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Potency of the Small

Syrodeeva A.A. Potency of the Small. M.: Vost. Lit., 2012. – ISBN 978-5-02-036528-5



The collection of articles Potency of the Small continues the theme discussed by Asya Syrodeeva in the book World of the Small (M.: Institute of Philosophy, RAS, 1998). While in the first publication the small was presented as a participant of struggle for plurality and diversity, against the universalistic projects, grand narratives, hierarchical systems, in the current one it is being viewed in the context more peaceful, steady, but no less expressive and productive. Here the author focuses on the small as a principle of everyday life.

Although the publication is intended to draw attention to the significant potential of the small, the readers will find numerous warnings not to universalize or absolutise this principle. What helps to resist such menace?

First of all, the small is regarded by the author as forming a "cluster" with relativity, fragmentation, ambivalence, finitude, that refer to the limits and boundaries. Moreover, the context of everyday life focuses discussion on situational, temporary, private matters. It is worth mentioning also that the principle of the small is presented in dialogue with various others – universalities and absolutes, unities and integration processes. Letting the others into the discussion, accepting their presence and arguments, noticing their complementarity to the principle of the small, we have less chance of becoming hostages of the latter. The others make vivid the strong sides of the small and at the same time help to realize the ambiguity of this principle.

The collection is structured according to the following logic. The First Part includes texts about the small in ordinary life and everyday practices. The Second one focuses on the instrumental role of this principle in a number of socio-cultural concepts (M.Bakhtin, R.Rorty. Z.Bauman). Finally the Third Part presents the possible forms of work with this principle in the psycho-pedagogical work. The narration is conducted as a discussion of cases and episodes from daily life, what is consistent with the nature of the subject matter.

The Appendix presents two "workshops" (of an artist – sculptor Lazar Gadaev, and of the Berlin school in modern German cinematography) thus demonstrating how the small may become the creatively-existential element of certain concepts in art.

A significant place in the submitted articles is given to children. Childhood is the period limited in time and is marked by simplicity, low spiritual and physical abilities. And yet, from this period grows complex, diverse world of a personality. Moreover adults periodically turn to the children in search of meanings and harmony. Children and literature created for them demonstrate capacity of the small and its presence in social reality beyond “the starting point” – everyday life practices.








1. Relativism as ideology of everyday life

2. Twinkling of the small

3. “Practical” historiosophy and children




4. Polyphony as an integrity principle

5. Philosophy of the possibility

6. Uncertainty, everyday life and social critique

7. Encountering



  1. The child as a close Other
  2. "Is Barmaley good or bad?"
  3. Experience of growing up and the relative character of otherness


Concluding remarks


Workshops with the small