Social Constructions of Nature: Soviet Geologists as Professional “Conquerors of Nature”

The research project dealt with analysis of historical and social constructions that underlay interaction with nature in Soviet society. How are models and schemas developed by the state realised and transformed in a society, in public discourse and in everyday life practices? The main methodological framework of this project was the methodology of discursive analysis. On micro and macro levels, different discourses on nature and on practices of interaction with nature were investigated. On the macro level, the hegemonic discourse of the Soviet state and its activities directed at the “conquest of nature” were analysed. The idea of the conquest of nature was an important ideology for the Soviet government. The struggle against the capitalistic world was realised together with the struggle against nature, nature was seen as an enemy. The analysis on the micro level was based on a case study of the professional community of geologists. Ways in which the environment is embodied, valued and experienced in an array of social practices in this particular social milieu were also analysed.

Supported by the Institute for Advanced Studies on Science, Technology and Society (Graz, Austria).