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Student
Title
Supervisor
Faculty
Educational Programme
Final Grade
Year of Graduation
Alena Kolesnikova
Unofficial practices of communal space: resistance to and transformation of norms
School of Cultural Studies
Bachelor’s programme
2014
Official norms do not function in the reality as they are believed to be in operation while they are on a paper. Although an individual is supposed to follow a certain rule, generally there is an opportunity for reinterpretation and transformation of a prescribed order. Undoubtedly that certain forms of knowledge and control require a narrowing of vision -- the procedure of simplification and abstraction. Map is not the territory as the philosopher Alfred Korzybski once said. However, the simplified way of seeing an individual connected with the strong belief in progress and the immense of a human mind leads to the social engineer point of view. According to it, society is a pliable material and the ability of the individuals to cause changes is not taken into consideration. For this reason, the paper aims to demonstrate the significance of the «weak» actor due to his subversive practice that might cause a failure of an official project and stimulate the arise of an alternative one.Subject matter of the study is unofficial practices of MSU dormitory space.Scope of the study is the transformation of formal norms by unofficial actors.Objective of the study is to reveal the cause of the conflicts between «weak» and «strong» parties; to analyse strategies and tactics of «weak» and «strong» parties by examining the interaction between the officials and a subject; propose optimal conditions for shaping norms.The structure of this work is the following. In the first part I analyse the problem of correlation between reality and it’s presentation. A practice theory paradigm is to be used for serving this purpose (Scott J.C., Certeau, M.). One have to distinguish between a rational, pragmatic, strategic practice and a practice understood as «obscure background of social activity» (Certeau, 1984, p. XI). The comprehension of the practice as pragmatic and rationally determined activity regards the economic dimension of the practice. Concerning the practice as a background, it is connected with the certain way of acting over a long period of time and formed through everyday experience. In the second part the process of formalization and codification of unofficial norms and practices is revealed on a number of historical examples. The third part of the paper is devoted to unofficial practice of MSU communal space (Local network, local forum, rooms for rent, Initiative Group and so on).The results of the research are the following. Strategies are used not only by the «strong» party but also the «weak» (and vise versa: tactics of the «strong»). The map should be replaced by the navigation rules in order to be adequate to reality. It demands Greek «metis». This ancient types of knowledge is based on creativity and «knowing how» knowledge. IG is forming the conditions for reproduction of this type of knowledge. The codification of the norms should be based on the daily practice.

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