Vol 21, No 4 (2021)

Theory, Methodology and History of Sociological Research
Max Weber and political theology of Friedrich Naumann
Kildyushov O.V.
Abstract

In the Weberian literature, it has been repeatedly noted that there is no serious theological interest in the most important provisions of the sociology of religion by Max Weber. This seems paradoxical given the religious-theological context for the development of Weber’s intellectual project of the social-theoretical hermeneutics of Western modernity. In the first part of the article, the author reconstructs the family and friends’ religious constellation which determined Weber’s understanding of the existential significance of religious meanings for certain groups of the modern era. The author mentions Weber’s close ties with a number of leading theologians of Germany in the late 19th - early 20th centuries, which influenced the heuristics of his writings. The second part of the article focuses on the multifaceted figure of Friedrich Naumann, a public intellectual, who was a Protestant pastor and a reactionary-conservative theologian and became a spiritual-political leader of the German left liberals. The author shows the initial ambivalence of the political-religious situation in the German Empire in the 1880s-1890s, in which Naumann tried to combine Christianity and socialism, and provides a brief overview of the young theologian and social activist’s gradual turning into a prominent figure of the German journalism and politics. In the third part of the article, the author describes the meeting of two thinkers as fateful for both Weber and Naumann, and emphasizes a radical turn in the worldview of the famous religious theorist and practitioner, who under the powerful influence of Weber’s personality and argumentation gave up both many previous ideas and pastor’s office. In conclusion, the author identifies the paradigmatic nature of Nauman’s ideological-political evolution as typical for a significant part of German intellectuals at the beginning of the 20th century, and considers Naumann’s Hegelian acceptance of the modern nation-state as the highest value (following Weber) as a self-fulfilling diagnosis for the crisis modernity on the eve of the First World War catastrophe.

RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2021;21(4):657-669
views
“Dangerous modernity!”, or the shadow play of modernity and its characters: instrumental rationality - money - technology (part 1)
Podvoyskiy D.G.
Abstract

The article is an essay on the critical analysis of one of the fundamental issues of social theory of the 19th - 20th centuries - alienation and its manifestations in modern societies. Alienation is interpreted not in one of its special meanings (such as alienation of labor, etc.), but in the broadest way - as the transformation of products of individual and collective activities into an independent force that subjugates a person and transfers him from the position of the subject to the position of the object of social relations. Such a definition makes alienation a ‘universal’ feature of social life. However, in different societies and in different historical periods, alienation can have variable specific forms. The historically specific manifestations of alienation in modern societies can be explained by referring to the classical theme of their genesis. The originality of their institutional organization is largely associated with the originality of their culture and spiritual life (in particular, with the radical demarcation between human and nature, subject and object in the modern era). The multifaceted phenomenon of scientific and technical rationality, the product of the post-Renaissance Western-European culture, becomes a source of social realities and practices ‘fraught with alienation’. The article illustrates it by a number of examples, including the logic and mechanisms of the capitalist money economy. The author refers to the heritage of world philosophy and social thought, which problematized and conceptualized the considered issues in various ways: the Frankfurt School, existentialist philosophers, ‘pillars’ of theoretical sociology - Karl Marx and Georg Simmel.

RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2021;21(4):670-696
views
‘Counterfinality’ in sociological theory: Reconceptualization of the concept
Latypov I.A.
Abstract

Counterfinality is defined as unintended consequences of the uncoordinated actions of rationally acting individuals. Even before the concept was introduced by Sartre and developed by Elster, counterfinality was considered by many scholars. Some defined counterfinality as a type of social paradoxes and dilemmas, others - as an outcome of social interaction. Description and analysis of such social contradictions and paradoxes can be found in the works of Hobbes, Mandeville, Smith, Marx and Hegel. In the 20th century, sociologists also considered the issue of unintended consequences. Many classic papers of Merton contributed to the sociological analysis of the unintended consequences of intentional actions. Subsequent works focused on their classifications, and the phenomenon of counterfinality was highlighted in almost every classification. The term ‘counterfinality’ was introduced by Sartre as an ‘appendage of history’, an unforeseen consequence of many interactions. The sociological study of counterfinality was initiated by Elster. He analyzes counterfinality not within the functionalist paradigm, but in the methodological individualism perspective, and for him, counterfinality acts as a basis for social change. The author’s analysis of the main ideas of Sartre, Elster and other authors on counterfinality reveals its distinctive features in general and in the sociological analysis of social action in particular. The author argues that today the counterfinality theory consists mainly of responses and criticism of the ideas of Sartre and Elster, and that further sociological research should focus on conditions, features and consequences of counterfinality, and on its empirical indicators.

RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2021;21(4):697-710
views
On the demarcation of mythological messages in the communicative space of contemporary culture: An interdisciplinary approach
Strelnik O.N.
Abstract

The article considers myth as an element of social communication reproduced in both archaic and modern times. The author seeks criteria for identifying mythological messages in the general corpus of connotative messages. The empirical ‘field’ of the search is the mass media. The author follows the interdisciplinary research principles and presents a combination of various approaches to the study of myth. In the contemporary culture, myth remains one of the most relevant ways for constructing meaning. In both modern and archaic myths, there is a single type of thinking, the logic of which is not limited to the “logic of emotions” or scientific normativity. The author distinguishes normal and ‘transformed’ myths, and argues that the demarcation of the mythological is needed exclusively for ‘transformed’ myths. In other cases, despite its obvious ubiquity, myth remains a by-product of communications, does not distort their main content and does not ‘parasitize’ on their form. The article draws an analogy between how mythological thinking functions in the archaic and the methods for forming mythological content in the contemporary mass media. The author comes to the conclusion that the initial functional orientation of the mass media is distorted in mythological messages: in the ‘transformed’ media (media + myth), the function of informing is replaced by the functions of motivation. The mass media code ‘information/not information’ is distorted, values are presented as systems of facts, and the image of reality as reality itself. The demarcation of mythological messages can be achieved by identifying the distortion of the content and functions of the original form of culture. Such a transformation is a necessary but insufficient criterion for identifying mythological messages in the communicative space of contemporary culture.

RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2021;21(4):711-721
views
Personal characteristics of the focus group participants as a factor of the data quality
Puzanova Z.V., Larina T.I., Gasparishvili A.T., Radkevich K.V., Zakharova S.V.
Abstract

The article presents the results of the search for methodological ways to improve the quality of sociological information obtained in the focus group discussion. Today the scientific sphere is changing, and, in addition to the development of new methods, the existing interdisciplinary ones are being adapted to the specific research goals. An important way for improving sociological methods is the study of psychological aspects of respondents’ behavior during focus groups, since unconscious reactions can indicate the potential information bias and affect the quality of the project results. In the RUDN University, a three-stage methodological experiment was conducted based on the psychological technique “7 radicals”, the Specific Affect Coding System (SPAFF) and the personal differential method. At the first stage, the experiment aimed at examining the ability of respondents without special knowledge in the field of psycho-typing to identify the dominant radicals. At the second stage, representatives of different psycho-types assessed each other so that the researchers would develop recommendations for the seating of focus group participants. At the third stage, the quality of the data obtained in focus groups was assessed depending on the moderator’s special skills (knowledge of psycho-types, FACS and SPAFF). Thus, the recommendations for moderators were developed - to increase the efficiency of work with focus group participants and to improve the quality of sociological data. The moderator needs knowledge in three areas: respondents’ psycho-types, affects in SPAFF, and the proxemic component (seating of respondents). The authors assess the prospects for introducing psychological techniques into the training system for focus group moderators and provide recommendations for moderators based on the results of the multi-stage experiment. Its results partially solve the problem of the quality of the focus group data by explaining the need to teach moderators interdisciplinary techniques (SPAFF and psycho-typing of the focus-group participants).

RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2021;21(4):722-738
views
Contemporary society: the urgent issues and prospects for development
The state and dynamics of the Russian mass consciousness and behavioral practices under the covid-19 pandemic
Gorshkov M.K., Tyurina I.O.
Abstract

The expansion of the covid-19 has created a new pandemic social reality. In fact, for the first time in modern history, mankind faces a global crisis determined not by geopolitical or economic challenges but by a disease which spreads in most countries and all continents as a pandemic, which affects the current social-economic processes and development forecasts, reveals and intensifies the most acute social problems, and significantly transformed the functioning of the contemporary society. The pandemic was a complete surprise for the world and national communities - a surprise not so much medical or epidemiological as social. Already at the beginning of the pandemic, there was an opposition of two approaches to its probable social consequences. Some experts believed that it would change the society radically and irreversibly, would transform social institutions and change everyday life, and “the world will never be the same”. Others argued that the new social practices would not affect the deepest foundations of the established social order which would be later restored in its pre-coronavirus form [10]. However, it is obvious that the global and extraordinary social upheavals caused by the pandemic would have large-scale social consequences that need to be described and analyzed, in particular the impact of the coronavirus on the most important spheres and aspects of life as assessed by the people. The article is based on the results of the all-Russian sociological study and presents a comprehensive analysis of the Russian life under the pandemic. The authors provide data on the dynamics of material and social situation of Russians, explain the impact of the pandemic on the social-psychological well-being, public mentality and spiritual atmosphere. The authors pay particular attention to the behavioral practices of different groups of the Russian population according to their adaptation to new social-economic conditions, preservation and development of human potential, and view of the country’s future.

RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2021;21(4):739-754
views
Compulsory vaccination: Public benefit or individual’s right limitation
Yastrebov O.A.
Abstract

Mass vaccination and its controversial assessments have become key issues under the covid-19 pandemic. Outbreaks of diseases and popularity of anti-vaccination movements require a study of legal foundations for medical interventions and freedom restrictions which are considered as the result of serious risks to health and sanitary-epidemiological well-being of the population. The question is what should be prioritized - paternalistic powers of the state or individual rights and freedoms to decide what risks to take. In terms of responsibility distribution, people often consider vaccines as more dangerous than infectious diseases [17], which makes compulsory vaccination a legal phenomenon of particular importance. In the contemporary legislation, there are various national approaches to the individual autonomy and freedoms. In some countries, vaccination is directly linked to the possibility to study (USA), in others it is associated with ‘public health’ (Australia), financial sanctions (Poland) or freedoms’ limitations (Pakistan). In terms of public health ethics, vaccination is similar to the use of seat-belts in cars, and compulsory vaccination policy is ethically justified by the same reasons as mandatory seat-belt laws [8]: at first, they were met with great opposition; later the use of seat belts acquired the significance of not only a legal but also a social norm precisely because it was made mandatory [1]. The similar approach is applicable to vaccination: the policy of compulsory vaccination can make it a social norm. However, in the legal perspective, compulsory vaccination is a compulsory medical intervention which raises the question about whether it is possible to limit individual rights and freedoms in the name of public health safety. The article considers contradictory issues in the state policy of compulsory vaccination and its legal support. The author presents a definition of compulsory vaccination, identifies its types, describes the specifics of its national legal regulation and sanctions for the refusal to be vaccinated, and explains its social necessity and expediency as a public good.

RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2021;21(4):755-768
views
‘New normality’ of the covid-19 era: Opportunities, limitations, risks
Gnatik E.N.
Abstract

The article considers some key aspects of the current transformation of social reality. The author argues that the announcement of the pandemic determined an unprecedented situation: humanity faces a completely different concept of reality. In particular, the breakthrough in the development of NBIC technologies (nano, bio, new information and cognitive technologies) contributes to the strengthening of the paradigm that absolutizes the technocratic component of civilizational development. Under the general depression and decline in economic activity, there is an explosive growth in the field of bioengineering, information and cognitive research. The ‘new normality’ of the coronavirus era, associated with the unprecedented development of artificial intelligence systems, video surveillance technologies, geolocation and ‘big data’, in an unusually short time has created new existential and legal problems. The proclaimed threat to public health, being a significant goal-setting, has become a dominant justification for the introduction of serious innovations that allow the ruling elites to block civil rights, in particular, to legalize the use of tracking systems. Under the fight against the pandemic, the personal identification systems based on advanced technologies are being transformed from a security tool of law enforcement agencies into a tool of mass social engineering. Russia has come close to a new stage of digital transformation - a state-wide credential management system (the Unified Federal Information Register). Considering the experience of China in digital segregation, concerns arise: will digitalization turn into something dangerous as the algorithms of artificial intelligence improve, the use of biometric surveillance broaden, etc.? The article emphasizes that scanning the appearance and collecting information about citizens allows to create a gigantic array of data, the use of which can have unpredictable consequences, and the problem of their unauthorized use is not the main one. The power of algorithms, which allows to manipulate a person by means of continuously collected information about him, can turn into a new, sophisticated form of genocide.

RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2021;21(4):769-782
views
Engagement without accountability: The role of governments, field experts, and public intellectuals in the context of the covid-19 pandemic
Radeljić B., González-Villa C.
Abstract

The outbreak of the covid-19 pandemic represented a major shock. In their effort to adapt their responses to the crisis to their own conditions of survival, governments have tended to resort to arguments that limit accountability to the population. Despite the privileged place they are presumed to have within contemporary societies, experts have been displaced from the decision-making processes of governments and delegitimized by the anti-intellectual drift favored by the way in which arguments are presented and debated in social media. At the same time, despite being perceived as capable of offering inside-out evaluations of specific phenomena and therefore capable of distinguishing between truths and big lies (and anything in-between), the role of public intellectuals seems to have been limited. The article analyses the responses of great power governments and regional powers in terms of the discursive practices deployed in the context of the covid-19 crisis, and the capacity of the aforementioned non-institutional actors to confront these discourses. As ‘editors-in-chief’, policymakers have felt passionate about war metaphors that have allowed them to deconstruct and make complex subjects accessible, and as such, to ensure a sufficient level of attention and public approval so that the fight against the enemy could begin. In addition, they have prompted the implementation of emergency measures that, in a context of geopolitical confrontation, have allowed them to evade individual responsibilities. Rather than using their knowledge to provide constructive examination of complex issues and make them accessible, so the ones who listen to them can hopefully understand the impact of specific policy preferences and minimize their own losses in the increasingly competitive environment, experts and intellectuals have seen their room for maneuver to influence policy formulations severely limited.

RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2021;21(4):783-804
views
Assessment of the social well-being of families in Russian regions: A sociological analysis
Rostovskaya T.K., Kuchmaeva O.V., Zolotareva O.A.
Abstract

Under the current humanitarian and technological revolution, the change of the paradigm of the social-economic development from the principle ‘man for economy’ to the principle ‘economy for man’ has become a priority criteria for positioning countries in the global space. The term ‘quality of life’ plays the key role in this concept, since the high quality of life allows the state to accumulate on its territory the main resource - human capital. Improving the quality of life takes a leading place among the Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) approved by the UN General Assembly [19]. The 2020 Human Development Report underlines “the meaning of a good life and the ways in which we can achieve it,” and the emphasis is made on “achieving the well-being of everyone” [10]. The article is based on the data of the authors’ representative sociological survey on “Demographic well-being of Russian regions” conducted in 2020. The survey aimed at revealing the assessments of respondents from different regions of Russia of the metrics of family well-being, and at identifying family problems for the development of differentiated/narrowly focused measures to support families with children. Based on the survey data, the authors conducted a detailed analysis of the parameters of family well-being and of the role of the state social support in ensuring it in the respondents’ perspective. Russian families differ in their assessments of the significance of measures necessary to support the family, focus on measures of economic support, on the development of social infrastructure, and on the role of ideological influence. The cluster analysis confirmed the need for differentiated measures of the state social support, which would take into account the stages of the family life cycle (age of family members, number of children). The factor analysis allowed to identify the structure of Russians’ ideas about the main measures that would contribute to strengthening the family, which must be taken into account when developing managerial decisions in the field of the social-demographic development.

RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2021;21(4):805-824
views
Volunteering in Russia: History and attitudes of the contemporary youth
Belyaeva L.A., Zelenev I.A., Prokhoda V.A.
Abstract

The article considers the issue of the youth participation in volunteering as a form of social activity and at the same time the direction of the youth policy. The analysis of the empirical data follows a short review of the history of volunteering in the pre-revolutionary and Soviet periods. The authors explain this movement’s contradictory nature by the social-political trends in the development of civil society and by the organizational influence of the authorities. The contemporary Russian volunteering is presented on the basis of the online survey data on two cohorts of the ‘adult’ urban youth - 18-24 and 25-34 years old (N=705 and N=714). The samples represent the social-demographic and geographical features of two groups. The mathematical methods of analysis allowed to identify the scale of participation and the types of volunteer activities for both cohorts, social attitudes and real involvement in the volunteer movement, and an expected gap between them, which can be explained by a complex motivation for volunteering. We identified the following motivation models: the ‘promotion’ model implies mercantile and career motives, the ‘capital’ model - the growth of human and social capital, and the ‘value’ model - beliefs and expectations of public recognition and respect. The second model is especially relevant for the younger cohort. The survey revealed the opinions of the youth as a social group about the factors that hinder participation in volunteering. Young people were critical of their group, and named social indifference as the first problem, then comes the lack of time, insufficient encouragement and public recognition. The research proved that the potential of volunteering is much higher than the youth’s participation in it. The development of this activity together with overcoming its bureaucratization can become an incentive for reducing the youth’s social apathy.

RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2021;21(4):825-838
views
Class identity of the working-class youth in contemporary Russia
Gavrilyuk V.V., Gavrilyuk T.V.
Abstract

The article considers the social self-identification of the Russian working youth and its class identity. The relevance of the topic is due to the need to search for basic indicators of the identity of the working class in the post-industrial era as connected with the fundamental differences between wage labour in the service sectors from the labour of industrial workers. The article presents an overview of contemporary concepts of multiple and fragmented identity, outlines the main vectors of controversy in the debates on identification processes and identity politics in contemporary societies; describes the basic features of the identification of the working class in the post-industrial era - the nature and content of labour; ownership of property and participation in the management of the enterprise. The contemporary working class is defined as a nonhomogeneous entity with internal differentiation determined by such factors as the form of employment, sphere of employment, income level, lifestyle and cultural capital. The empirical part of the research was implemented in the Ural Federal District in 2018 based on the mass and expert surveys. The results of the study prove that there are active processes of class formation in the Russian society; therefore, we need to revive the class approach to the description of the social structure. More than 50% of young people from the traditional industrial working class still identify themselves as members of this social group, while the same applies only to every third worker of routine service; and identification with the middle class loses popularity. The empirical data show the paradoxical nature of the working-class thinking and the instability of its basic orientations. The contradictory assessments and statements of the respondents confirm the vagueness of their class consciousness and the instability of their class identity.

RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2021;21(4):839-854
views
TV versus Internet: How media consumption affects the approval of the authorities
Ushkin S.G.
Abstract

The article considers the features of the Russians’ media consumption and their attitudes to political institutions (federal and regional). The survey of the population of the Republic of Mordovia aimed at finding correlations between the use of certain information channels, the level of trust in them, and the approval of the authorities. The study showed that the choice of traditional media (television, newspapers, magazines, radio) or new media (social networks, Internet websites, telegram channels) divides people into groups according to their political preferences. Traditional media (conditionally the “TV” party) tend to unite representatives of older cohorts living in rural areas and supporting the government. New media (conditionally the “Internet” party) tend to attract mainly young people living in cities, having a relatively high level of education and being critical of political institutions. The author believes that there is a potential for reconciliation of these two ‘parties’ - in the communicative possibilities of personal connections (friends, relatives, acquaintances), because the close social circle seems to provide grounds for discussing the current situation in the country and the region. The results of the survey show a high level of distrust to all information channels and a low level of approval of the authorities. The situation is aggravated by the coronavirus crisis: skepticism about official information determined a significant number of rumors discrediting political institutions, which in the future may negatively affect election campaigns at all levels.

RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2021;21(4):855-867
views
Social representations of the Arab youth: Factors and trends of regional development
Belov V.I., Savicheva E.M., Kharitonova E.V.
Abstract

The article examines the situation in the Middle East and North Africa region (the so-called ‘Afrasian arc of instability’) in the context of the social representations of the local youth. Based on the empirical study conducted with the authors’ method, the authors assess the youth’s ideas about the most important factors for the effective social-political development of the region. The research methodology is based on the analysis of 12 trends that determine the regional development in the Arab East. The study allowed to assess the social-political potential of the Arab youth as a specific and influential demographic group ready to contribute to the development agenda for the Arab East. The authors identify the Arab youth’s social preferences regarding the main development trends in the region; show that in the political struggle, young people do not act alone, their aspirations are closely intertwined with national goals; prove that there is an active search for ways out of the economic crisis, for strengthening national sovereignty and ensuring peace and security. All these problems have become urgent in recent years in the Middle East region for a number of its countries strives to solve difficult problems of overcoming the destructive impact of the Arab Spring. The article presents the youth priority requests such as demands for the quality legal relations, developing national idea, and ensuring national security by strengthening military force and possessing weapons of restraint. One of the basic preferences of the Arab youth is preserving sovereignty, reducing external influences and creating a strong alliance of the Middle Eastern states. Rapprochement with leading world powers and regional associations (named as West, East and Russia) seems to be on the periphery of the Arab youth interests.

RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2021;21(4):868-880
views
Characteristics of migration from Serbia to Slovakia (on the example of the municipality of Kovačica)
Stojšin S., Šljukić M., Hlavča D.
Abstract

Due to numerous transformation problems which determined the collapse of the industrial sector, unemployment and low living standards, an increasing number of working population leaves Serbia. For a very long time, Serbian emigration was directed primarily to the developed Western European countries (especially Germany and Austria). However, Slovakia has recently joined the narrow circle of countries-destinations for emigrants from Serbia. The article focuses on this wave of the working population emigration from Serbia to Slovakia and considers it in the framework of the contemporary migration theories, especially the push-and-pull factors theory. The research data was compared with the relevant data from previous studies. The research was conducted in the municipality of Kovačica (northern Serbia) with a questionnaire on the sample of 100 respondents (the ‘snowball’ method was applied), and the authors also used various other data sources: statistical data (censuses, migration statistics, etc.), media reports and scientific papers. Given the unfavorable social-economic context of the Serbian working population emigration and the chosen theoretical framework, the authors considered economic factors as crucial for this wave of migration, which seems to be similar to the previous waves of migration. In general, this assumption was confirmed: emigrants from Serbia go to Slovakia for a variety of reasons, but the key ones are the small salary in Serbia, the impossibility to find a job in one’s profession, and a poor financial and political situation in the country. On the other hand, Slovakia attracts Serbian migrants by offering possibilities to earn more money, to have higher living standards, better conditions for education and work, thus, promising a better and predictable future.

RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2021;21(4):881-890
views
Reviews
Everyday people’s patriotism in Russia: Possibilities and limitations of sociological study and typologization
Trotsuk I.V.
Abstract

The article is a review of the book by K. Clément Patriotism from Below. “How Is It Possible That People Are So Poor in the Rich Country?” (Moscow: NLO, 2021. 232 p.). The book is based on the results of the research project aimed at the detailed description of different types of everyday Russian patriotism with the help of the qualitative approach (in fact, case studies and semi-formalized interviews were conducted, although the book presents them as ethnographic research and in-depth interviews). The book identifies and describes the following types of the ‘grassroot’ Russian patriotism which does not always coincide with the state patriotic discourse (patriotism ‘from above’): non-state and state everyday patriotism, non-patriotism, detached patriotism, and local patriotism. The review identifies both the undoubted merits of the book and its conceptual, methodological and analytical limitations which can become a starting point for further sociological studies of discursive practices and behavioral patterns of Russians, especially of those living in the Russian ‘hinterland’ (depressed peripheral regions of the country).

RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2021;21(4):891-902
views
Transnationalism and internationalism: Revival of the terms
Babashkin V.V.
Abstract

The article is a review of the book “Living in Two Worlds”: Rethinking Transnationalism and Translocality (Moscow: NLO; 2020. 259 p.). The book was one of the results of the research project “Transnational and translocal aspects of migration in contemporary Russia” conducted at the European University of Saint Petersburg in 2015-2017 with the support of the Russian Science Foundation. The review convincingly shows that the authors of this scientific monograph really succeeded in rethinking the complex social phenomena behind the sociological terms ‘transnational migration’ and ‘translocal migration’. The author of the review tries to answer the questions about reasons for the introduction of these terms into the theoretical scientific discourse and about directions the articles suggest for their rethinking.

RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2021;21(4):903-910
views

This website uses cookies

You consent to our cookies if you continue to use our website.

About Cookies