Vol 19, No 1 (2019)

Contemporary society: the urgent issues and prospects for development

Professional deformations in socionic professions

Temnova L.V., Faiman N.S.


The article considers social factors of professional deformation in socionomic professions. This is an important sociological issue due to the risks of professional deformation for customers and social environment, thus, there is a need for a set of measures for the timely diagnostics and prevention of such deviations. The authors support the interpretation of the profession as an “institutionalized deviation”, and of the professional as a person licensed to deviate from the philistine behavior and thinking; consider professional deformation from the point of view of professionalization (institutional and personal) and combine psychological and sociological approaches. The combination of the neo-Weberian approach, secondary analysis and in-depth interviews allowed the authors to identify the following factors of professional deformation in socionomic professions: discrepancy of the individual concept and model of professional career; unproductive resolution of professional crises during professionalization; formation of the public image of the professional group, its ideology and ethics as opposing the idea of serving its own interests and getting professional privileges; creation of professional organizations (associations) with the features of social-professional disadaptation (for example, the syndrome of professional burnout); social closure of the professional community as a source of considering professionalism an instrument of access to privileges and double standards; increasing distance in the activities of the professional (professional ‘deafness’, sociolect for hiding the reported meanings); bureaucratization (regulation of professional activity contrary to the clients’ interests, best practices, and work schedule); value-role conflicts. These factors are ambivalent: on the one hand, they are signs of the institutionalization of the profession; on the other hand, they are indicators of social deformation.

RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2019;19(1):7-19
pages 7-19 views

China’s human rights concept and its international promotion

Tsvyk A.V., Tsvyk G.I.


In the contemporary inter-state relations, human rights are not only a subject of disputes but also a lever of influence or pressure, a set of material and non-material structures, institutions and processes that determine the course of international life. Thus, human rights have become a full-fledged factor of international relations. In recent decades, the problem of human rights in China has been one of the most controversial issues in the relations of China and the Western countries. It is the specific nature of China’s human rights concept that determines contradictions between China and the West. The authors argue that the concept of human rights in China is based on the national tradition of the primacy of the state over the interests of an individual. China’s human rights concept rethinks Confucianism and Marxism emphasizing the need to respect the collective rights of the people to the socio-economic development as well as to ensure stability and security of the state and preserve its sovereignty. At the same time, as the authors point out, in recent years China, which traditionally takes a defensive position on the human rights issue in its international agenda, has promoted its own concept of human rights at the international level. In this regard, in the authors opinion, it is necessary to analyse the factors, which have affected the formation of China’s human rights concept, as well as the position of China’s authorities on this issue, and the purposes and tools of China's so-called ‘human rights diplomacy’. At the conclusion the authors summarize the basic features of China’s human rights concept, which form the theoretical basis of ‘human rights diplomacy’ of the PRC.
RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2019;19(1):20-30
pages 20-30 views

Addis Ababa master development plan: A program for development or for ethnic cleansing?

Aberra D.


It is the legitimate authority of states to prepare and implement development plans. In the democratic society, preparation and implementation of development plans necessarily imply consultations and consent of the local communities affected by the development plan. Such plans should not be unilaterally prepared and coercively imposed on local communities. Any imposed development plan is incompatible with fundamental human rights and freedoms. Thus, the article aims at identifying whether or not the so-called ‘Addis Ababa Integrated Master Plan’ is a true and elaborate development plan. A real development plan ensures that the intended development project does not result in destruction of the livelihoods and cultural integrity of the local communities living in the project area. The author also considers possible explanations for the Ethiopian Government’s refusal to listen to the continuous protests of the Oromo people against the ‘Addis Ababa Integrated Master Plan’. In the particular context of regional development aiming at the hidden ethnic cleansing, the intent to destroy a certain group’s cultural identity cannot be declared openly by the government but it can be seen in the relevant long-term policies, governmental patterns of actions and facts of everyday life. The article examines from the historical perspective the long-term successive Ethiopian governments’ policies and relevant facts to reveal the state’s intent to destroy the Oromo identity in Addis Ababa and its suburbs. If the Oromo are evicted from the ancestral land their economic life, social networks, language, cultural traditions and norms will be destroyed, and the Oromo in the area of the ‘Addis Ababa Integrated Master Plan’ will eventually disappear as a cultural group with a distinct ethnic identity.
RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2019;19(1):31-39
pages 31-39 views

Surveys, experiments, case studies

Factors for attracting educational migrants (on the example of Siberian universities)

Bulatowa T.A., Glukhov A.P.


The attractiveness of the Russian higher education system and the country in general for educational migrants in the perspective of the theory of ‘human capital’ is considered in the article as a migrant’s individual choice based on assessing costs/benefits of one’s further life trajectory as a specialist. The authors focus on the regional aspect of educational migration - to Tomsk and the Tomsk Region, in which the scientific-educational complex is a city-forming one, and the share of students (including foreign ones) is among the highest in the country. The article considers the quality of ‘foreign student - host community’ relations, the regional media presentation of migration as affecting the public opinion, and the possibilities of social media for the social-psychological support for migrants as the most important factors for choosing/rejecting the region and its higher education system. The empirical basis of the article consists of the semi-structured interviews with educational migrants, regional Internet media focusing on migration, and educational migrant communication in the Russian social networks. According to the research data, the interethnic situation in the Tomsk Region is estimated by educational migrants as favorable; however, in the host community there is a hierarchy of attitudes towards different national-geographical segments of educational migration; many region’s residents do not show hostility to foreign students but believe that further educational migration must be stopped, which is probably due to the negative information discourse of regional media on labor migrants. Social networks as a supporting communicative infrastructure partially hinder negativity and indifference of the host community acting as an emotional-compensatory diaspora quasi-institution that turns the social capital of communication into economic preferences and psychological satisfaction.

RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2019;19(1):40-52
pages 40-52 views

Mutual images of Poland and Belarus in the travel photo structure

Burak T.V.


One of the key aspects of contemporary society is intercultural communication that is important mainly due to the relations with such trends in the development of an open society as the erasure of boundaries, visualization, virtualization, and massification of social life. Self-organized travel as one of the forms of tourism is a combination of social practices that implement interaction of various types of everyday life (one’s own and others’). In various disciplinary fields, including sociology, throughout the twentieth century, everyday life was always in the focus of interdisciplinary research. However, the question of how signs and reality are connected in the daily interactions of the traveler was not considered separately. The article presents the results of an interdisciplinary research based on the analysis of travel representations posted on the tourist Internet forums and on the methods of semiotic and structural analysis to characterize the ways of constructing mutual images of Poland and Belarus. The structure of these visual images is analyzed in several perspectives: new and social-typical values and interpretations; expressive signs; type and genre of representations; their general characteristics and differences; social norms and lifestyle; city and nature; past and present; holidays and weekdays. The study revealed substantial and structural originality of the everyday life images reproduced in travel representations: the image of Belarus presented by Polish travelers is based on various combinations of relations between the signs “countryside”, “simple life”, “preservation of traditions”, “quiet lifestyle’; Belarusian travelers construct visual images of Poland based on the interconnected ideas of “urban lifestyle”, “modern and old city”, “preservation of historical objects”.

RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2019;19(1):53-70
pages 53-70 views

Adaptation and immersion in the life trajectories of women engaged in prostitution

Rusakova M.M.


The author considers adaptation and immersion as parts of the life trajectory of women engaged in prostitution. This trajectory includes five stages: approach, entry, adaptation, immersion, and exit. The research aims at describing adaptation and immersion on the example of women engaged in prostitution in Saint Petersburg and Orenburg. The research had a mixed-method design consisting of a survey of 896 respondents and 10 semi-structured interviews (based on the ‘snowball’ sample). The article presents a descriptive analysis of the survey data and a thematic analysis of interviews. The study allowed to identify two trends in the respondents’ social environment: the loss of friendship and parent-child relationships, distancing and unwillingness to reveal their activities; the partnerships accompanied by the separation of activities in and out of prostitution. Women engaged in prostitution are subject to all forms of violence; therefore, an integral part of their adaptation and immersion is the recognition of clients’ behavior patterns and the development of safe interaction and conflict prevention strategies. The study also revealed the initiation and/or abuse of alcohol and drugs consumption in the course of activities in prostitution, and during immersion the severity of alcohol and drugs use tends to increase. Moreover, many women engaged in prostitution are in the poor psychological condition. Thus, it is necessary to further study prostitutes’ interaction with clients, sex business organizers, and the closest social environment not involved in sex business at all stages of the life trajectory in prostitution.

RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2019;19(1):71-80
pages 71-80 views

Sociological lectures

Dichotomy genus-state in the conceptualization of nomadism

Zhakupbekova D.A.


The article addresses the problem of conceptualizing nomadism by the genus-policy dichotomy under the deconstruction of the classical western paradigm defining social as equal to the state. The author argues that the dichotomy ‘clan-state’ reflects the opposition of nomadism and sedentarism, and focuses on the social-philosophical studies of segmental societies through the dichotomy ‘clan-state’ claiming that segmental society does not allow the concentration of power. The article is based on the studies of the tendencies of neo-tribalism and reorganization of kin relations by O.L. Lushnikova, Ch.M. Lamazhaa, N.T. Nurullo-Khodjaeva and on the works reconsidering eurocentrism and evolutionary one-line historical process that turned modernization policies into violent sedentarization of the nomads. Historiographic studies also prove the need to revise the generally accepted method of studying the genesis of nomadic cultures that J. Scott defines as a ‘periphery’ of the historical process. The social-political perspective allows to consider tribal relations through the institutions of gift-exchange and potlatch (M. Moss) as preventing the system of power based on suppression. The deconstruction of evolutionism and logocentrism changed the emphasis in the dichotomy ‘genus-state’, so the state is no longer considered an absolute good. A. Giddens and P. Bourdieu define nomadism as ‘another sociality’ in which segmentation is the main principle of conjunction. The substantial episteme of sedentarism opposes the processual episteme of nomadism according to the analysis of the social-political concepts of Aristotle and Ibn Haldun. Thus, the opposition of nomadic and sedentary cultures as a dichotomy of genus-polis is based on an aporia of identity and difference, myth and logos, feminine and masculine, which defines the conceptualization of nomadism.

RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2019;19(1):81-93
pages 81-93 views

Lower social class in traditional and modern societies

Popov M.Y., Kapishin A.E.


The authors make a distinction between such concepts as ‘lower social class’ (‘lumpen-proletariat’), ‘criminal community’ and ‘cultural underground’, and identify significant differences between the lower social strata in traditional and modern societies. The single ‘lower social world’ of traditional societies had its own cults, culture and organization and was an opposite of the ‘upper social world’. The religious definition of its ritual impurity was the basis for discrimination and segregation of its members and social groups. In modern societies, the lower class disintegrates and cannot be considered a single social anti-system: its ‘fragments’ - the prison part of the criminal community, counter-cultural underground and forbidden sects - are not connected with each other; the upper privileged part of criminal communities (a system of patronages with horizontal and vertical social ties) became a part of the modern society elite. At the same time, the system of patron-client relations that invisibly permeates modern societies necessarily implies corruption, at least the ‘soft corruption’. The authors consider such a phenomenon as an ‘underground’ in modern societies defining it as countercultural groups consisting mainly of well-educated representatives of the middle-class. The article also describes the underground of the Soviet society before and after perestroika which cannot be defined as a lower class of the contemporary Russian society. In conclusion, the authors suggest that in the Russian culture there is a kind of refined image of the ‘social bottom’ that influenced scientific ideas about it and is based on the social representations of the lower social class in the traditional society.

RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2019;19(1):94-107
pages 94-107 views

Perspectives of the Russian information society: Digital divide levels

Dobrinskaya D.E., Martynenko T.S.


The article considers features and trends of the information society development in Russia through the analysis of various aspects of its digitalization including the strategic task of reducing the digital divide. Since the second half of the 20th century the digital divide develops as a new form of social inequality determined by information-communication technologies. Today there is no single approach to the conceptualization of the digital divide (digital inequality). Usually, as a methodological basis for the analysis of digital inequality, researchers use a three-level model of the digital divide: (1) the difference in access to new information technologies (availability or lack of material resources) such as special devices (smartphones, computers, etc.) and also availability of Internet access and its quality (speed, price, etc.); (2) the difference in skills necessary for the effective use of information technologies (ability to get access to content, to produce it, to be an active participant of interaction)’ (3) life chances and opportunities determined by information technologies, which are most difficult to measure due to digitization of certain spheres of society. Digitalization is a priority for the strategic development of the Russian society which includes the use of digital technologies in main spheres of social life (education, healthcare, etc.) and changes in the ways of interaction between society and the state (“e-government”). Based on the data of statistics and research for 2015-2017, the authors consider perspectives to overcome the digital divide under the development of information society in Russia and identify main risks and negative consequences of attempts to accelerate its digitalization.

RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2019;19(1):108-120
pages 108-120 views

Social bots in political communication

Vasilkova V.V., Legostaeva N.I.


In political communication, social bots are a new phenomenon of using automated algorithms that imitate behavior of real political agents in online social networks. The article presents a review of foreign and Russian approaches to the study of social bots. The authors identify three main thematic fields in the study of social bots: 1) types of social bots, 2) the use of bots in election campaigns, and 3) methods to detect bots. The article considers different types of social bots and concludes that in the political communication social bots’ typologies are based mainly on characteristics of their use (goals, functions, ways), which is determined by the aims of political agents that control social bots. The authors identify six key areas of using bots in the political communication: soft information wars; propaganda of pro-government position; astroturfing as a technology to create artificial public opinion; changing public opinion by constructing agents of influence or false public opinion leaders; delegitimization of government systems, support of opposition forces and civil society actors; setting agenda and political debates. The authors summarize the results of the analysis of bots’ usage in election campaigns (in the USA, Great Britain, Venezuela, Japan and other countries) and identify three main communication strategies based on bot-campaigns: 1) attracting supporters, 2) constructing a positive politician’s image, and 3) discrediting a political opponent. The comparative analysis of bots’ detection mechanisms showed that researchers use the same automated algorithms based on static and behavior characteristics but in different combinations. As bot accounts get more sophisticated and complex, the mixed method approach combining programming and social science methods will be developing too.

RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2019;19(1):121-133
pages 121-133 views

Precarious employment: Methodology of measurement

Kuchenkova A.V.


The article considers approaches to the measurement of precarious employment for numerous studies suggest various ways to estimate its scale based on empirical data. To systematize various methodological solutions, the author identifies three approaches to the measurement of precarization: at the macro-, meso- and micro-level. Each approach is described and illustrated with examples from Russian and foreign scientific literature. The first approach (at the macro-level) studies the prevalence of specific indicators of precarization in dynamics or different social-demographic groups that can be considered precariat. The second approach (at the meso-level) compares different types of non-standard and standard employment in terms of the quality of jobs and working conditions to identify types of employment that can be considered precarious. The third approach (at the micro-level) focuses on the individual employment instability, its subjective perception, lack of employment security, and develops precarization indices. The comparison of indicators within such indices allows to identify common components of precarization: characteristics of wages, social and legal protection, and feeling of insecurity. The article emphasizes features of each approach for the measurement of precarization: the first takes into account not only the employed population but also other categories; the second compares groups representing different types of employment but does not take into account the internal heterogeneity of these groups and considers them as having a high or low level of precarization; this disadvantage is overcome in the third approach that measures precarization at the individual level and takes into account not only types and conditions of work but also voluntary/forced nature of employment.

RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2019;19(1):134-143
pages 134-143 views

Techniques for communication repair in the standardized telephone interview

Ipatova A.A., Rogozin D.M.


It is hardly possible to conduct a standardized interview in ideal conditions for it is a part of everyday interactions. Therefore, deviations from standardization, bias and mistakes in communication are the realities of public opinion polls. Key biases in information transfer are mainly determined by the characteristics of the respondent (age, sex, education, social status, etc.) and his behavior. However, the interviewer behavior is also important which explains the attention of methodological works to the interviewer effect, his actions and attitudes that lead to serious mistakes in measurement or recruiting. In verbal interaction, the interviewer can explain survey questions in his own way, comment or clarify responses. Standardization can also be violated by other circumstances such as interruptions in telephone network, intervention of third parties, technical problems (software malfunction), structure of the questionnaire and so on. Thus, there are three main sources of measurement error in the standardized interview: respondent, interviewer, and context. The qualified and experienced interviewer more successfully identify problems and find ways to solve them and repair communication. The article presents examples of such ways from the database of transcripts of three RDD ACATI surveys conducted by the Laboratory for Social Research Methodology of the Russian Presidential Academy for National Economy and Public Administration in 2017 to identify key types of successful interviewer decisions. They are considered in three dimensions: adequate responses, communication and standardization. Thus, successful interview is not just a completed questionnaire but also relevant answers, informed consent and positive emotional attitude.

RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2019;19(1):144-166
pages 144-166 views

Scientific life

Ten years of historical sociology in Prague: A new perspective branch of Czech sociology

Narbut N.P.


About ten years ago, a new theoretical branch appeared in Czech sociology - historical sociology. The first step and prerequisite for its development was publication of the impressive collective monograph Historical Sociology: Theory of Long-Term Development (edited by J. Šubrt) including works of famous Czech social scientists (P. Machonin, M. Petrusek, J. Musil, M. Hroch and others). The concept of historical sociology curriculum appeared in 2007, its form gradually developed in the discussions of J. Šubrt, J.P. Arnason (La Trobe University), M. Havelka (Charles University) and W. Spohn (University of Wroclaw). In 2008, its accreditation documents were prepared under the guidance of J. Šubrt, and it was included in the academic year 2009/2010 schedule. At the same time, at the Faculty of Humanities of the Charles University the Department of Historical Sociology was founded. Until now, there are Master’s and PhD programs in Historical Sociology in Czech in the form of regular daily and combined (distance) studies. In the academic year 2012/2013, a doctoral studies program was also opened, and both programs - Master’s and PhD’s - started in English. The article considers the decade-long development of historical sociology in the Czech Republic focusing on the research and study programs at the Faculty of Humanities of the Charles University. The author explains how historical sociology is defined and developing in the Czech Republic, emphasizing its research traditions and current interests. The article pays particular attention to the topics and representatives of historical sociology mentioning the importance of its publications - both monographs and the journal established in 2009. To conclude, the author summarizes the results of the current stage of the development of Czech historical sociology, its challenges and risks, hopes and perspectives. Ten years is usually a very short period for any science but for Czech historical sociology they became a period of significant results.
RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2019;19(1):167-174
pages 167-174 views

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