Religion and Morality in European Russia

Tobias Koellner
Entrepreneurship, Morality and Religion in Contemporary Russia

Tünde Komáromi
Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin
Religious and Secular Concepts of Evil in Contemporary Russia

Agata Ładykowska
“Orthodox atheist”: Education, Religion and Morality in Contemporary Russia

Detelina Tocheva
Shifts in Economy and Ritual in a Village in the Rhodope Mountains, Bulgaria

Jarrett Zigon
Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter
The Morality of HIV/AIDS

Our group studies morality in contemporary Russia from the perspective of the relationship between the secular and the religious. Our starting point is that the secular and the religious are intimately intertwined and must be understood as constituting one another. Therefore, we believe that Orthodoxy needs to be studied as deeply rooted in the post-socialist context. For us, Orthodoxy is plural as an idea and as a practice. Therefore, we shall explore official statements of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) as well as individual behaviors and beliefs in different social contexts. We are interested in how people are influenced by different moral models including the one provided by Russian Orthodoxy, as well as how individuals’ behavior influences these models.
A guiding question for our research is: how are moral references and meanings being shaped in the context of Russian Orthodoxy in post-socialist Russian society? Our research will consider this question by looking at the categories of danger, sin, shame and generosity. We will study these categories by looking at the ways in which they are embedded in Russians’ practices related to the following: 1) illness and suffering; 2) conversion and atheism; 3) sexuality;4) business, money and material goods.
These common themes serve as a starting point on which we base the coherence of our group study of religion and morality in contemporary Russia. Our ambition is to study small places in order to open the debate on large issues. Therefore, our project is carried out in different local settings. The field sites are on different levels, Komáromi and Ładykowska work on both village and urban levels; Benovska, Tocheva and Köllner will work in provincial towns; Zigon will do his research in St. Petersburg. Bringing together our initial questions with the focus on different locations allows us to consider a wide range of changes within Russian Orthodoxy.
We hope that our future empirical data and our comparative general reflections will help produce a systematic anthropological study of Russian Orthodoxy, contemporary morality and the social world in Russia. At this stage, such a systematic work has yet to be done by anthropologists. It is this lacuna that our group research will fill.

Zur Redakteursansicht