions of Russian nationhood. No less significant is the realization of importance of acquirement and maintaining of new identity in globalizing world. In this respect, the research of university research and teaching community as a special category within Russian society becomes pertinent. Despite its relative small number, by the beginning of the XIX century, this social group started to play a significant role in Russian public life and of served as a marker of political and social processes.

Historical reconstruction of evolution of academic teaching community and profession of university lecturer taking into account social transformations in the country, allows us to fully comprehend consistent patterns of these transformations, trace trends that influence current situation and forecast contours of the future changes in the profession.

Materials and Methods. The study of corporate identity of Russian university lecturers lies on the borders between history, anthropology, sociology, psychology and pedagogy. We will use the theory of social construction by P.Berger, T. Luckmann because it encompasses multidimensionality and dialectical character of the process of constructing identity where the subject of its construction is simultaneously the object.

The main sources that were used for this research are published (laws and normative-legal acts of the Ministry of science and education of RF) and unpublished material (archival documents, including documents of management and record keeping), periodicals, ego-documents (diaries, letters and memoirs). One of the key sources were the results of interviews with representatives of the academic community of Tomsk, conducted in 2014 and 2015.

Results. Global social and political transformations in 1990s have had a considerable impact on the Russian teaching community, that has undergone a new crisis of corporate identity. From the point of view of corporate identity of university teaching community, it seems important to put emphasis on the analysis of factors that influenced the formation of corporate identity of university lecturers in Russia in 1990-2010s.

As a result of this research we have discerned negative, positive and neutral (dual) factors.     

Negative factors (hampering the formation of corporation). It is important to mention circumstances that negatively influenced the formation of corporate identity of university lecturers. In our view, among those circumstances are the following:

  • demographic situation in the country;
  • holding of more than one office;
  • reduction of a repertoire of traditional corporate events

Neutral (dual) factors. Among these circumstances are the following:

  • the emergence of lecturers of a new kind
  • feminization of teaching staff
  • university autonomy

Among positive factors, that are beneficial for the formation and enhancing university corporate identity are:

  • the practice of formation of corporate culture of universities;
  • the rise of prestige of profession of university lecturer;
  • -self-recruiting

Conclusion. Nowadays the corporation of university lecturers faces new challenges that could possibly turn to both dangerous perils and new opportunities. Two scenarios seem are most likely. First assumes that differentiation of universities would lead to gap between lecturers working in leading universities (Leading research university (VIU), National research universities (NIU), federal universities) and outsiders. In case they can not manage to adapt to new reality, lecturers from second group universities will have to leave their jobs, which in turn will jeopardize the system of education. The second scenario considers that reforms will lead to qualitative renewal of corporation and rise of level of its identity, and lectures of universities of the first group will become locomotives of this process.