Cultural Codes of Society: Scientific and Practical Significance in Modern African Studies


Aida Moseiko


The article is devoted to the topic of searching for cultural codes. It presents the author’s approach to understanding the place and role of the problem of cultural codes in modern studies of Africa. The article presents an overview of the main options for understanding and defining cultural codes from the standpoint of both theoretical-rational and empirical-intuitive approaches. The relevance of the topic of cultural codes is considered in two aspects: from the point of view of contribution to the scientific development of the problems of cultural codes as an interdisciplinary problem and from the point of view of solving the practical task of increasing the effectiveness of the system of Russian-African relations based on mutual understanding and mutual respect of partners.

The problems of cultural codes are considered in the context of the global transformations of the 20th to 21st centuries with their great and tragic events that changed the essence and configuration of the regions of the world. Two world wars, the October Revolution, the collapse of the colonial system, the collapse of empires, the destruction of the USSR, the globalization of the world, the whole spectrum of postcolonial events raised the question of understanding countries and regions of each other around the world. As conclusions, the article defines the basic principles of studying African realities in the problem area of cultural codes:
1. Cultural codes of various cultures are value-semantic complexes formed on the basis of social experience and the information received in it.
2. Social experience is characterized by a number of parameters: geographical; geopolitical – defining relations with the outside world and the formation of historical memory, which in Africa is based on a generalized concept of the West, the image of the slave trade, colonization, racism, apartheid; and cultural and historical parameter.
3. Cultural codes form a semantic picture of the world, characteristic of each culture, on the basis of which people evaluate events and make choices that determine their activities and relationships.
4. Cultural codes evolve and change depending on social experience.
5. Cultural codes of different cultures interact in the forms of mutual influence or unilateral aggressive influence. Africa is characterized by the aggressive influence of Western culture, which has led to the emergence of border codes, the essence of which is the forced combination of traditional African codes with alien Western components. Hermeneutics, understood as the interpretation of the meanings of cultural texts, is considered as a research method. Two possible scenarios for the development of the border situation are considered: negative and positive. The negative scenario assumes the onset of acute social cataclysms, up to social chaos and the destruction of basic values. A positive scenario involves the renewal of society and the growth of its creative potential. It is necessary to predict the vector of development of the situation according to one of the above scenarios. The author believes that the deformation of African cultural codes and the “hacking” of Russia’s cultural codes of the late twentieth – early twenty-first century can become one of the points of contact that can consolidate Russian and African partners in the realization of the national interests of both sides.


Cultural codes, Africa, Russia, Russian-African relations, socio-cultural frontier, hermeneutics, signs, cultural text, meanings, images, symbols, postcolonial




1. Bart R. Izbrannye raboty: Semiotika. Poetika (Selected works: Semiotics. Poetics). Moscow, Progress, 1989.
2. Bujo В. Is There a Specific African Ethic? Towards a Discussion with Western Thought. African Ethics. An Anthology of Comparative and Applied Ethics, 2009.
3. Fayemi A.K. African Sartorial Culture and the Question of Identity: Towards an African Philosophy of Dress. Journal of the institute for African studies (Uchenye zapiski Instituta Afriki RAN), vol. 2 (55) 2021, рp. 66–79.
4. Fuko М. Slova i veschi (Words and things). Moscow, 1977.
5. Girz Klifford. Vliуanie konzepzii kultury na konzepziju cheloveka. Antropologija issledovanij kultury. Interpretazii kultury (The influence of the concept of culture on the concept of man. Anthropology of cultural studies. Cultural interpretations). St. Petersburg, Izdatelstvo Sankt-Peter-burgskogo universiteta, 2006.
6. Johanna Stiebert. Of Borders, Crossings, Colours and Botswana. Bible, Centres and Margins. Dialogues Between Postcolonial African and British Biblical scholars. Edited by Johanna Stiebert and Musa W. Dube. London, t&t Clark, 2018.
7. Kulturnyj kod (Cultural code). (accessed 12.10.2021)