Vol 22, No 2 (2022)

Theory, Methodology and History of Sociological Research

Institutions: a promising topic insufficiently clarified

Šubrt J.


The basic question of sociology is what sets of rules and order are used in society and how they are maintained. One possible answer is based on the concept of institutions, which still provokes theoretical discussions due to, among other things, a certain ambiguity, since the term ‘institution’ is, figuratively speaking, shrouded in a kind of fog that prevents it from being captured in any direct, clear way. Today, ambitions of philosophy, political science, anthropology or mathematical game theory, which try to solve this problem outside the sociological framework, contribute to the deepening of the ambiguities surrounding the concept of institutions. Some approaches tend to define institutions as a cyber black box with inputs and outputs, whose working remains largely hidden (especially philosophical and mathematical approaches strive to find some common universal principle or even mathematical formula). From the perspective of general sociological theory, the article considers the topic of institutions. The author identifies this topic as a central issue that needs to be reconsidered in sociology. The starting point of the article is the analysis of concepts related to the topic, their definitions and paradigmatic integration. In the following part, the author considers the theoretical interpretations in the works of Peter Berger, Thomas Luckmann, John Searle, and the concepts inspired by game theories and rational behaviour theories. After that, ten basic issues of the current approaches are identified. The author pays particular attention to the fact that methodological individualism tends to dominate, which explains the ignorance of certain issues, especially of a holistic and macro-social nature, thus, leading to some problematic simplifications. The article shows what needs to be changed in the current social-scientific thinking on institutions in order to develop a more appropriate starting point for the further development of sociological theory.

RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2022;22(2):249-258
pages 249-258 views

The two-component model of behavior factors: The phenomenon of anticipatory engagement of a situationally dominant factor

Chernozub O.L., Tereshkin S.I.


One of the debatable issues in the theory of social action is the interaction of explicit and implicit factors in their influence on human behavior. The ‘parallel’ influence models oppose the ‘sequential’ models. The former argue that one factor determines another, and the last one influences behavior. The latter argue that factors are of an independent nature and affect behavior each in their own way. In practical terms, agreeing with one of these models means rejecting or accepting the idea of a conflict of factors and of behavior as a result of this conflict. In the previous article, we showed that the influence of ideologically biased statements on the explicit and implicit components of the attitude towards the object of these statements can be exactly the opposite. It is necessary to check whether this phenomenon is stable. If so, it will be necessary to recognize the independent nature of the factors of behavior. Such a check was carried out and (within the limits of the empirical data) confirmed the correctness of the ‘parallel’ models. This conclusion is all the more convincing because it was obtained by observing the dynamic reaction of the associations between the components of the attitude and the assumed factors of its formation. As the criticality of respondents increases, the nature of this relationship predictably changes. But it changes differently for the explicit and implicit component of the attitude. Moreover, we identified a phenomenon of the “anticipatory engagement of a situationally dominant factor”. If we are not mistaken in understanding its nature, the very foundations of theories of the ‘sequential’ influence are under a question.

RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2022;22(2):259-274
pages 259-274 views

Contemporary society: the urgent issues and prospects for development

Social representations of covid-19 in the unstable information environment (a mid-2021 study)

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


The relevance of studying the social consequences of the covid-19 is determined by the fact that this transforming event affected the most diverse aspects of life in the Russian society. The article presents the results of the survey conducted on the sample of the Moscow residents in mid-2021. The majority of respondents considered the coronavirus as a dangerous disease that should be taken seriously. The phenomenon of coronavirus, due to its complexity, poor knowledge and mass distribution, has acquired not only a biomedical, but also a political, economic and media dimension. The information field about the origin, sources and measures to combat this disease experienced changes over time and was often contradictory. A typological analysis showed that there are several groups with different social ideas about the origin, control measures and social consequences of the covid-19. A significant group - about a half of respondents - shared ideas that were alternative to the official and dominant interpretation of the coronavirus in the information field. The study revealed that the agreement on the dangers of the coronavirus was combined with the priority of personal choice of means to combat it. The majority of respondents (61 %) were against the introduction of mandatory vaccination: among the most popular motives were doubts about its effectiveness and fears of its side effects; the priority of individual choice and the rights of citizens rather than the state. A statistically significant relationship was found between attitudes towards mandatory vaccination and trust in government: a low level of agreement with mandatory vaccination obviously correlates with a low level of trust in leading social-political institutions. The authors show that the Russian media discourse on the need for mass vaccination was accompanied by a wide spread of ideas that rigidly differentiate Russian citizens, which cannot but cause concerns about the tasks of ensuring social stability and unity of the Russian society.

RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2022;22(2):275-290
pages 275-290 views

Regional youth in a nonlinear global-local society: New forms of social tension

Golenkova Z.T., Khagurov T.A.


The current state of society is characterized by the multidimensionality and non-linearity of social processes, mobility of social structures, dynamism and inconsistency of cultural transformations. Modernity is difficult to describe and understand; as a result, there are many attempts to conceptualize it with the categories of risk, consumption, McDonaldization, etc. An important feature of modernity is global locality which implies the complex interaction of global and local social-cultural systems in every regional and national society. One of the global trends of our time is the change in forms of social tension, which is determined by the processes in the sphere of culture, terminal and instrumental values, and motives for social activity. The article considers the relationship between these processes and changes in the system of life values of the Russian youth. The authors believe that these changes are caused by new forms of social tension, which are the result of the global-local cultural matrix. The classical forms of social tension, determined by the high social value of success and the lack of institutional means to achieve it, were described in the middle of the 20th century by R.K. Merton. Contemporary forms of social tension are supplemented and modified according to the changes in the value-motivation sphere. Tension is ‘psychologized’: under the cultural mosaic of the global-local society, the ‘discourse of self-realization’ prevails and replaces the ‘discourse of success’ of classical modern societies. These changes determine the specific content of the youth’s system of life values, and egocentricity and individualization become its key features. Students as the most globalized and reflective part of the youth are especially influenced by these cultural trends. These processes are considered on the basis of large empirical studies of the youth in the Krasnodar Region. The data of surveys of young people aged 14 to 30 in the Krasnodar Region (N = 7898) are compared with the data of the survey of university graduates (N = 2051) to clarify the life values of the regional youth and the factors affecting them.

RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2022;22(2):291-305
pages 291-305 views

Expert group formation for making the regional development decisions: disagreement or cohesion (on the example of national projects implementation)

Bogdanov V.S., Pochestnev A.A.


When implementing national projects, there is an issue of the expert group formation due to the need in new management mechanisms that meet the meritocratic demand of the Russian society for an effective state under the transition from the “control and supervision” paradigm to the “smart management” paradigm. National projects should not be left out of the wider public discussion and real participation of different target groups, which is determined by the tasks of the power-administrative vertical - to answer external and internal challenges in the implementation of 12 national projects. The result of the established expert group formation is the structure of decision-making groups. To identify the effect of group formation, the authors introduce the parameter ‘cohesion’-‘disagreement’ in expert groups during the development and implementation of project solutions. The study aims at assessing the state of expert groups (decision-making), which reflect the level of the regional development, including social-cultural modernization. On the basis of the presented theoretical-methodological foundations, the authors developed a methodology for identifying socio-mental groups that are formed in the decision-making groups and work on the implementation of national projects. This methodology consists of the scales of experts’ access to the regional management (index “activity vs passivity”) and the scales of solidarity of experts with the position of power, political and managerial activities of all levels of the power-administrative vertical (index “support vs disagreement”). The structures of the expert groups were correlated with the integral indices of the regional development as presented in the social-economic and political-administrative rankings. Thus, on the basis of statistical procedures and identified expert groups, the authors assessed the ‘disagreement’ and ‘cohesion’ of expert decision-making in achieving national goals.

RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2022;22(2):306-323
pages 306-323 views

Analysis of the use of personnel reserves in the public administration system

Maslennikova E.V., Sheburakov I.B., Tatarinova L.N.


The article considers approaches to the formation and use of personnel reserves in public administration and options for their development under the new social challenges. Based on a generalization of approaches to the formation of personnel reserves, the authors conduct a comparative analysis of management practices and sociological research, and identify conditions and factors influencing the effectiveness of the use of personnel reserves. The existing approaches to the formation and management of personnel reserves (normative, deficit, competence-based) do not allow an adequate response to the new challenges of the changing social environment, which explains the request for a new integrative model and principles of work with personnel reserves. The authors’ conclusions are based on the results of the sociological study focused on the perception of personnel reserves and their purposes by the subjects of management: the meaning and factors of the efficiency of personnel reserves among other personnel technologies. The study was conducted in the second quarter of 2020, and 56 civil servants were interviewed - heads of structural divisions and employees of personnel services. The authors identified a shift in the perception of the reserve - from the ‘bench’ to the ‘development resource’, but the staff turnover typical for federal bodies has a negative impact. The lack of interconnections between different types of personnel reserves was named by the respondents as one of key challenges. The 2020-2021 studies focused on reservists’ assessments of their career prospects. The article explains the need for a unified system of managerial personnel reserves, which can increase the efficiency of personnel decisions in the public administration system. In this system, the key elements are the level of managerial readiness and the integrity of personal-professional development. Within the proposed approach, the personnel reserve is an ecosystem based on the capabilities of platform solutions, developed on a common methodological basis and having a network topology.

RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2022;22(2):324-336
pages 324-336 views

Prospects for the promotion of Russian universities in the international academic ranking ARWU

Ebzeeva Y.N., Gishkaeva L.N.


The article considers the methodology for assessing higher education institutions and prospects for their promotion in the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU). The authors explain the focus of their research by the latest trends in the development of higher education in Russia and in the world; thus, universities positions in international ranking systems become an extremely important parameter for their evaluation. International ranking systems allow to evaluate the whole analytical information according to the criteria in one source, and to assess the competitiveness of the data in comparison with other evaluated organizations in the field. Often a potential student faces difficulty in collecting and evaluating information about the university he is interested in, because it hides its weaknesses, does not provide all information in the open form, or publishes information in various sources that are not easy to find for a person outside the academic community. The article aims at identifying and systematizing the features of the methodology for assessment universities in the ARWU, and at assessing its applicability for the subjects of the Russian higher education. The authors used content analysis and comparative analysis to examine the specifics of the ARWU assessing system according to the criteria provided by experts, and to consider the criticism of this ranking system. The authors identified and analyzed both positive and negative trends in the development of the ARWU methodology; examined the subject rankings of the ARWU system and compared their methodology. The article presents the results of the ARWU for 2021 focusing on the Russian universities, their prospects and difficulties.

RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2022;22(2):337-351
pages 337-351 views

Job satisfaction of arbitration managers

Polutin S.V., Motkin R.V., Motkin V.N.


The relevance of the study is determined by the expansion of theoretical findings in the field of sociology of work, in particular, in the study of job satisfaction of arbitration managers under the State Duma’s consideration of the draft law No. 1172553-7 “On Amendments to the Federal Law ‘On Insolvency (Bankruptcy)’ and Certain Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation”. To assess the level of job satisfaction of arbitration managers, the authors conducted an analysis of the features of their professional activities with an expert survey - to reveal their opinions on the state of the institution of insolvency (bankruptcy), its upcoming reform, and the level of their job satisfaction. Unlike most studies in this field, in which the emphasis is made on the social-legal status of arbitration managers, the authors consider the main social-psychological criteria for their job satisfaction, including remuneration, additional benefits and working conditions in the field of insolvency. The information base of the study includes a secondary analysis of the statistics of insolvency procedures in 2016-2020 and an expert survey (25 active arbitration managers with more than three years of experience were interviewed). The authors conclude that arbitration managers have a low level of job satisfaction, which is explained, first of all, by the extremely high workload and responsibility (including the risk of disqualification for three years for committing formal offenses that do not pose a danger to public relations and do not lead to violations of the rights of creditors, the debtor and society), conflict of procedures, lack of sociallabor guarantees, the variability of legislation, and several ‘control centers’ with opposing interests. These factors reduce interest in the profession of arbitration manager, which may lead to a crisis in the insolvency industry due to a shortage of highly qualified specialists.

RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2022;22(2):352-361
pages 352-361 views

Age as an element of the social portrait of the juvenile participant in the criminal process

Zainullin R.I., Makarenko I.A.


Social-demographic characteristics of the individual and social groups are studied by many natural, social sciences and humanities. One of the most important characteristics is age which reflects the degree of physiological, psychological and social maturity; therefore, it is considered by sociological and legal sciences which rely on its statistical estimates in sociological, criminological and forensic research. Age characteristics are important for legislative and law enforcement activities, in the prevention of social deviations. Age characteristics, for example, of persons who broke the law, are used in the social portrait of crime, which reflects the social-group stratification and emphasizes the most significant features of the social group consisting of persons with deviant consciousness and behavior, i.e. allows to classify criminals. The study of juvenile delinquency helps to identify the features, conditions and trends of such crimes, i.e., to assess the reproduction of crime due to its youth part. Such studies have a pronounced victimological orientation and describe not only the personality type of the juvenile criminal, but also the personality type of the victim of a criminal assault, which has not only cognitive, but also practical significance - for developing measures for combating and preventing crimes. The article focuses on the age characteristics of juveniles participating in the criminal process in the status of accused, victims and witnesses. The authors emphasize that the investigation of such crimes faces difficulties due to the age characteristics of this social-demographic group; therefore, the knowledge of the typology of juveniles (their agerelated psycho-physiological and socio-moral characteristics) is the key to establishing contact with them and, accordingly, to choosing the best methods for obtaining the most complete and truthful information. This conclusion is confirmed not only by the publications of other authors, but also by the data of criminal cases and sociological surveys of investigators, experts, judges and juveniles participating in the investigation of crimes.

RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2022;22(2):362-373
pages 362-373 views

Ways to solve the main problems of social protection of the low-income youth (on the example of the Penza Region)

Kosharnaya G.B., Karimova L.F.


The article considers the reasons for the social inequality of the poor youth and for the quality and standard of living of the low-income youth on the example of the Penza Region. The authors emphasize that the instability of the contemporary society especially affects the financial situation of young families - under uncertainty, it is difficult for them to maintain a decent lifestyle. The article aims at identifying the main problems in the system of social protection of the low-income youth at the regional level. The article is based on the results of the monitoring conducted in 2014, 2016, 2018 and 2020 to identify the main problems in the field of social protection of the low-income youth in the Penza Region. The authors used quantitative (mass survey) and qualitative (focus groups, expert interviews) methods and the data of the Federal State Statistics Service for the Penza Region. It turned out that the majority of low-income young people adhere to a passive strategy in terms of improving their income level and show dependent attitudes towards the state. The main problems of social protection of the youth in the Penza Region are a poor system for accepting documents to confirm the status of ‘low-income’ and providing social benefits to young people; the limited social-support programs for improving the quality of life of the younger generation; unjustified expectations of the youth from the current system of social protection. The revealed difficult financial situation of the youth in the region explains the need for a further study of the social protection system for the low-income youth in the Penza Region, in particular, of unequal access to socially oriented programs. The results of the study can be used for developing regional and municipal programs for the social protection of the low-income youth.

RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2022;22(2):374-386
pages 374-386 views

Sociological lectures

Non-verbal signs of personality: Communicative meanings of facial expressions

Sharkov F.I., Silkin V.V., Kireeva O.F.


Abstact. There is a lot of evidence that most people are capable of recognizing emotions by facial expressions. What information does a facial expression usually provide? Can emotions be shown without facial expressions? Can there be facial expressions without a corresponding emotional state? Are there individual facial expressions? The studies of various aspects of non-verbal communication show both similarities and differences in non-verbal behavior. It is argued that similarities are most evident at the individual level, when the focus is on the objective, formal features of behavior, while differences are more likely to be found when the analysis focuses on the relationship between individuals and interpersonal meanings of behavior. Despite the rapid expansion of research on non-verbal communication, most of it describes simple differences in the display of non-verbal signals. Although they differ in almost every other respect, most facial measurement methods focus on what is seen, on what the researcher can identify when seeing some facial movements. Most of the research methods applied are not sufficient for the study of this complex, multidimensional issue. Like all basic studies of communicative processes, proxemics is more about how than why, and more about structure than content. The article focuses on the question whether non-verbal behavior reflects cultural similarities or differences, and whether different levels of analysis allow to observe both cultural homogeneity and diversity inherent in most acts of non-verbal behavior. The authors consider the data of laboratory experiments on the relationship between emotions and adults’ facial expressions: some studies confirm the high consistency between fun and smiling, and from the low to moderate consistency between other positive emotions and smiling. The available evidence on surprise and disgust suggests that these emotions are accompanied by their ‘traditional’ facial expressions or even some components of such expressions only in a minority of cases. The American anthropologist, one of the founders of kinesics, Birdwhistell introduced this term for the complex study of facial expressions, poses, gait, and visible movements of arms and body. Birdwhistell argues that body language is determined by cultural environment rather than universal genetic programs. Birdwhistell defines kinesics as “the study of body-motion as related to the nonverbal aspects of interpersonal communication”. He argues that communication with body motion is systemic, socially learned and communicative unless proven otherwise. The article considers in detail the works and theories of Birdwhistell who often had to admit that some of his ideas were controversial. The authors conclude that Birdwhistell’s works have serious mistakes, and other researchers failed to develop his theory of kinesics. Thus, the authors consider the research in this field focusing on the so-called recognition of the communicative meanings of facial expressions.

RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2022;22(2):387-403
pages 387-403 views

Typology of civilizations in the diachronic dimension: Basic models and perspectives of Russia

Ivanov A.V., Popkov Y.V.


Under the current civilizational crisis, we need a promising model of the civilizational world order and we have to focus on its features and advantages compared to the historically preceding types of civilizations. The authors solve two main tasks: first, they explain the identification of the main types of civilizational development in the diachronic dimension and in search of a civilizational project that meets best the contemporary needs and realities; second, they examine the spiritual-ecological development strategy as a basic model of the civilizational future. Based on the civilizational approach in its diachronic dimension, the authors identify the historical types of the global world order. Unlike the common typology - traditional/preindustrial, industrial/ technogenic and post-industrial/information civilizations, the authors distinguish traditional/ biocentric, technogenic-consumer/technocentric and spiritual-ecological/noospheric civilizations, and focus on the description of the last one. The spiritual-ecological type of civilization is not presented as a purely ideal project, because it has already been partially implemented in different periods and in different cultures. Today, its implementation at a qualitatively new level can help to overcome the contradictions of the current crisis in the global development. Russia has certain prerequisites for the development of such a promising model - rich natural resources, historically established spiritual values, and opportunities for a new Eurasian integration. The sociological analysis of the youth value priorities indicates the attractiveness of the new civilization and the partial readiness of the youth to become real actors of the civilizational transformation. Thus, the authors conclude that the current period can become transitional - from the technogenic-consumer to the spiritual-ecological type of the global world order.

RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2022;22(2):404-415
pages 404-415 views


On the connection between social and epistemological aspects of the civilizational approach

Kirabaev N.S., Gnatik E.N., Zhubrin I.A.


The article is a review of the monograph of the professors of the Department of Ontology and Theory of Cognition of the RUDN University V.M. Naidysh and O.V. Naidysh Civilization and Rationality. Essays on the Philosophy of Mythology (Moscow: Rusains, 2020. 286 p.) which explores social-philosophical and epistemological aspects of the civilizational approach. The issues of rationality and civilization are connected by the theory of consciousness presented as a form of reflection of reality by the active subject included in the networks of (direct and indirect) communication systems, as an integrator of cognitive activity, sensory-emotional experience of the world and volitional intentionality of the subject. The review focuses on two civilizational paradigms - civilization as an ethnosociocultural community and civilization as an institutionalized society that developed during the ‘Neolithic revolution’. The monograph analyzes a wide range of issues: theoretical-methodological prerequisites of models of the historical process, origins of the civilizational model of history, concepts of civilization in the 19th - early 21st century, the structure of the foundations of civilization, the role of rationalism and myth-making in the life of civilization, processes of rationalization and derationalization of culture, the genesis of thinking, the nature of the archetypes of culture, the formation of rationalism in the cultures of the Ancient East, concepts of barbarism and neo-barbarism, etc. The monograph also examines the debatable issue of possible prospects of civilization: among the models of post-civilization, transhumanism seems to be the most popular (the program of the artificial transformation of the natural-biological foundations of man). The authors call for a balanced and critical perception of transhumanism, because its most radical, extreme versions are a contemporary form of ‘social alchemy’.

RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2022;22(2):416-425
pages 416-425 views

Unfair justice, or how social activism destroys the ideas of equality and ‘good society’

Trotsuk I.V.


The article is a review of the book by Douglas Murray The Madness of Crowds (translated from English by N.A. Lomteva; Moscow: RIPOL classic, 2021. 480 p.). Although this does not follow from the title (as in the book by H. Pluckrose and J. Lindsay on the same topic and with the same estimates Cynical Theories. How Activist Scholarship Made Everything about Race, Genders, and Identity - and Why This Harms Everybody ), the book focuses on the idea of social justice or rather its transformations due to the blurring boundaries between academic research and social activism, private and public life, past and present (in their media representations). On the example of several macro-cases, typical and obvious for the Western society, but well known to the Russian reader through the media-discourse rhetoric, the author identifies the consequences for the ‘objective’ state of social justice of such radical changes in its interpretations as the transition from idealistic-philosophical (social level) to punitive-politicized (the level of groups and communities, including personal responsibility) definitions.

RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2022;22(2):426-438
pages 426-438 views

Peripherization of the old-developed Russian regions

Nikulin A.M.


The article is a review of the book Old-Developed Regions in the Sociogeographic Space of Russia: History and Contemporaneity prepared by a team of authors under the scientific editorship of T.G. Nefedova and A.V. Starikov (Moscow: Association of Scientific Publications KMK, 2021. 379 p.). The book is the result of the long-term research project “Development of the old-developed areas under the social-economic polarization and shrinkage of the developed space in European Russia” supported by the Russian Science Foundation in 2019-2021. The authors of the book note that it is time to abandon unrealistic declarations about the further development of all regions of the country, and to start rethinking the significance of the old-developed Russian regions and the possibilities of their re-development on the basis of their accumulated cultural heritage and human capital. The research focuses on two macro-regions of the Russian Federation - Central Russia and the Urals. The study is multiscale and interdisciplinary, it combines a variety of quantitative and qualitative methods of social sciences. Despite the statement that there is a further polarization and shrinkage of the developed Russian spaces, the authors find many confirmations of the possibilities of self-organization and sustainable development in the old-developed regions for the benefit of the whole country.

RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2022;22(2):439-450
pages 439-450 views

The phenomenon of friendship in the social well-being study

Subbotina M.V.


The article is a review of the book by L. Denworth Friendship: The Evolution, Biology, and Extraordinary Power of Life’s Fundamental Bond (Moscow: CORPUS, 2022. 364 p.). The book presents an attempt to combine and analyze various approaches (from biological to sociological) to the study of friendship. Certainly, friendship is a complex phenomenon in the sociological perspective, which has not yet received proper scientific attention. Despite the fact that Denworth declares friendship the focus of the research, the book examines social relations in general and their impact on the personal well-being and health. In addition to friendship, Denworth considers issues of loneliness, bullying in schools, and the influence of social networks on relationships. Denworth pays special attention to the research of primatologists in order to find an answer to the question about the evolutionary origins of human friendship. The review identifies both the strengths of the book and those aspects that require a more thorough analysis. To contextualize the book, the review also examines sociological studies of friendship and works on similar issues.

RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2022;22(2):451-460
pages 451-460 views

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