Working Paper 88

"You should reform yourself not other people": the ethics of hope in contemporary Moscow

Jarrett Zigon

Abteilung ‚Resilienz und Transformation in Eurasien’

Jahr der Veröffentlichung


Working Paper 88

Increasingly the anthropology of moralities is becoming an important topic of study. This article contributes to these studies by considering two ethical tactics used by some contemporary Muscovites for working on themselves. These two tactics are prayer/talking with oneself and suffering. Foucault’s two technologies of the self, melete and gymnasia, are utilized to analyze these two tactics. For based on fieldwork done in Moscow over the course of three years, it has become clear that the best way to understand one aspect of the moral conceptualizations of some contemporary Muscovites is to consider these ethical tactics as performances of moral self-analysis and improvement. As such, these ethical tactics constitute a primary component of what I call in this article an ethics of hope.

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