Vol 19, No 2 (2019)

Sociology in Serbia

Three generations of friends - sociologists from Russia and Serbia

Šuvaković U.
RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2019;19(2):189-191
pages 189-191 views

80th anniversary of the journal Sociološki Pregled/Serbian Sociological Review

Trkulja J.


In 2018, the journal Sociološki Pregled/Sociological Review celebrated its 80th anniversary. The first Serbian sociological journal Društveni Život/ Social Life was published in Belgrade in 1920 and 1921, and then renewed in 1930 in Novi Sad. The editor-in-chief and publisher of this journal was Mirko Kosić, a professor at the Faculty of Law in Subotica. After establishing Society for Legal Philosophy and Sociology in 1935 and Society for Sociology and Social Sciences in 1938, a new sociological journal - Sociological Review , edited by a professor from the Faculty of Law in Belgrade, Đorđe Tasić - began to be published. Thematically it covered various sociological disciplines and other social sciences for sociology is a multidisciplinary science. The work of the Sociological Society and the journal was interrupted by the II World War, in which Đorđe Tasić was killed. Other members of the Society for Sociology and Social Sciences and associates of Sociološki Pregled were no longer interested in sociology and sociological topics. Sociološki Pregled was renewed in 1961 by the Serbian Sociological Society, first as a collection of papers and then as a journal in 1964. Since then, the journal has been an active participant of scientific and academic life in this region providing an overview of current trends in sociology in the world and in our country. The intellectual elite of Serbia has participated in its publishing both directly and indirectly, both its oldest and prominent members and the youngest ones. About 200 issues of Sociološki Pregled with more than 30,000 pages were published from 1938 to 2018 and present a valuable material for sociological life and an irreplaceable information manual on decades of contemporary history of Serbia and Yugoslavia. Such a role could not have been played by any other journal. Sociološki Pregled is a theoretical journal, a manual, an informative newsletter, a reminder, a witness, an informer - all at the same time. That is why it is necessary to consider the journal in both historical and contemporary perspectives.
RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2019;19(2):192-202
pages 192-202 views

Ethnic distance among the students of Serbia

Šuvaković U.


Аbstract. The paper presents the results of the research aimed at identifying changes in ethnic distance among the students of Serbia. The starting point of the study was the author’s belief that ethnic distance is a good indicator of inter-ethnic relations in multi-nation society and an indicator of conflict potential, and that ethnic distance is more stable provided social stability and open society. Ethnic distance was studied in the longitude project among Serbian students at the University in Kosovska Mitrovica five times in 2009-2016, twice - among the students in Belgrade (2010, 2014), and once among the Albanian students in Priština (December 2016 - January 2017) based on the modified Bogardus scale, a part of the questionnaire in the students’ native language and a number of surveys. The paper presents the results of the measurements of values constituting ethnic distance. The data reveal that the largest ethnic distance among Serbian students in Belgrade and in Kosovska Mitrovica was with the Albanians, while the smallest ethnic distance - with the Russians and Greeks. Among the Albanian students, the largest ethnic distance was with the Serbs, Romani and Russians, while the smallest -with the Americans and English. Certainly, the explanation should take into account the relations of these nations and official policies of their states including the self-proclamation of “Kosovo independence”, and also the positions of these nations in the period of the disintegration of Yugoslavia, wars in the former Yugoslav states and the NATO aggression on Serbia. At the same time, the ethnic distances are extremely large in the territory of Kosovo and Metohija, however, with a tendency of decline among the Serbs. During the research in 2016 - the beginning of 2017, the values of ethnic distance of the Serbian students from Kosovska Mitrovica to the Albanians and of the Albanian students from Priština to the Serbs were practically the same, especially the leading values of ethnic distance. When explaining the large ethnic distance with the Romani, it is necessary to remember about their social marginalization.

RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2019;19(2):203-211
pages 203-211 views

Language practices of the Romani community in Serbia: Inclusion or response to the stigma?

Petrović J.


The results of the research presented in the article are part of the findings of the study conducted in 2014 within the project Social and Cultural Potential of the Romani Ethnic Community in Serbia. The survey was based on the stratified sample of 1,212 respondents and conducted by a team of researchers representing four universities of Serbia. One of the aims of the research was to identify the prevailing language practices of the Romani community in Serbia. The paper presents the results of the study of the attitudes of the Romani to the use of language and their language practices focusing on such issues as the assessment of the importance of the Romani language in expressing their identity, the use of the Romani language in everyday communication in various social contexts, and the estimates of the significance of this symbolic capital in education as expressed in the parents ideas and attempts to ensure that their children are educated in their mother tongue. The results of the survey proved that the Romani community’s attitudes to language and language practice are an expression of the general social position of this group, i.e. a minority ethnic group in the Serbian society. Therefore, its language practices are determined by the need to preserve the Romani community’s identity and by uneven distribution of social power between majority and minority communities. Thus, social power (or powerlessness) ensures legitimacy for the use of a specific language in certain social situations. Considering the Romani ethnic community, the use of the mother tongue is reduced to the domain of private communication with some of the Romani people renouncing the use of their native language and hiding their ethical identity. The study proves that linguistic mimicry serves as a way to avoid social stigmatization.

RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2019;19(2):212-221
pages 212-221 views

Euro-optimism or euroscepticism: Opinions of students from Serbia, Macedonia and Bulgaria

Miltojević V.


The paper presents the opinions of students from two countries (Serbia and Macedonia) that strive to join the European Union and from one member country (Bulgaria) about the changes that brings the EU membership. These countries consider joining the European Union as a way out of the transition crisis, while the oldest member countries keep on talking about the decline in trust and euroscepticism. The research aims at identifying whether the students support the EU membership, believe in this community and in that the EU membership would contribute to changes in certain areas of social life; i.e. at identifying whether the students are euro-optimists or eurosceptics. The survey was conducted on a representative sample of 2,208 respondents in three university centers (Serbia - Niš, Macedonia - Bitola, and Bulgaria - Veliko Tarnovo). The data show that, despite accepting the European integration in general, students do not trust in the European Union and do not expect any substantial changes, which makes them eurosceptics. However, there are differences between the three student samples. Thus, Macedonian students expect improvements in the economic development, employment, living standards and social security, but do not expect any significant changes in the quality of life, in reducing the gap between the rich and the poor and in preserving national identity and culture. Serbian students believe in the future economic growth and improving quality of the environment but think that all other areas of social life will remain unchanged. Bulgarian students say that the EU membership has not led to any changes and contributed to the higher unemployment rate and the larger gap between the rich and the poor.

RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2019;19(2):222-234
pages 222-234 views

Sociological aspects of the transformation of agrarian structure of Serbia in 1990-2018

Šljukić S., Šljukić M.


One of the constitutive elements of former socialist societies that suffered radical transformations in recent decades of ‘the transition’ is certainly the agrarian structure. The authors focus on the sociological aspects of the Serbian agrarian structure transformation from the breakdown of the socialist system to the present day. The first phase of changes (1990-2000) created an environment and prerequisites for the differentiation of peasantry that continues until the present day. The second phase (2001-2012) is characterized by the appearance of large agricultural enterprises that emerged primarily as a result of privatization. During the third phase (2013-) Serbia has been drawn into the global process of ‘land grabbing’. The authors argue that in agriculture, instead of the middle class consisting of farmers, the country got a very differentiated peasantry opposing the large enterprises; and this situation is typical for post-socialist states due to three interrelated reasons: the new social-economic order was not built on the ruins of socialism but rather from the ruins; different actors within the Serbian society pursued their particular interests in the process of changes and followed demagogical declarative instructions from external experts, especially from the West; new political elites did not strive to build ex-socialist states according to their own model but rather met the needs and carried out the plans of their governments and companies, i.e. the term ‘periferization’ should be used instead of the term ‘transition’. In the final part of the paper, the authors try to answer the question why the transitional expectations regarding agrarian structural transformation did not come true, and the institutional framework for the majority of farmers working on the medium-size lands was not created. The authors also try to predict the upcoming possible alterations within the agrarian structure of the Republic of Serbia.
RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2019;19(2):235-243
pages 235-243 views

Contemporary society: the urgent issues and prospects for development

Possibilities of solving social problems of African countries by means of public-private partnership

Pashkova E.V., Morozenskaya E.V., Tambo T.H., Kalinichenko L.N.


The article considers the possibilities of the public-private partnership (PPP) in solving social-economic problems of African countries. The authors analyze the features and perspectives of the PPP mechanism in Africa for solving urgent social problems primarily in the sphere of public services. PPP means state-business cooperation in the spheres that are important for the population’s living standards and has large potential for the social development. Some African counties has already recognized the high efficiency of PPP and use this method for solving such problems as lack of social infrastructure and social development, low quality of the public utilities and poverty. The authors argue that the main sphere of implementing the PPP projects in Africa is the sector of information and telecommunication (IT). The majority of PPP infrastructure projects are implemented in the power economy (especially in Morocco and Egypt). Today, the African governments expand the PPP projects to the power networks development and construction, and to the renewable energy sources exploitation. The article provides some recent examples of the PPP projects in different spheres such as the development of social infrastructure in Africa, including education, public health and maintenance of public order. Due to the global trend of the infrastructure services digitalization and extension of information accessibility, African states take steps for the creation of electronic information portals for the PPP-projects (for example, in Nigeria and Ghana - with the World Bank assistance). Moreover, there are all-regional programs introduced to support initiative projects with the electronic platforms.

RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2019;19(2):244-260
pages 244-260 views

Theory of “food regimes” as a model to explain the strategies of agrarian development (the ‘cases’ of Russia and Brazil)

Niederle P., Kurakin A.A., Nikulin A.M., Schneider S.


The ‘food regime’ approach was introduced as a historical method of “incorporated comparison” (P. McMichael). This comparison of the role of agriculture in the world-system made some scholars overemphasize an excessively unitary and coherent global food regime. The authors recognize this approach as a historical-comparative analytical tool to understand global trends, but argue that the Russian and Brazilian agrarian development question some ideas of the food regime approach. The contemporary positions of two countries in the global markets also prove the divergences in their positioning in the food regime genealogy. The paper focuses on the production and export of soy and wheat which do not represent the entire agrarian economy of Brazil and Russia but allow to compare two countries’ strategies of the international trade and in domestic markets. First, the authors briefly discuss the historical routes Russia and Brazil have taken in the agricultural development and global food markets; then they analyze the radical changes that followed the Russian perestroika and the Brazilian re-democratization in the late 1980s and led to the consolidation of neoliberal policies in the 1990s. After that the paper describes the turn of both countries to the ‘neo-developmental state’ that supported the export-oriented policies for the agribusiness but combined them with domestic food security and sovereignty policies. Finally, the authors conclude that despite differing trajectories both Russia and Brazil cannot be considered parts of the neoliberal food regime due to the fact that the contemporary period should be rather defined as a paradigmatic crisis and a co-existence of two or more food regimes.

RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2019;19(2):261-276
pages 261-276 views

Surveys, experiments, case studies

Media, institutions, and the Russians’ trust

Nazarov M.M., Ivanov V.N., Kublitskaya E.A.


Media is one of the most important social institutions that mediates the attitude of citizens to other institutions of society. Thus, one of the key features of the contemporary society is the trust of citizens in basic social institutions. The article considers the issue of public trust in the Russian media and focuses on the question to what extent the trust of Russian citizens in the mass media depends on the trust in other state and public institutions. The authors’ conclusions are based on the comparative empirical studies in the metropolitan region conducted in 2016-2018. The data show that people do not really trust in media: about a half of respondents do not trust this institution. This is a common trend for the post-Soviet period in general. The authors used binary logistic regression, and found out that distrust in media is significantly correlated with distrust in other institutions such as the president, State Duma, law enforcement agencies, political parties, church, banks and businesses. Moreover, according to the statistical model, the lack of trust in media is determined by social-economic problems, general dissatisfaction with political system, and negative attitudes to media content and its role in the society. When studying trust in media one should take into account the ongoing transformations of media landscape: today the most trusted media are Internet and television (practically the same level of trust). There is also a clear age differentiation: trust in media generally grows with age, although the situation is opposite considering trust in the Internet. The development of media technologies and online services and networks makes it increasingly difficult to assess the level of public trust in media and other institutions.

RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2019;19(2):277-288
pages 277-288 views

Paradoxes of the higher education modernization: Results of the 20-year monitoring in the Sverdlovsk Region

Vishnevsky Y.R., Narkhov D.Y.


The article considers modernization of the Russian higher education based on the data of the regional monitoring (1995-2016). The methodology of the research consists of the multidimensional approach (combination of systemic, institutional, resource and other approaches) and interpretations of modernization of the higher education as an integral part of modernization of the social-economic system of Russia. Modernization of the higher education is defined as a continuous process of transformational changes focused on improving the quality and competitiveness of all subsystems of the higher education. The article aims at explaining how modernization affects the resource potential of students, at showing to what extent students see its results and can use the opportunities provided by it. The authors focus on the question whether modernization is implemented for students, with or without students: how the quality of education changes due to modernization, how it affects the students’ satisfaction with the quality of education and professional training. The article reveals the paradoxes of modernization in terms of achieving its main goal - training of highly qualified professionals satisfying the needs of the economy in personnel; and points to the strengthening of material, technical and financial educational inequality of Russian regions and sectors of economy. The quality of the higher education is considered a way of social self-regulation. Its indicators include students’ satisfaction with different aspects of education important for the development of professional knowledge. The article presents the students’ estimates of the accessibility of the higher education in the Sverdlovsk Region by such basic indicators of modernization as academic mobility, informatization, relationship of education, science and production. Based on the results of the monitoring the authors prove the low impact of modernization changes on the students’ satisfaction with the quality of education and professional training.

RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2019;19(2):289-301
pages 289-301 views

Religious harmony and tolerance of the urban residents of Kazakhstan: Results of the sociological research

Shabdenova A.B., Alimbekova G.T.


Researchers believe that in recent decades in Kazakhstan the religious situation has changed, which was manifested in an increase of the number of believers who follow religious precepts and build their lifestyle according to them. Kazakhstan is a multi-ethnic country, where representatives of different ethnic and religious groups live. It is important to study the level of tolerance and religious harmony between different social groups. The article presents the results of the sociological study of tolerance and religious views in Almaty - the most populated city of Kazakhstan - based on the method of individual standardized interview. The results of the survey show the prevalence of tolerant relations for the majority of respondents said that they had not experienced any problems or insult based on their religious views. At the same time, the refusal to accept a person of another religion or other religious views as a member of one’s family is more typical for Moslems, namely of Kazakh and Uzbek ethnicity, and also for people with a low level of education and low incomes of the household. On the one hand, there is a clear desire for religious harmony; on the other hand, there are transformations of religious practices based not so much on the phenomenon of faith but on national traditionalism. The results of the survey prove that level of religious harmony is influenced to a certain extent by social-economic conditions.

RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2019;19(2):302-312
pages 302-312 views

Sociological lectures

Sociology of culture: Paths of scientific development (1968-2018)

Marshak A.L.


The article considers the long path of the development of sociology of culture as a special sociological theory within the system of Russian sociological knowledge. The author describes the fifty-year period of the empirical enrichment of sociology of culture; identifies main research issues within cultural and educational activities (clubs, museums, parks, groups of artistic and technical creativity in cities and villages); provides an overview of key achievements in the sociological study of theater, cinema and the media in the 1970-1980s. It was during this period that the basic directions of the sociological study of cultural life were formed and consolidated the efforts of sociologists: planning, forecasting and managing various types of cultural institutions; scientific planning of cultural development of the city, village, and region; forecasting the development of art and its different types; social indicators of the development and management of artistic culture; economy of culture - improvement of its material and technical base, pricing, efficiency; interaction of different types and forms of artistic culture, their relationship with art; analysis of the cultural life of different social-demographic groups; development of the theoretical-methodological foundations of sociology of culture, its self-determination as a special sociological theory. The author also considers such aspects of the spiritual life as musical culture and features of leisure activities and describes the multicultural state of the contemporary Russian society.

RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2019;19(2):313-321
pages 313-321 views

The trends of political communication under social modernization

Kiselev A.G., Kirichek P.N.


The article considers the trends of political communication under the social-cultural dynamics of post-industrial society; emphasizes the maximization of the political-communicative factor in accelerating social progress; assesses the role of political communicative systems in the causal complex of social transformations; describes the resources of political communication to solve the problems of organization and self-organization of public life; considers the constructive possibilities of political-communicative systems to optimize relations between the state and society on the democratic basis; identifies the role of political communication in the development of civil society. The authors describe two mega-elements in the political communication - mechanics (form) and socionics (content); provide an updated and expanded description of the object and subject of political communication in connection with its structural-functional arsenal (activity, semantic, normative and systemic); explain the optimal mode of information exchange between citizens through the channels of political communication - political discourse and its genres in the public sphere with an emphasis on television talk shows; assess the importance of the moral-ethical aspect for the political sector of public life; compare the same in essence and different in specifics ‘faces of power’ in connection with its functions. The article also identifies political-communicative conditions for the agreement (compromise) between the government and the people on socially significant issues; clarifies the ideological-technological features of the contemporary political communication; defines the “golden ratio” of communication in the political sphere - a managerial decision, and provides positive and negative examples of managerial decisions within the political-communicative transfer; emphasizes the need to construct a political-communicative process as a dialogue between the elite (government) and the masses (people).

RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2019;19(2):322-336
pages 322-336 views

Methodological approaches to the assessment of state control and inspection system by the citizens as its beneficiaries

Yuzhakov V.N., Dobrolyubova E.I., Spiridonov A.A.


The success of the reform of the state control and inspection system depends significantly on taking into account the estimates of all stakeholders, i.e. business, government, and citizens as beneficiaries of the state control and inspection activities; and such estimates should be considered at the stages of planning, monitoring, and evaluating the achieved results. The priority project ‘Reforming State Control and Inspection System in the Russian Federation’ considers citizens’ estimates only if presented by statistical indicators that reflect the nature, frequency, and scale of harm often measured by the control bodies themselves, i.e. such data are prone to distortion. The authors suggest to supplement this system by indicators allowing the citizens to assess the state control and inspection activities and reform. These indicators can be measured in representative surveys, which would allow to balance the existing system of monitoring the state control and inspection activities. The article presents both international and Russian approaches to the sociological study of the efficiency of the state control and inspection system. The authors identify methodological rules of such surveys, such as that all adult citizens should be questioned regardless of their experience of interaction with control bodies. The article also describes the types of public legally protected values and the types of risks that should be part of sociological questionnaires; and suggests some key indicators for the assessment of the state control activities by the citizens: the frequency of facing the need to protect public values (the lower the frequency, the higher the effectiveness); the general estimate of the public values safety (by groups of risks); and the results of citizens’ interaction with the control bodies to protect public values including damage compensation.

RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2019;19(2):337-351
pages 337-351 views

Scientific life

‘Small sociality’ in the world of large sociology: Reflections on the ideas of R. Collins (to the 30th anniversary of the City Sociological Workshop in the SPSU)

Deriugin P.P., Lebedintseva L.A.


The year 2019 marks the thirtieth anniversary of the Sociology Department of the Saint-Petersburg State University. During all this period, there was the City Sociological Workshop with the meetings held several times in the academic semester to discuss the most relevant controversial issues related to both theoretical sociology (especially new approaches) and the Russian society social life. The initial idea of the Workshop was to ensure communication between scientists and researchers, and the development of intellectual activity, exchange of ideas and solidarity of sociologists of Saint Petersburg. Then the scope of discussions widened and covered a broader Russian context and even international topics. Thus, speakers of the Workshop today are from different Russian cities and other countries. Despite the changed format, the Workshop kept its name - City Sociological Workshop - as a well-known and recognizable brand for the sociological community. Today, there are several forms of its activities: methodological workshops, presentations, meetings and schools. As a small organizational form the Workshop has many advantages described by R. Collins. In particular, the analysis of the ‘network maps’ of interpersonal relationship allowed Collins to argue that the creation of ‘small groups of direct contact’ ensures a social space in which new ideas are developed and accumulated, and intellectual rituals, ‘rivalry for the space of attention’ and other basic elements of the evolution of the scientific thought are formed [1]. Despite different difficulties of thirty years under the changing social and technological realities of the information society, the City Sociological Workshop proves its necessity and importance at the beginning of the third decade of the twenty-first century.

RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2019;19(2):352-363
pages 352-363 views


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