Moral and religious re-education of Russia
(Polish Academy of Sciences)
Paper short abstract:
This is a fieldwork-based study of practices related to religious instruction in post-Soviet Russia. The aim of the paper is to illustrate how the secular teachers deal with religion-oriented instruction in secular schools.
Paper long abstract:
The central role of education in the grand Soviet project of creating a new society and a new man has been described well in the field of history, especially for the Stalinist period. Equally known is the role of teachers and schools in the process of forming the so called Soviet morality, implemented partly through means of a special pedagogical approach - vospitanie ("moral education"). However, there is little ethnographic data on contemporary schooling, the professional practice and private life of the teachers, especially those whose professional biography is rooted in the Soviet context. The so-called post-Soviet period has been marked (among other things) by a great change in the field of religion, where there has been massive conversion of Russians into Orthodoxy. The change resulted in the actual introduction of religion-oriented subjects into some public schools (still, much debated in the society). My paper, based on 12-months of fieldwork, will offer an anthropological perspective on lives of contemporary active teachers, educated and having their professional experience in the Soviet system, currently engaged with instruction of religion. By investigating millenarian-like concepts I will analyse the ways that teachers engage in transforming themselves into "modern" Orthodox believers. I will also look at the transformation of the content of the new vospitanie, with the help of questions about continuity, change, replacement, resistance, and accommodation.