Igor Kon

Picture of Igor Kon

Date of Birth: 05/21/1928

Age: 82

Place of birth: Leningrad

Citizenship: Russia

Igor Kon. Tired ring the bells

In the late sixties his lectures at the Physics Department at the amphitheater at Leningrad University was going to all the intellectuals of the city. Instead of five hundred people jammed over a thousand. The commandant of the building official warned the Party Committee of the Leningrad State University, which is not responsible for the strength of the old amphitheater.

With the submission of the Doctor of Philosophy, professor, academician of the RAE, chief scientific officer of the Institute of Ethnology, Anthropology of the Russian Academy of Sciences Igor Semenovich Cohn we learned of the existence of the sociology of science, and that the person is more important than the state. This was the beginning of our intellectual grow more mature.

I`ll be the first student

- Igor Semenovich, imagine: you write a novel about his own life. The main invention of the novel - it describes the life of a private individual in history. What seems the story of your life in this way?

- I would divide the plot into stages. The pre-war childhood - quite carefree and happy. After the war, which has destroyed the life. War, evacuation. Besides, I`ll cut his childhood: passed the external examinations at school and went to college in 15 years. After that, everything went according to the beaten track: college, graduate school, teaching work.

- You are trying to present the plot is too ordinary, but it`s not quite true. Few people in 19 graduated, and at age 22 had two master`s degree. You were a child prodigy?

- I do not think. Rather, quite the contrary. By temperament and character education, I was a typical top student, who easily grasps the surface of things and quickly moving forward, not particularly looking around.

Be the first student is always bad - it increases the danger of conformity. Being an excellent student in school, poor (and Stalinist school of learning and life was in every way disgusting) - doubly dangerous: for capable and ambitious young man there is nothing worse diligent assimilation of false beliefs and respect for the poor teachers.

My Unlike other consisted Is that because of their interest and dramatic circumstances, I often changed his profession. Started as a historian, then he went into the philosophy. Then, together with his colleagues created a new discipline - sociology. In connection with the problems of personality developed an interest in psychology, and not just social. When sociological institutions became impossible to work, I went to the Institute of Ethnography and anthropology engaged. "Ethnography of childhood" - the combination appeared with my light hand.

And then began the restructuring, the destruction of the country, the creation of another society, discomfort. I will not say what used to be good but now bad. Now in another bad. And something has changed in me.

Introduction to sexology

- A lot of space in my work began to take questions related to the issue of sexuality. I was interested not so much sexy as new knowledge is born at the intersection of philosophy, methodology of social sciences and humanities, and biology. But because the subject was taboo, the reader saw above all the problem of sexuality. So I was a hostage to its own theme.

Then it became clear: what I am doing in theory, it is directly linked to the normal sexual education in p ane. His absence in the conditions of the spread of AIDS and other diseases, sexually transmitted infections - is a real genocide of the Russian youth.

In the West, people ask me: "What, your church, your government does not understand that, in addition to sex education, there is no escape from these troubles?"

- And what do you answer them?

- The answer is: "Probably not understand This is a very dense people They do not care about the people, to the young people, even to the statistics they are engaged in their political games from the fact that a certain number of people will die and others will be unhappy, they.... personally does not become worse. "

The US administration allocates huge funds for programs that motivate the teenager to complete sexual abstinence. By the statistics and in the United States to the person seriously. Ultimately, it is the care of the nation.

I would never have become engaged in this issue. In the end, this technological and social issues - how to protect themselves and others. I - theoretical scientist. I care about strategic issues. But when a 96-year crusade started on sexual education, I could not escape.

So in the post-perestroika period there was my book about the sexual culture in Russia - "Strawberries on birch." This is social history, and not sexology. Then he followed a series of tutorials. And finally, "Teenage Sexuality on the threshold of the twenty-first century", where the stats given life in Europe and Russia.

The problems are the same. Trends are different. Our teenager is making first experience, and then receives the information, how to cope with their troubles. In the West, on the contrary: first - the information, then - experience. We teach children simple procedures - in which hand to hold a spoon and fork, how to eat rationally, are necessary hygiene. Why in the sexual area, which can carry a mortal danger, it is not so?

I`ve been saying this all the time, but nothing changes. I`m tired of ringing bells. And the forecast for my hard, sad. The forecast for the extinction of the country.

Replica from the street

- Igor Semenovich, about sex education have a replica, so to speak, from the street: our ancestors knew nothing about sex education, yet somehow all of them it happened, and offspring continued, and children somehow brought ...

- ... The ancestors treated and no electricity, no gas, no air, and very well lived. But they did not move from one continent to another, did not have a computer ... What is the need of sex education, the need for it arose only in a complex urban culture. Village children watched the lives of animals, with life seen crowding the lives of parents, there was no ban on verbal expression.

The city was the separation of children and adult life. Lacking awareness, grown children can experience serious difficulties. Incidentally, in the admission of this area of ??life in many societies there were rites. These parents have never done, but the older members of the community, if there was the institution of marriage, a young man trained in what to do on their wedding night, the bride told how to behave.

Today, the requirements have increased. For example, the most common male problem is not an erection, but what scientists call "performing anxiety." Man does not know whether he`s good in the intimate life, cope or not with their responsibilities.

Previously, the problem was not so acute. Boys often began their experience in brothels. And then it was assumed that his wife - is innocent, and the more experienced man of her teaching, he - the only and incomparable. Today it is not so. A young man assumes that someone was up to him, or in parallel, and that competitiveness is very painful.

And then, the sexual revolution, which, as usual, came to us twenty years later - is primarily a women`s revolution. It`s not only in social equality, but also in sexual liberation. There are important biomedical discoveries that, in particular, consist in the appearance of effective contraception - it allows a woman to have fun without risking unwanted conception.

More freedom - it always additional costs, additional problems. Including on macro level - how to continue the race? Or at the individual - how to combine free choice and love to the stability of relations? Therefore, without knowledge we can not.

- You said that there are changes in the sexual behavior of teens. And what they actually are, except for earlier entry into a sexual relationship?

- This is a huge shift. First of all - an earlier sexual debut. This means that the relationship - certainly before marriage, before the onset of the social and psychological maturity. Hence, the "Duma" ideas to reduce the marriageable age of fourteen years and to raise the age of consent to sixteen years, it was possible to marry, and to experiment sexually - not. This is completely absurd, because it is clear: marriage requires much more maturity than to begin sexual life.

A man and a woman

- The last project that I have been called a "man in a changing world".

This is not only and not so much sexual problem. It is about equality of women. Women learn male profession, crumbling privileged male hegemony. This implies a lot of challenges. There is a new field of knowledge on gender social relations. Although the word "gender" is not precise enough - it says about sex differences. And what about the sex differences may be involved, if we know that in the Soviet Union, women with higher education were more than men. Or teachers and doctors - almost entirely female profession. This is - from biology, from sexual demorfizma? No, nothing like that. the US doctors are mostly men were until recently. This job is very well paid, and women were not allowed there. Now the situation has started to change.

There are many studies on this topic. To deal with them, mostly women. Of course, it is primarily a women`s issue: changing the position of the woman, her psychology.

I am also interested in what is happening in these conditions with men. Threaten them something, not threatened, they change?

- Threaten?

- No, but it is necessary to readjust. We need to build a relationship with a woman is not based on domination, and to negotiate and find compromises.

Now my brand new project called "Fundamentals of development and socialization of boys."

The boys and girls brought up about the same, though they differ greatly in terms of development and style of behavior. If you take a single boy and girl single, psychologically they are not very different from each other. But individual differences more than intersexual differences. In groups, they are quite different.

The latter finding is that there are two child culture. It starts at the age of three to four years and continues until adolescence. And even in a co-educational, boys and girls, there are for the most part separately: various spheres of communication, grouping values. In these groups, formed what would later be called the masculinity or demilinnostyu, male or female traits. A further problem is that they have to go, to find ways of co-existence, and the question is - how will this happen?

On the waves of time

- Igor Semenovich, you mentioned about the circumstances that force you to move from one discipline to another ...

- I just always did what I loved, and doing what he wanted. For the most part it turned out so, that I was engaged in the science than the others not involved, because it was impossible to do this. Although, of course, I could afford only later, starting from the articles in the "New World".

- That, I can attest, were in "Novomirsky" snapped readers.

- Writing in 1966 about the Jewish question, of course, did not have a career event. When I began to study the personality, it also was not fashionable and has entered into a scientific fashion then. All my themes are intrinsically motivated, despite the fact that remained taboo.

The most restricted, of course, was sexy. But here, for example, the psychology of youth, which I was engaged, was not restricted. On the other hand, with the 29-th and 79-th year, when I got my "Psychology of adolescence", books on the subject, we had not. Why not write - it is clear: there is a lot of delicate philosophical questions. We feel that it is dangerous.

- In this case, you were bound to be conflicts with the censors, with the government at all.

- Direct conflicts arose relatively rare. I had more problems and challenges with colleagues than with censorship. There is nothing anti-Soviet, I did not write much in the realities of that time simply did not understand. Shocked strangeness theme. Sometimes really sharp conflicts arose. For example, when in 1965, I said in a report that we have a problem of generations, the problem of fathers and children. Here I was unanimously denied.

Then there was an unwritten rule that if you want to say something new, you have to choose the most calm, the canonical form, encrypt, encode. But it`s all very carefully read. If people generally say, you can choose the form of shocking. Now it is not so: if the material feed is not of a controversial nature, it simply no one will notice.

But such feelings of lack of demand, as now, did not exist before. That does not go to the press, went into self-publishing. What it was mangled censorship-minded reader tuned to the same wave, understood.

Today, of course, I published. But who reads this, I do not know how to understand - is unknown. I`ve traveled to Chelyabinsk (I was asked to speak to the directors of children`s homes). On the one hand, I still know and read. The head of administration of the Chelyabinsk region, a doctor by training, quoted from memory my books, which read in his youth. Master brought me to sign "The psychology of adolescence" edition of the 79th year. A Doctor, which I did a cardiogram, told how she was lucky: she was a student, she was able to get the book "Introduction to sexology". But, on the other hand, anything that happened after the 89-year, there has not got. It`s as if, in the 89th, I died.

- At the beginning of the conversation You dropped this phrase: sociology became engaged impossible. What was the reason?

- While the Soviet press trumpeted that the foundation of all freedoms - the right to work, I have argued that the "logical and necessary prerequisite for the historical condition of all other freedoms" - freedom of movement. "Limiting it instinctively perceived and animals, and man as a lack of freedom. Prison is seen not so much the presence of grids or lack of comfort, as the fact that it is a place where a person held against his will."

In the 1960s, Soviet society is already visible tendency, which later had to bring it to the collapse, in particular, hardware-bureaucratic anti-intellectualism and the crisis in international relations. Sociology was created in the wake of the proposed reforms. It became clear that there are problems that need to comprehend in society. But our information soon, that at some point it seemed necessary to Khrushchev tuned to reform was not needed. The Company again was hassle-free. And such a society do not need the social sciences. From sociology began to make propaganda maid. Then I went off to work.

In Moscow, one party, but many entrances

- And what is the reason your trip from Leningrad to Moscow? After all, you say that there are no sharp collision was not?

- What do they have always been! I, however, are not always aware of the problem. But, of course, it is first and foremost - the Leningrad Regional Party Committee. Me to oppress it, absolutely. Although do with me obkomovtsy could not do anything. I am in Leningrad did not build any career, published exclusively in Moscow.

- What irritated the regional committee?

- Annoyed all. Annoying "Sociology of personality", articles about the conformism. Cause fury "Novomirsky" article, especially "The psychology of prejudice." An article on the American intelligentsia, which was read all understand that we are talking about us. Officials felt sedition, but nothing you could not do. It was not in their jurisdiction. The responsibility of carrying Twardowski, and he was in Moscow.

Officials mischief they could. In particular, the blocked my trips abroad. With this, I could not do anything. A foreign travel I needed not to "slip away" (although I have often thought to do it, but every time came back here because I needed more, I had something to say to society). And even more so, I did not go to bring some rags - I have never particularly interest here was not. But I knew that the country was in a hopeless condition, intellectually backward. I needed foreign books and magazines that I had to beg for their Western counterparts. In addition, it was important just to talk with colleagues.

By the way, that`s why all the intellectuals so sensitive about bans on foreign travel no matter how this or that attitude to the Soviet regime, and he was looking for in the West: it was the ban on the breath of air. For me it meant a ban on work.

Moscow has always been freer. Then I went to an anecdote: when Moscow cut their nails, fingers tearing in Leningrad. Unfortunately, it was confirmed repeatedly. So always occurred brain drain from Leningrad to Moscow. We talked to each other like this: in Moscow, one-party system, but a lot of entrances. We had in mind the different entrances of the Central Committee.

Indeed, when I could no longer remain in the "Institute of Sociology", which was in charge of the Central Committee of the science department, I went to the "Institute of Social Sciences" of the Central Committee, which was within the competence of the International Department of the Central Committee, and the science department where he could not reach me.

And in Leningrad, as well as in other cities, the system was not only one party, but odnopodezdnaya. If the regional committee decided to abolish someone, then he could easily do. So deal with some non-canonical subjects in the province was much more dangerous than in the capital. When I spoke with Irakli Andronnikova (also a former Leningrad, who moved to Moscow) and told him that in Moscow more opportunities to work, he said: "No, you are mistaken in Moscow more opportunities for realization made, but these features are related to... that you engage in some kind of unnecessary fuss you. And in Leningrad opportunities for organic work longer, but then you there is nothing you can do. And you become very uncomfortable. "

Moving to Moscow unambiguously interpreted as something career. Everything is much more complicated. Someone is really so. For others - because of the possibility of self-realization.

You can not be realized in Chukhloma - you need to Leningrad; then you do not have enough of Leningrad - and you need to Moscow; and today it is necessary sometimes to go to New York to London - there can only be realized and to receive due recognition. Here, of course, everything is not so simple: there`re the first guy in the village, but there is not. Someone get realized, someone not.

I - Other: work style - desk, or I do not go to any parties. In this sense, the Leningrad life suited me. In the best years of my life, before his departure to Moscow on 85 th year, I rented a room in Pavlovsk, where he spent four days a week. I went skiing, walking, work. From the house to the garden, I had half an hour. I worked than he wanted. If not for harassment when traveling abroad, I would have never left Leningrad.

- You somehow helps your name today?

- Now, when I have a direct confrontation with the Church, with the Ministry of Education, with the Duma, no one goes to the open persecution. They fear, understand that the scandal will work against them. In my books, two generations have grown up, or maybe three. And the books are different. If this was only sexuality, I would have thought it was cheap - a forbidden subject, one does not talk about, and so on. But my popularity grew, "Sociology of personality" to "Novomirsky" articles. And even people who do not read, accustomed to the name. It works. Sometimes they are disappointed on closer acquaintance. Or maybe not.

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