Vol 20, No 1 (2020)

Theory, Methodology and History of Sociological Research

The soviet version of modernity and its historical legacy: New theoretical approaches

Maslovskaya E.V., Maslovskiy M.V.


The article considers some approaches to the analysis of post-communist transformations in Russia and Central and Eastern Europe. In the studies of social-political changes in post-communist societies, there is a new turn towards the analysis of long-term historical processes and the cultural context of contemporary social transformations. The authors emphasize that the ‘new historicism’ in the studies of post-communist transformations follows the sociological theory of multiple modernities, although its importance is not always recognized by researchers. Its original version developed by Shmuel Eisenstadt in the 1990s was not free from certain limitations due to the concept of ‘cultural program’ that presupposes a high degree of path dependence; however, these limitations were overcome in the works of Johann Arnason and Peter Wagner. The studies of post-communist transformations are often based on the early versions of modernization theory which presupposed a smooth transition to the market economy and liberal democracy. However, this approach encountered difficulties under the reversal of economic and political liberalization. The multiple modernities theory overcomes the limitations of this approach, it is relevant for the analysis of transformation processes in contemporary Russia and other post-communist states. In the recent studies of the historical legacies of communism, they are not considered as a ‘cultural program’ determining the trajectory of social development. The article describes some contemporary conservative ideologies in Russia as an example of the Soviet historical legacy’s influence, and argues that various ‘ideological ecosystems’ present their own interpretations of modernity.

RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2020;20(1):7-17
pages 7-17 views

Social media: The development of a new McDonaldized institution

Shchekoturov A.V.


The article examines the phenomenon of social media from the perspective of the McDonaldization theory. The author considers social media as inextricably linked with the consumer society systems to show that such media have become a new McDonaldized institution, the study of which provides new theoretical and methodological possibilities. The article provides an overview of the studies proving the increasing McDonaldizing effect on various social institutions of the Russian society, and considers social media in terms of factors of the McDonaldization theory. Two social networks - Facebook and VK - are described in G. Ritzer’s concepts of ‘nothing’ and ‘something’ as the McDonaldized institutions. The author identifies the theoretical-methodological significance of considering social media as McDonaldized institutions; shows that social media functionally correspond to all five factors of Ritzer’s McDonaldization; explains why the social network Facebook is a grobalized form of ‘nothing’ and, thus, a driving force of globalization, while the social network VK is a glocal form of ‘nothing’ and, thus, creates unique meanings at the border of local and global levels. One of such new meanings is that the VK reflects the traditional interpretation of gender identity, sexual orientation and marriage. The author concludes that social media are a McDonaldized institution that can become a new research optics, which presupposes the use of mixed methods research.

RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2020;20(1):18-29
pages 18-29 views

Contemporary society: the urgent issues and prospects for development

The quality of life of the older generation in Belarus

Kechyna E.A., Filinskaya L.V.


The demographic aging of population typical for many countries requires much more financial and material resources to meet the needs of the post-working-age population. For the Republic of Belarus, the problem of population aging is highly relevant for the share of the elderly grows annually. The article focuses on the social-demographic characteristics and quality of life of the older generation in Belarus. The article is based on the data of the National Statistical Committee of the Republic of Belarus and the results of the sociological research “Belarus: Family, Stability of Family Relations, and Birth Rate in the Changing Social-Economic Conditions” conducted within the international research program “Generation and Gender”. The authors present a sociological-statistical approach to the analysis of the key characteristics of the elderly’s life in contemporary Belarus, which combines the information resources of sociology and statistics. The authors consider the general statistical data on the population aging and the elderly’s features and the sociological indicators revealing the perception of life at the older age. The assessment of the older generation’s life is presented as a set of indicators of the quality of life, which includes both objective statistical data and estimates of the older people’s satisfaction with various aspects of their life. For the first time in Belarus the quality of life of the 60-69- and 70-79-year-old cohorts is studied not only through statistical data but also taking into account their own assessments of various aspects of their lives, which allows to identify the most relevant issues for the social programs aimed at meeting the needs of the older generation.

RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2020;20(1):30-49
pages 30-49 views

Moscow students: Changes in value orientations

Ilyinsky I.M., Lukov V.A.


The article considers the stable ideas of the significant part of the Moscow students when assessing personal qualities typical for the Russian youth. The study presented in the report of the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation in 2011 identified a high level of the youth’s criticism when assessing one’s generation and emphasizing its egoism and irresponsibility. In the surveys conducted in the Moscow University for Humanities in 2011-2019, a part of the same questionnaire was used to assess the qualities of the contemporary Russian youth, and the results were the same. In the ranking of such qualities in 2019, the first 10 positions were taken by laziness, selfishness, sociability, irresponsibility, aggressiveness, independence, indifference, optimism, naivety and cynicism, i.e. together with positive features there are qualities traditionally considered in the Russian society as unacceptable. The last 10 positions were taken by openness, kindness, pushfulness, initiative, greed, rationalism, responsibility, honesty, patriotism and conscientiousness. Thus, the highly appreciated by the society moral qualities are presented in the students’ estimates as not typical for the youth. The additional open questions clarifying the value orientations of students in terms of their estimates of such attitudes of people in the past, present and future showed that in older generations and one’s social circle the student youth appreciate the most the socially valued qualities and want their children in the future to have such. The ranking of such qualities starts with honesty, kindness, responsibility, purposefulness, openness, sociability, sincerity, responsiveness, punctuality and goodwill. The contradictions between the estimates of the youth qualities and the expected qualities of one’s social circle have been repeatedly confirmed at the empirical level. However, this is not a feature of the student youth but rather a result of the social anomie in the sphere of value orientations in the transition period. The authors believe that the transformation trend of students’ value orientations towards individualism is stable but not typical for the youth in general.

RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2020;20(1):50-63
pages 50-63 views

The NEET youth: European context and Russian realities

Bulanova M.B., Artamonova E.A.


The article attempts to identify features and provide a social portrait of the NEET youth in the European and Russian contexts. The developed European countries faced the NEET phenomenon in the late 20th - early 21st century: according to the Eurostat definition, this group includes young people aged 15-24, unemployed or economically inactive, who do not study and do not get vocational training - in 2017, the NEET youth made on average 14.7% of the working population. In Russia, the number of NEETs is at the average European level - 15%. According to the classification of the International Labor Organization (ILO), there are two groups of NEETs: NEET-unemployed and NEET-inactive. The authors consider as the determining factor of becoming a part of the NEET group one’s unwillingness to work and study, i.e. the criteria of being NEET is not working (rather than being unemployed) and not studying (rather than being economically inactive). Thus, it is the forms of ‘social dependency’ of the NEET youth that make the study of this group so difficult. The article examines objective and subjective reasons for the emergence of this group and social consequences of being in the NEET group, whose representatives try to benefit from the situation. The authors show that the assessment of the NEET youth as marginal, i.e. a transitional and unstable group, encourages European states to provide assistance to these young people to help them to get out of the situation of non-working and non-studying. The article provides some examples of such assistance in Italy, Great Britain, Poland, Spain, and the Netherlands.

RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2020;20(1):64-72
pages 64-72 views

Intellectual competitions for schoolchildren: Main tasks and social significance

Slizovskiy D.E., Ivanova M.G., Martynenko E.V.


Every historical period forms a special generation with its own values and norms. Children and youth become the main driving force in the development of the higher education, but this system in Russia is going through a difficult period due to the problems unresolved after the 1990s: the quality, accessibility and effectiveness of the higher education, inequalities in the access to education, etc. Therefore, intellectual competitions can be considered not only a positive manifestation of the social activity of schoolchildren, but also a means to support talented youth and ensure the interconnection of secondary and higher education systems. The article considers social aspects of the intellectual competitions for schoolchildren which aim at the development of social practices related to research activities and teaching at school. The authors focus on the research and practice-oriented interests of schoolchildren within the intellectual competitions in social studies: priorities, values and life strategies of schoolchildren when choosing the sphere of their interests. The authors analyzed the written projects of schoolchildren, presentations of these projects, responses to experts’ questions, reactions to questions not directly related to the topic of the presented project, further participation in the section, and some additional information. As a result, the authors made conclusions not only about the content of the priorities, values and life strategies of schoolchildren, but also about the procedure and conditions necessary for assessing the quality of work and the creative potential of participants of intellectual competitions.

RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2020;20(1):73-88
pages 73-88 views

The influence of criminal deviation on the demographic processes in the Republic of Bashkortostan

Egoryshev S.V.


The current demographic situation in most regions of Russia is characterized by a number of negative trends associated with population decline, aging, low birth rate, high mortality, redistribution of migration flows and outflow of population, mainly of its young and working-age part, to the most economically developed regions, cities and abroad. Numerous factors influence the state and trends of demographic processes; this influence is studied and taken into account when the strategies of the demographic and social-economic policies of the country as a whole and its regions are considered. The social-economic development and its specific components including demographic processes are also determined by social deviations of a delinquent and criminal nature. The destructive consequences of criminal deviation for demographic processes are not obvious or critical, but they are manifested both directly (human losses) and indirectly (material and financial costs, increased mortality from alcohol, drugs, suicides, social exclusion of people who are sick or isolated due to deviations). Criminal deviation as a type of destructive social deviations is manifested mainly in crime and in those deviations that are its cause and corpus delicti. Based on the analysis of statistical and sociological data on the Republic of Bashkortostan, the author considers negative consequences of criminal deviation for the demographic situation and insists on the need to find effective measures to reduce them to a socially acceptable level (a criterion of such measures effectiveness).

RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2020;20(1):89-101
pages 89-101 views

Local development initiatives in the Lake Ladoga Region: Reasons for success and approaches to funding

Nikula J., Kopoteva I.


The peripheral (rural) regions in most countries face four vicious circles that contribute to their low level of development and inability to achieve the sustainable level of development. The first vicious circle is related to demography and is caused by the vulnerable population; very few young people and imbalance of women and men lead to poor economy, i.e. dominance of subsistence economy over production or trade; unfavorable age structure combined with poor services lead to very low birth rate and high levels of migration. The second vicious circle of remoteness is related to the fact that poor infrastructure does not attract businesses or new residents in the area, which contributes to high levels of migration as young and working-age population, especially families with young children, move out. The third vicious circle is related to education: the low level of education and skills mean that there is no labor force available in the region, which prevents business from entering the local market. Lack of employment means high poverty risk, which again accelerates migration from the rural areas. All these processes undermine the possibilities for local development simply because there is not enough human or economic capital to sustain rural development. These negative trends are not only typical for rural areas of Russia but have a strong impact on peripheral areas of many other post-socialist and European countries. The governments in Russia and European Union introduced various programs and measures to promote local development so that to overcome the negative consequences of all the mentioned vicious circles. In the first part of the article, the authors evaluate some local development efforts funded by the Ladoga Initiative project, successful and failed projects aimed at overcoming the vicious circles. In the second part of the article, the authors describe grant and priority programs introduced in Russia to support local development.

RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2020;20(1):102-114
pages 102-114 views

Sociological aspects of alcoholism as a social deviation in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Milošević Šošo B.Č.


There has always been an interest in social-pathological problems in the society. Documents confirming our wish to find out the causes of ‘other’ types of behavior as opposed to the ‘usual’/accepted types date back to the Ancient and Middle Ages. The social significance of the study of social-pathological phenomena is evident for they allow to reveal dysfunctionalities in certain structural elements or failed socialization, which are most probably determined by destabilization of the social system and value priorities. Alcoholism as a form of deviant behavior is usually considered the most common and influential factor of destroying the physical and psychological health and of negative changes in human behavior. The article describes the level of alcoholism and the ways of perceiving it in Bosnia and Herzegovina based on the empirical data collected within the broader scientific study of the social changes in one part of Bosnia and Herzegovina - Republic of Srpska. The survey was conducted on the representative sample of 220 respondents (reflecting the social-demographic and social-economic characteristics of the general population) in 7 municipalities of the Republic of Srpska. The questionnaire consisted of both closed and partly open questions to reveal the opinions of the respondents on specific deviant forms of behavior and to find out whether the respondents are engaged in some of these deviant forms depending on their attitudes and knowledge about them.

RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2020;20(1):115-123
pages 115-123 views

Sociological aspects of assessing security at the organizational level (on the example of preschools)

Polyakov A.V., Unusyan U.V.


The article identifies interpretations of (social) security which can be used in the sociological analysis of its features, factors and methods for ensuring it at the theoretical and empirical level. In particular, the authors note the current shift of security interpretations from the state-centric to the social-centric approach, which significantly expanded the possibilities of operationalizing this concept and explains the sociological interest in security despite the remaining terminological confusion. Security turned out to be embedded in the already established conceptual field consisting of such terms as risks, dangers, challenges, threats, violence, etc. (‘objective’ phenomena) and anxieties, fears, concerns, etc. (formats of social understanding and ‘measurement’ of ‘objective’ phenomena in the opinion polls). To demonstrate the possibilities of sociology of security (although this is rather a conditional branch of sociology) at the organizational level, the authors present the results of the empirical study conducted as a case study (both the region and the object serve as a case) in the form of a survey: the issues of ensuring security of preschool organizations in the Odintsovo District of the Moscow Region were examined through the requests of different actors of the educational process (administrators, teachers and parents). According to the survey results, parents and employees of preschool organizations (managers and senior teachers) agree that a video surveillance system in the premises and on the territory is a certain security guarantee for it would prevent outsiders from entering (security threats are considered as coming from outside); however, both groups do not consider a system of turnstiles and passes as a necessary measure. The heads and teachers of preschool organizations are more concerned about countering terrorism (pressure from ‘above’) and fire safety (they see security threats as coming from both outside and ‘inside’). Thus, there is a disagreement of different actors on the sources and severity of security threats for preschool organizations.

RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2020;20(1):124-136
pages 124-136 views

Sociological lectures

Sociology of sports and the space of sports practices: Social genesis and sociological theories

Sharkov F.I., Silkin V.V.


In recent years, the importance of sports in Russia has increased dramatically, which is determined primarily by the country’s hosting international sport events, in particular, the Olympics and the FIFA World Cup 2018. The influence of sports on social processes has increased, sports began to strengthen its position in public opinion as a prestigious sphere of employment and an important social category [24. P. 60]. Thus, there is an obvious need to identify the relationship of physical culture with society as a whole and with all elements of the social structure and specific social institutions. The article examines the origins and prerequisites for the formation of sociology of sport as a relatively independent scientific discipline; presents the issues of sports sociology in the historical perspective - in the context of both their social genesis and contemporary sociological theories; considers the social role and social functions of sport education and sports. The authors believe that the differentiated social distribution of sports practices is determined by the interconnections of the space of possible practices (supply) and the space of demand for certain practices. In the article, the well-known foreign scientists are presented in the new perspective - as sociologists who provided for both Russian and foreign authors the incentive and direction for theoretical studies of sports issues. The article also presents to Russian readers the original studies on sociology of sports conducted by famous scientists - Norbert Elias, Eric Dunning, Anna Ingram, Georges Hébert, etc.

RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2020;20(1):137-144
pages 137-144 views

The principle of the executive power unity in the contemporary Russian federative model

Platonov V.M.


The article considers the unity of executive power in the federative model of contemporary Russia to show that a single system of executive power within the Russian political-legal culture presupposes a hierarchical relationship between executive authorities of different levels. Such specifics of the relationship between the federal executive bodies and executive bodies of the subjects of the Russian Federation contradicts the idea of a vertical division of powers. The Russian model of federal relations is based on the fact that if the interests of the federation and its subjects are intertwined the best decision is not to isolate or separate the levels of power but rather to help them to interact, to provide a joint solution to the challenges of the state and its constituent parts. The author studied the federal legal acts and the practice of the Constitutional Court, in which the principle of the unity of the executive power was reinforced and evaluated. The article is based on the culturological approach as a kind of the system-structural analysis of law and other elements of social reality. This approach allows to consider the specifics of the Russian federalism as a special model of public administration in dynamics, and the corresponding institutions in their constant interaction and development. The formal-legal method allowed to identify the legal content of the principle of the state power system unity as the ‘cornerstone’ of the Russian federative structure. As a result, the article presents the following cultural-historical model of the Russian federative relations: it allows for widespread decentralization in the political sphere (by providing a list of objects of joint jurisdiction of the federal center and the subjects of the Russian Federation, and also - by residual principle - the exclusive legislative competence of the subjects), while the federal center strengthens centralization mechanisms in the administrative sphere (through the distribution of powers within the joint jurisdiction), thus, ensuring political competition under the tough statist principles in public administration.

RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2020;20(1):145-160
pages 145-160 views


Future research of the future: From technocracy to new models of sociality

Koval E.A., Ushkin S.G.


The article is a review of the book by J. Urry Kak vyglyadit budushchee? [What is the Future?] (Trans. by A. Matvienko; ed. by S. Shchukina. Moscow: Delo; 2018. 320 pp.] which describes multiple discourses of the social future and methods for its research. Its author, the co-director of the Lancaster’s Institute for Social Futures, believes that futurologists focus on new technologies but the key element of crucial innovations is social phenomena. The book presents the following main aspects of the contemporary research of the future: the social future is multiple, and its various images are supported by different actors and compete; all stakeholders should take part in discussions of the future - states, markets, civil society institutions, individuals; as a rule, three methods are used to study the future - individualistic, structural and based on the theory of complex systems; the future needs not to be planned but rather coordinated. The book proves the necessity to study the future to correct the present by creating and transforming social norms, practices and value orientations.

RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2020;20(1):161-169
pages 161-169 views

The ‘duplex’ perspective as an attempt to resolve the key sociological dilemma

Šulc I.


This article is a review of the books by the famous Czech sociologist, head of the Historical Sociology Chair of the Faculty for Humanities at the Charles University (Prague), Jiří Šubrt Historical Processes, Social Changes, and Modernization in the Sociological Perspective (Moscow: RUDN; 2017. 248 p.), Antinomies, Dilemmas, and Discussions in the Contemporary Sociological Thought: Essays on Social Theory (Moscow: RUDN; 2018. 280 p.), and Individualism, Holism and the Central Dilemma of Sociological Theory (Bingley: Emerald Publishig; 2019. 184 p.). All three works focus on the key sociological dilemma - individualism versus holism, which has been the main scientific interest of J. Šubrt in recent years. The relevance of this dilemma is obvious: individualism declares the subjectivity of the person, while holism insists on the objectivity of the supra-individual social reality, and this contradiction hinders the development of theoretical knowledge. Therefore, it is necessary to try to resolve this contradiction, which Šubrt does by critically analyzing the previous attempts to resolve this dilemma and by considering it in the ‘duplex’ perspective that reflects both voluntarist and social principles.

RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2020;20(1):170-175
pages 170-175 views

Budget expenditures: less or more?

Zalevskaia T.D.


This article is a review of the book by V. Tanzi Pravitelstvo i rynki: menjajushchajasja rol gosudarstva [Government versus Markets: The Changing Economic Role of the State] (Moscow: Gaidar Institute Press, 2018. 584 p.). This is a book by a leading international expert on tax policy and its impact on the economic development, a former Head of the Office of Budget Affairs of the International Monetary Fund. Tanzi considers the economic role of the state in the 20-21 centuries in the historical and geographical context, and notes what the state should do or try to do in the economic sphere including in the near future. The review emphasizes that the book can be considered a kind of a guide on the analytical division of the market and the state, and also on the development of a strategy for overcoming budget crises of our time.

RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2020;20(1):176-182
pages 176-182 views

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