Vol 23, No 2 (2023)

Contemporary society: the urgent issues and prospects for development

Sovereign future of Russia: A demand for innovative governance of complex objective and subjective determinants

Kravchenko S.A.


The author critically analyzes the ‘old’ linear and contemporary theories of socialcultural dynamics focusing on the trends of complexity and non-linearity. The article presents the contours of the concept of the sovereign future of the country based on the analysis of emerging objective and subjective determinants of a complex type, which are mutually influenced. The author argues that the most significant determinants, which determine the basic trends of the movement to the future, are as follows: social dynamics of space and time - reflections of actors; hybridization of society and nature - new opportunities and limitations for action; digitalization - transformation of the dualism of man and technology into their duality; metamorphoses of labor; hybridization of education - reflections of teachers and learners; increasingly complex determinants of health and disease - therapeutic reflections; value-normative dispersion - responses to the humanitarian crisis. The author believes that the formation of the sovereign future for Russia implies the innovative governance of the duality of objective and subjective determinants. The quintessence of this type of governance is a non-linear humanistic system of a synergetic type, which is based on the historical and civilizational conditionality and the national values foundation. Such a system will facilitate the movement to the sovereign future of Russia and will contribute to the formation of a new social type - a harmoniously developed and socially responsible person - as necessary and relevant for this movement.

RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2023;23(2):231-243
pages 231-243 views

Value factor of the countries uneven development

Belov A.A., Danilov A.N., Rotman D.G.


The authors consider reasons for the countries uneven development, provide sociological foundations for the study of this phenomenon, examine countries’ sociodynamics, reconstruct a map of countries development in the contemporary global world, and explore the trajectory of Belarus. The authors argue that the vector of sociodynamics is not predetermined, it depends on internal factors, and culture plays a key programming role. Value choice is an important factor determining the pace and direction of the contemporary society evolution. The article is based on the available data of international projects - European Values Study (EVS) and World Values Study (WVS). The period covered by these studies is forty years - from 1981 to 2021, and in Belarus surveys have been conducted since 1990. Authors’ generalizations are based on the Inglehart-Welzel model, and they confirm the hypothesis that the dynamics of value orientations in the Belarusian society follows the trajectory of changes that took place in Western Europe and North America in previous decades. The authors argue that social-demographic groups of the Belarusian society can be placed at different stages of the values transformation, i.e., urban and more educated population of Belarus (mainly the younger and middle-aged groups) are close to contemporary Czech Republic and Slovakia and slightly differ from Austria and Germany in terms of the value orientations.

RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2023;23(2):244-255
pages 244-255 views

Students’ engagement in research at the university: A sociological analysis

Narbut N.P., Aleshkovski I.A., Gasparishvili A.T., Krukhmaleva O.V., Savina N.E.


One of the priorities of Russia’s scientific-educational policy is to increase the attractiveness of a career in science and higher education. The Russian government implements a number of federal programs aimed at involving the youth in research activities. Students’ research work is a traditional integral part of the educational process, an element of the generational continuity, of the formation and renewal of scientific schools, of tutoring and professional training. However, when students are involved in research, there are difficulties determined by the peculiarities of the organization of the higher education and by the students’ personal characteristics. The article considers the features of the participation of the Russian universities’ students in research, their scientific achievements and problems that limit or hinder their involvement in research activities, reduce their motivation and satisfaction with studies in general. The article is based on the survey of the Russian universities’ students, conducted by the Center for Education Development Strategy of the Moscow State University in November - December 2022 (N = 123977). The results of the survey show that, when studying at the university, students differ significantly in the quality and forms of training, realization of individual abilities and inclinations, level of motivation and requests for higher education. Therefore, the educational process should be organized in such a way as to comprehensively realize the students’ individual abilities, provide a flexible approach to educational trajectories and support the involvement of the majority of students in research activities.

RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2023;23(2):256-271
pages 256-271 views

Features of the Russian volunteer movement

Bagramyants N.L., Ivleva M.L.


The article considers features of the Russian volunteer movement based on the qualitative criteria, including historical retrospection, and the method of unstructured interview. The authors describe the key characteristics of three models of the Russian volunteering - pre-revolutionary, Soviet and contemporary - and conclude that volunteering in Russia has always been perceived by the public opinion as a kind of cooperative project uniting citizens. The article provides an overview of the legislative framework of the contemporary Russian volunteer movement and of its most popular areas which are mainly associated with ensuring human security. The authors identify and systematize the problems of the Russian volunteer movement and name among the most pressing ones the relationship of volunteer organizations with the state, which can lead to a spiral of silence in the Russian society and hinder the cognitive and emotional involvement of people in the volunteer movement. The article also mentions the influence of the special military operation on the civil activity of the Russian population. The preliminary research results show the emerging shift in the society’s attitude to volunteering, which is manifested in a certain loss of interest in supporting civil initiatives due to paying more attention to one’s family and close social circle. The authors argue that the specifics of the Russian volunteer movement is determined by its non-political nature ‘from below’ and focus on the goals of ensuring human security. Thus, not only the state influences the individual, which is typical for the Russian society and history, but also the individual through volunteering influences the state that cannot ignore the powerful social request for justice.

RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2023;23(2):272-283
pages 272-283 views

Era of covid-19: How the pandemic affected gender inequality and fertility (on the example of BRICS)

Mosakova E.A.


One of the most important tasks on the way to the global sustainable development in the 21st century is gender equality. The article considers one aspect of this task - achieving more complete gender equality in the labor market by providing women with additional opportunities to combine professional and family responsibilities. The covid-19 pandemic contributed to gender equality in the labor market and to the growth of birth rate. On the one hand, digitalization and remote forms of employment allow women to better combine family and professional activities. On the other hand, for employers, the gender of the employee is becoming less significant. However, the impact of the pandemic on gender equality depends on the structure of the economy. Thus, in countries with a higher share or a more developed tertiary sector, remote forms of employment develop faster, which contributes to gender equality in the labor market. On the example of the BRICS countries the author shows some dependencies between gender inequality in economy and education, female employment and birth rate. Thus, in the BRICS countries with expanded and narrowed reproduction, a higher level of gender equality in economy corresponds to a higher level of fertility and a higher mean age of women at the birth of the first child. All BRICS countries show the direct relationship between birth rate and female employment: a higher level of female employment corresponds to a higher level of birth rate, and vice versa.

RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2023;23(2):284-293
pages 284-293 views

Sociological lectures

Herzen contra Marx: In search for a diagonal

Shabaga A.V.


The first half of the 19th century was a period of dissidence and alternative social movements in Europe. The most famous and influential dissidents were A.I. Herzen and K. Marx. Both were supporters of socialism and founded movements that were destined to radically change the social life of the European East and West. They developed those social constructs of the future that are still in demand, since socialist and social-democratic ideas largely determine the contemporary political landscape. At first, both supported liberalism but later declared it unconstructive. Herzen criticized liberals for inventing the people rather than studying them and for demanding that everyone would become homo politicus to solve social problems. Marx became a preacher of dictatorship as the only way to build a just society in Europe, and often practiced authoritarianism which Herzen criticized. Herzen also criticized liberalism for its latent individualism and searched for a path to democratically reorganize the Russian society, which he considered mainly in the collectivist spirit. The author focuses on Herzen’s attempt to prove the possibility of bypassing the bourgeois formation of Marx by a ‘diagonal’ transition from pre-capitalism to socialism. Herzen considered capitalism a social failure, a ‘historical dislocation’ that developed in Western Europe but affected all peoples of the world. Herzen proposed an alternative construct with a certain potential for anticapitalist associations constantly emerging in various regions of the world - they try to create selfgoverning communities free from the shortcomings of bourgeois democracy.

RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2023;23(2):294-315
pages 294-315 views

Soviet man as a construct and a practice (from the history of interethnic relations in Akmolinsk)

Kirabaev N.S., Beisova J.S.


The article considers the concept of “a new historical community - the Soviet people” as a theoretical construction and a life practice. The authors analyze the terms “Soviet people”, “nation”, “nationality”, stressing that they have not received a universal definition; and distinguish ‘Western’ and ‘Eastern’ approaches to interpreting ‘nation’. In the Western tradition, the progressive approach prevails and defines nation as a phenomenon of the Modern and Postmodern eras; while the Eastern tradition adheres to a more polycentric approach, i.e., defines nation as an ethnic community based on the national culture, national character and national spirit. The authors emphasize the need to consider all the above-mentioned terms in a single system, i.e., the Soviet people were an international community with clear national differences. If the people are interpreted as a political project, we get ideologies; if the Soviet people are interpreted as a discursive formation, we get the idea of the civil or ethnic national identity as a cultural phenomenon based on the native language and moral values, which allows to talk about national culture or national soul as manifestations of ethnic solidarity. Examples from the history of the once powerful USSR show that the formation of the Soviet people as a nation was based on the single territory and common historical destiny. Thus, the authors consider as a life practice (on the example of the culture of the provincial city Akmolinsk in the Republic of Kazakhstan on the eve of the Great Patriotic War) the culture of the Soviet people united by the common historical destiny. The Soviet people as a historical community consisted of many ethnic communities, national cultures and confessions, which allows to define nation as a systemic phenomenon rather than as a political structure. Moreover, the Soviet people were united by common goals of a political and cultural nature, which, as the history of the Soviet Union showed, had both solidarity and conflict potential.

RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2023;23(2):316-328
pages 316-328 views

Contemporary trends in educational policy: UNESCO higher education roadmap

Ebzeeva Y.N., Smirnova Y.B.


Education is an important aspect in achieving the sustainable development goals as it affects all spheres of human life: economic, political, environmental, social, etc. Since the 19th century, scientists have warned the humanity about the devastating consequences of industrialization and urbanization and have made attempts of the natural-scientific enlightenment. Today we face many risks and challenges that threaten education the most, which made the authoritative international organizations formulate and adopt the so-called “Sustainable Development Goals”. The article outlines the key role of higher education in the transfer of knowledge, skills and values to achieve and promote the Sustainable Development Goal 4 “Quality Education for Sustainable Development” (SDG 4). Since sustainable development aims at creating a society competent in the principles of sustainability, SDG 4 should be achieved at all levels and in all spheres of social life based on the recent trends in rethinking educational policy. Today this policy aims at increasing economic, environmental, political and social knowledge, which should ultimately help people solve the problems of the contemporary society. The article considers the implementation of the SDG 4 and the current state and trends in the educational policy in the global perspective.

RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2023;23(2):329-337
pages 329-337 views

Rural human capital in the conceptual optics: Continuum and/or post-ism?

Trotsuk I.V.


In explanatory dictionaries, “post” is interpreted either as a prefix that has the same meaning as the word “after” (the most obvious and well-known examples from the social sphere are post-imperialist or post-colonial (world), post-Soviet (period), post-socialist (countries), etc.), or as the first part of compound words, denoting what exists/happens based on the second part of the word (post-impressionism, postmodernism, post-industrial, etc.) [see, e.g.: 4]. On aggregator websites of definitions from different dictionaries [see, e.g.: 13], “post” is interpreted mainly as a prefix denoting something that occurs after something, but in relation to philosophical trends of the end of the 20th century (postmodernism, postpositivism, poststructuralism, etc.), it is not only about “after”, but also about a kind of (not dialectical or negative) denial of immediate predecessors - as changing (or destroying) the accepted ideas about the hierarchy of attitudes and methods, which can be applied to human activities beyond philosophy (post-capitalism, postcommunism, post-Fordism, etc.) [see, e.g.: 15]. The lexical and research legitimacy of the prefix “post” has not been questioned for a long time, it is taken for granted in scientific and official discourses; however, the question is whether this “tool” of analytical conceptualization is universal or it has a distorting effect on research “optics” and “rhetoric” and, accordingly, a discriminatory effect on the corresponding objective realities, given the heterogeneity of most contemporary social-economic and other processes. In particular, whether we can use concepts with the prefix “post” to assess the state and prospects of the so-called “human capital”, considering its variability on the conditional but already traditional “rural-urban continuum”. The article presents an attempt to provide a preliminary assessment of the universality (or limitations) of the concepts with the prefix “post” in the study of the rural “cluster” of human capital.

RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2023;23(2):338-354
pages 338-354 views

The phenomenon of self-organization of the rural population: Principles and prospects of research

Vinogradsky V.G., Vinogradskaya O.Y.


The phenomenon defined as self-organization implements its cognitive-analytical function in many disciplines - physics and chemistry, cybernetics and computer science, economics and sociology, psychology and cultural studies. Russian and foreign researchers study forms and practices of self-organization of the rural population and, as a rule, consider them through the factors that affect the pace, forms and quality of social-economic transformations, material appearance and event dynamics of the non-urban living space. The most effective factors that affect the reconstruction of the social space of rural areas and, in general, optimization of the rural world are managerial, social-economic, innovative, demographic and urbanistic, climatic and environmental, and also factors of complementary and intermediate character. The authors systematize the main principles in the study of self-organization practices of the rural population, which are empirically manifested in their regional and subject-activity features (local nature, cultural and ethnographic traditions, changing composition of the local population, their work habits, indicators of professional skills and diligence). All the above historically develops into a kind of genius loci (“spirit of place”, “genius locus”) as densely packed in customs and determining mechanisms for the development of initiatives by subjects of self-organization, who aim at building such institutional mechanisms and practices that cannot but contribute to the transition to a new development trajectory, first of individual segments (households, farmer associations, etc.), and then of all basic elements of rural society, which are embodied in the everyday life of rural ‘localities’.

RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2023;23(2):355-367
pages 355-367 views

Reviews and Essays

System-forming mission of culture: Russian civilization at the turn of the era

Danilov A.N.


The article is a review of the book by M.K. Gorshkov, S.N. Komissarov and O.I. Karpukhin At the Turn of the Era: Social Dynamics of Russian Culture (Moscow: FCTAS RAS, 2022. 703 p.). The book is of great theoretical and social-political significance and outlines new horizons for the development of sociological science. The authors emphasize the strategic role of culture as the core of the Russian society and its importance for successful social modernization and economic growth. The book provides new concepts and theoretical-methodological approaches to the analysis of the social-cultural reality in post-reform Russia and defines the field of sociology of culture as the entire human world in its specific spatial-temporal coordinates, taken in dynamics that reveals the intercultural interaction between the past, present and future. Culture is presented in the book as an environment for the preservation and transmission of spiritual heritage, which contributes to the ‘immunity’ from the destabilizing information impact. The authors consider the issues of the social dynamics of the Russian culture in the late 20th - early 21st century on the data of many sociological surveys, conduct a social-cultural analysis of organizational, structural and qualitative changes in the cultural activities of the population and in the artistic-creative process, present a comprehensive picture of the social dynamics of the Russian culture at the turn of the era, including the state of the spiritual-value motivation, the social-cultural nature of transformations and their social-cultural consequences.

RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2023;23(2):368-377
pages 368-377 views

Migration atlas of the Russian Federation 2022

Manshin R.V., Pismennaya E.E.


The article is a review of the Migration Atlas of the Russian Federation prepared by a team of authors under the scientific editorship of S.V. Ryazantsev (Moscow: ITD “Perspektiva”, 2022. 180 p.). The atlas is a result of the three-year research project “The impact of immigration on the ethnic-demographic processes in the Russian Federation and approaches to improving the migration policy concerning the integration of immigrants into the Russian society”. The authors use the results of the migration and cartographic studies to present in an accessible visual form the migrations of the Russian population since the collapse of the USSR to the present. The authors focus on the directions, scale, social-demographic structure and ethnic features of the Russian migrations, including in the regional perspective. The atlas is both a source of information on some rarely studied aspects of migration and a successful presentation of the already known data in a systematic form. The atlas will be useful for different readers - civil servants, social workers, scholars, teachers and students, because the authors succeeded in presenting the migration data in an accessible and interesting form for both experienced researchers of migration and those who just start their studies in this field.

RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2023;23(2):378-383
pages 378-383 views

“Gaia hypothesis”, or “Science of curse”

Kovalenko A.G.


The article is a review of the book by A. Etkind, which is based on the data of sociology, history, economics, political science and statistics: the author describes the relationship between raw materials and humankind to suggest a way out of the dramatic collision ( The Nature of Evil. Raw Materials and the State . Moscow: New Literary Review, 2023. 504 p.). The second edition of the book confirms the relevance of its agenda in the contemporary situation. The chronological framework of the book covers the history from antiquity to the present day: the author shows how the key raw materials changed from timber and grain in the past to oil and gas in the present, and how such changes affected not only tastes and lifestyle but also political systems and economic vectors, which, in turn, had the opposite effect on the choice of raw materials. The author argues that the desire to possess raw materials and the intensity of their extraction and processing determined the geopolitical interests of the states, led to wars and, ultimately, to new state borders. The author introduces the concept “addictivity of raw materials” in the life of the individual and societies, which implies an unjustified dependence on a certain type of raw materials (sugar, tobacco, opium or oil), and this dependence led to global disproportions and changed the ‘natural’ historical process.

RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2023;23(2):384-388
pages 384-388 views

The role of silence in the production of social order in meditation (on the example of vipassana)

Spirkina A.K.


The article considers silence as the most important component of vipassana (meditation technique from early Buddhism) as it is taught in the tradition of S.N. Goenka. As a religious vow, silence is a condition for the successful meditation retreat. Although meditative silence does not seem to form sociality, vipassana courses are a collective practice. After the end of courses, the desire of people to meet and meditate together proves the need not in a ‘solitary’ silence but in a group that produces special collective silence. The author considers the silent co-presence of people in the meditation center ‘here-and-now’ as a special interactive situation, a social feature of the meditation practice, and shows how the subjective success of this interaction and its methods depend on the technical and spatial conditions of the meditative center. The empirical basis of the article is mainly the author’s participant observation (in the role of a new student). Based on the concepts of sociology of everyday life, the author describes the key mechanisms of the production of sociality in various situations of joint forced silence during the vipassana course - from collective meditation in the common room to the silent organization of joint activities in the meditation center. By partially reproducing the basic social conditions of the center at home - silence and the support of those around them - meditators manage to ensure the continuity of the practice and to successfully integrate it into their daily lives outside the meditation center.

RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2023;23(2):389-403
pages 389-403 views

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