“Politicizing Magic” is a book that explores the relationship between magic and politics in contemporary Russian culture. The book is written by Marina Balina, Helena Goscilo, and Mark Lipovetsky and publish by Northwestern University Press in 2021. The authors analyze various cultural artifacts, including literature, film, and visual art, to show how magic is use as a means of political expression in post-Soviet Russia. In this review, I will discuss the key arguments and contributions of the book.
The Relationship between Magic and Politics
The authors argue that magic and politics are closely intertwine in contemporary Russian culture. They suggest that the use of magic as a political tool is a response to the post-Soviet political and economic instability in Russia. The authors show that magic is use as a means of both resistance and submission to political power. They illustrate how magic is use by marginalize groups to challenge dominant power structures and by the state to maintain control over its citizens.
The book provides several case studies to demonstrate the use of magic in contemporary Russian culture. These case studies include analysis of literary works such as Dmitry Glukhovsky’s “Metro 2033” and Sergei Lukyanenko’s “Night Watch” series, films like Timur Bekmambetov’s “Night Watch” and “Day Watch,” and visual art, including the work of collective AES+F. The authors analyze how magic is use in these works to express political commentary and critique.
The authors also discuss the use of magic in contemporary Russian politics. They provide examples of how politicians use magic to manipulate public opinion and to legitimize their authority. They suggest that magic is use to create a sense of mystique around political figures. It is for to create a sense of national identity.
The authors use a theoretical framework based on the work of Michel Foucault and Slavoj Žižek to analyze the relationship between magic and politics. They argue that magic is a means of creating power relations. And that the use of magic in contemporary Russian culture reflects the post-Soviet struggle for power and control.
The authors also draw on the concept of the “uncanny” to explain the use of magic in contemporary Russian culture. They argue that magic creates a sense of unease and disorientation that challenges dominant power structures. The authors suggest that the use of magic in contemporary Russian culture is a response to the post-Soviet sense of dislocation and uncertainty.
“Politicizing Magic” is a fascinating exploration of the relationship between magic and politics in contemporary Russian culture. The authors provide a compelling analysis of the use of magic as a means of political expression in post-Soviet Russia. They use a theoretical framework that draws on the work of Michel Foucault. And Slavoj Žižek to analyze the relationship between magic and power. The book is a valuable contribution to the study of contemporary Russian culture and politics. It will be of interest to scholars in a variety of fields, including cultural studies, political science, and literary studies.