The dead catching hold of the living is a sign of an accomplished revolution and solidified order. A contrary situation is characteristic of the revolution, or counter-revolution, which is still to be accomplished. It is preceded by specters which will inhabit the future: edited urban reality, differently camouflaged inequality tensions, a series of false recollections turning the present into a memory-producing factory. Here the collective imagination is only partly occupied by the past while its other part gets into the trap of imminent events. De-industrialization of cities, relocation of the poor from more habitable areas, struggle to remove inconveniences for the sake of a safe decoration of urban spaces – these are characteristics typical of modern-day Moscow as well as many other world capitals. We observe a trend of displacing untamed reality. It is not obliterated and neither does it disappear completely – it returns as controlled inequality, ground-level racism, and class deregulation, in which you can no longer recognize the original source. In fact we are currently witnessing the first clear experiences of that historical shift but our regular language is not sufficient to describe them adequately when the abundance of bright expectations is so great. In his lecture the sociologist Alexander Bikbov proposes an analytical instrument to deal with this disappearing reality, a new specter at the moment of its birth.
ALEXANDER BIKBOV (RUSSIA) Sociologist, editor of the interdisciplinary journal Logos, associate fellow at the Maurice Halbwachs Center in Paris. He is involved in various research and general projects examining structural changes in Russian society, perception of social hierarchies and inequalities in today's world, neo-liberal reforms in education and culture, public and protest movements, social history of science, and the sociology of knowledge. Author of the book The Grammar of Order: Historical Sociology of the Concepts which Change our Reality (2014) as well as academic and educational essays explaining the changes occurring in contemporary Russia and the world.