Smell: olfaktorical facet of social reality

olfaktorical facet of social reality

Zubanova L.B.

Cand. Sci. (Sociol.)Dr. Sci. (Cult.), Prof., Department of cultural science and sociology, Chelyabinsk State Institute of Culture, Chelyabinsk, Russia

Zyhovskaya N.L.

Dr. Sci. (Philol.), professor of department of Russian language and literature, South Ural State University (National Research University), Chelyabinsk, Russia

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Zubanova L.B. , Zyhovskaya N.L. Smell: olfaktorical facet of social reality. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2016. No 5. P. 13-20


Article is devoted to diagnostics of reality through fixing a smell or “spirit of the age”, “breath of an era”. Advantages and restrictions of this metaphor reconstruction via the key olfaktorical channel are estimated. The article uses examples in researches of psychophysiological means of designing of reality: authors address experience in theories of sociology of life, concepts of daily occurrence, psychosemantic and metaphorical ways of comprehending texts, ideas of “the fluid present” and “stream structures”. The smell of time appears as an associative design of social reality. A special attention is paid to the research project directed on the analysis of bilateral strategy of estimating a place of smell in social reality and social reality in categories of smell. The first stage of the project was based on studying “meta olfaktoricy” in a language picture of the world. As base of the similar analysis materials of articles of “Russian of the associative dictionary” modeling verbal memory and language consciousness of the typical native speaker of Russian were investigated. Authors analyzed the words associated with smells in process of decrease of their rate that allowed to establish what smells at the level of associations are most demanded by native speakers, what place a smell takes in perception of the world. The second stage of the research project was defined as personal and associative perception of social reality in categories of an “ol-faktor” and was based on a series of the formalized interviews with Chelyabinsk residents (100 informants: an equal number of people in age groups: 17–19, 20– 29, 30–39, 40–49, 50–59 years). The structure of a smell phenomenon was fixed as a chain of logically connected operations: recognition of a smell, remembering of the words designating a smell, choice of words most precisely transferring olfaktorical impression, categorization of a semantic field (reference of a smell to certain category within the phenomenon). The “ol-faktor” as set of olfactory impressions was analyzed during sociological research through two semantic levels of informants’ inclusiveness: 1) abstract generalized assessment level (detached ascertaining of general meaning of a smell in perception of reality); 2) personal and subjective level of assessment (specification of personal olfaktorical perception by informants of social reality). On the basis of the interviews results, authors managed to allocate key strategy of self-determination of informants in system of olfaktorical perception of reality, to designate olfaktorical analogs in perception of time, place of residence and, in general, – Russia.

time smell; olfaktorical diagnostics of reality; associativity; language picture of the world; olfaktorical impressions; olfaktorical strategy
Content No 5, 2016