Fundamentalism: Its Nature and Manifestation in Modern Society

Tyumen State University Herald. Social, Economic, and Law Research


2016, Vol. 2. №2

Fundamentalism: Its Nature and Manifestation in Modern Society

About the authors:

Galina M. Zabolotnaya, Dr. Sci. (Soc.), Professor, Department of State and Municipal Administration, University of Tyumen;

Vildan Sh. Yakupov, Master’s Degree Student of “State and Municipal Management”, Tyumen State University;


The spread of fundamentalism in the modern society and the risks that generate its extremist religious forms emphasize the problem of identifying the essence and the ways of its manifestation as a social phenomenon. The authors of this article concentrate on the main methodological approaches used for the research and reasoning of its worldwide spreading in the modern world as well as for the exploration of factors leading to religious extremism activating in Russia. The connection of fundamentalism with traditionalism and ideas of social justice are analyzed. On the basis of the opinion polls’ secondary analysis the role of traditions and social justice of the Russians value orientations is shown.

The starting concept used by the authors for the treatment of the fundamentalism’s essence is cultural approach. Within cultural perspective fundamentalism is explained as a reaction to the social changes of the industrial and post-industrial era, as well as the reaction to the processes of globalization that erode cultural identity. According to the anthropological approach, fundamentalism is explained by the essence of human nature and the need to preserve the usual forms of human life. The authors argue the critical role of explaining fundamentalism within constructivist and instrumentalist approaches. Respectively, the activation of radical religious forms of fundamentalism is considered as a product of “social engineering”: the spread of mythological symbols, innovations in disguise of traditions, the manipulation by religious feelings and contradictions arising in everyday life. The authors’ position is that the connection of fundamentalism with social and cultural traditions has dramatically changed and became unstable and contradictory.

Within the Russian perspective the authors argue that the costs of market and political modernization, generating new forms of social inequalities, stimulate fundamentalism. It is pointed out that sensitivity of some members of Russia’s society to the ideas of fundamentalism is a reaction to the lack of ideology and well-structured value orientations. The usage of new information technologies by radical fundamentalists with the view to influence their prospective members and to form extremist groups lead to the emergence of new risks for Russia. It is stressed that the doubt of some Russian citizens in the justice and efficiency of the current model of the Russia society development may lead to the demand for alternative public projects.

It is proposed that fundamentalism should be examined on the basis of different methodological approaches and with the view to social, economic, cultural, political, and psychological factors’ influence on both individual and mass consciousness.


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