Vol 17, No 3 (2017)

Theory, Methodology and History of Sociological Research


Scott J.


The article presents a fragment of the book by J. Scott devoted to Zomia - an expanse of 2.5 million square kilometers containing about one hundred million minority peoples of truly bewil-dering ethnic and linguistic variety; what makes it interesting is its ecological variety as well as its relation to states. Zomia is the largest remaining region of the world whose peoples until recently have not been fully incorporated into nation-states. Its days are numbered. Not so very long ago, however, such self-go-verning peoples were the great majority of humankind. Today, they are seen from the valley kingdoms as “our living ancestors,” “what we were like before we discovered wet-rice cultivation, Buddhism, and civiliza-tion.” On the contrary, hill peoples are best understood as runaway, fugitive, maroon communities who have, over the course of two millennia, been fleeing the oppressions of state-making projects in the val-leys - slavery, conscription, taxes, corvee labor, epidemics, and warfare. Virtually everything about these people’s livelihoods, social organization, ideologies, and (more controversially) even their largely oral cul-tures, can be read as strategic positionings designed to keep the state at arm’s length. Their physical disper-sion in rugged terrain, their mobility, their cropping practices, their kinship structure, their pliable ethnic identities, and their devotion to prophetic, millenarian leaders effectively serve to avoid incorporation into states and to prevent states from springing up among them. Most of the peoples dwelling in the massif seem to have assembled a comprehensive cultural portfolio of techniques for evading state incorporation while availing themselves of the economic and cultural opportunities its proximity presented. Their broad reper-toires of languages and ethnic affiliations, their capacity for prophetic reinvention, their short and/or oral genealogies, and their talent for fragmentation all form elements in their formidable travel kit.
RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2017;17(3):267-288
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Kumsa A.


Ethiopia was created by the Abyssinian King Menelik II in the late XIX century; he was the only African monarch to participate in the fight for Africa with the European states. He expanded his territory to the southern neighboring countries and colonized them. According to the historical facts, com-pared to other colonial conquests the Abyssinian colonization was the most brutal occupation in terms of number of people killed and sold in slavery. After the occupation, the land and the peoples of the new territory were divided among the Abyssinians. The new colonial landless subjects were forced to farm the land of the new landlords, to handover up to 75% of their agricultural products to the landlords. That is why the people struggled to regain their stolen land for decades. The slogan “Land to the tillers” of the stu-dent movement was secretly introduced by the Oromo President on the paper stamp of Haile Sellasie’s Parliament and the Oromo Chairman of the University Students Union Baro Tumsa. As D. Horowitz wrote about the 1974 Revolution “in Ethiopia, a major effect of a land reform was to take land from Amhara and distribute it to the Galla, and for a time the revolution is suspected of being a Galla plot” [19. P. 8]. The revolution was gradually highjacked from the colonized nations by the Abyssinian military elite. The revolution led to the land reform of 1975 that destroyed the colonial landlords; the military government nationalized the land but refused to redistribute it among the landless people. The state became the only landlord in the country, and the military government tried to destroy the Oromo national movement by reset-tling seven million Abyssinians on the Oromo territory and by moving the Oromo people to new villages to control them. The collective struggle of oppressed peoples overthrew the military government in 1991. The contemporary government formed and led by the Tigrean Liberation Front (TPLF) monopolized the military, political, ideological and economic power in the country. This group collaborates with a new ‘super-class’ of the world by selling the land of the colonized peoples. The author considers the land own-ership under three regimes of the Ethiopian government to answer the question “Why Ethiopia is one of the poorest countries in the world though it possesses large water resources, fertile land and hardworking people?”.
RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2017;17(3):299-305
pages 299-305 views


Puzanova Z.V., Tertyshnikova A.G.


The article focuses on the prospects of creating vignettes as a new method in empirical sociology. It is a good alternative to the conventional mass survey methods. The article consists of a few sections differing by the focus. The vignette method is not popular among Russian scientists, but has a big history abroad. A wide range of problems can be solved by this method (e.g. the prospects for guardianship and its evaluation, international students’ adaptation to the educational system, social justice studies, market-ing and business research, etc.). The vignette method can be used for studying different problems including sensitive questions (e.g. HIV, drugs, psychological trauma, etc.), because it is one of the projective techniques. Projective techniques allow to obtain more reliable information, because the respondent projects one situation on the another, but at the same time responds to his own stimulus. The article considers advantages and disadvantages of the method. The authors provide information about the limitations of the method. The article presents the key principles for designing and developing the vignettes method depending on the research type. The authors provide examples of their own vignettes tested in the course of their own empirical research. The authors highlight the advantages of the logical-combinatorial approaches (especially the JSM method with its dichotomy) for the analysis of data in quantitative research. Also they consider another method of the analysis of the data that implies the technique of “steeping”, i.e. when the respondent gets new information step by step, which extends his previous knowledge.
RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2017;17(3):306-316
pages 306-316 views

Surveys, experiments, case studies


Britvina I.B., Shumilova P.A.


The article presents the results of interviews with residents of Yekaterinburg (N = 485) and ethnic migrants from Central Asia (N = 231), which reveal the current forms of interaction between the host society and migrants from different countries, and the problem of mutual rejection that determines the growth of social conflicts. The authors identify key barriers hindering the mutual adaptation of the host society and migrants that are based on cultural differences and, thus, require a careful work with cultural identity as a determinant of interethnic interaction. However, the theoretical analysis proves the lack of a clear unambiguous interpretation of the ‘cultural identity’ concept that is necessary for the analysis of contem-porary social processes under the international migrations and intercultural communications. The article aims to prove the importance of both considering ‘cultural identity’ as a special analytical category and developing the common cultural identity in the process of mutual adaptation and integration of the Rus-sians and ethnic migrants. The authors use the constructivist approach and define ‘identity’ as a result of the identification process and a flexible element that can be changed according to the social situation. Thus, cultural patterns should become the basis of interethnic relations to ensure social well-being and stability, and cultural identity is to be the most important social construct to reduce social tensions de-termined by ethnic migrations. The development of a common social identity consists of several stages: first the common civil identity is to be formed, then the common cultural identity of the host society and ethnic migrants.

RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2017;17(3):317-326
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Pozdeev I.L.


Based on the data of sociological research the article examines the influence of ethnic stereo-types on the choice of intercultural interaction strategies. The example of the Udmurt ethnos proves the importance of behavioral stereotypes as a program of interpersonal relations and a reference point in interac-tion with representatives of one’s own and other ethnic groups. The author identifies autostereotypes that reflect the emotional perception of ethnic identity and allow predicting further ways of ethnic development. Ethnic stereotypes of the Udmurts were determined by the influence of their cultural environment and adaptation to the social reality. The majority of Udmurts positively perceive their ethnic identity and recog-nize the uniqueness of ethnic culture and the need for positive interaction with other peoples, which explains the author’s cautious optimism when considering the future of the Udmurts. Their historical interaction with the cultural environment had various consequences: on the one hand, it explains the negative self-esteem of the ethnos including self-doubt; and uncertainty often leads to isolation and fear to show one’s cultural identity, and striving for social mimicry. Thus, the author considers the low social status of the Udmurts and their weak adaptive abilities as one of the key factors in strengthening the assimilation. On the other hand, the Udmurts opposition to the cultural domination of other ethnic groups makes them take an active stance and to seek ways to preserve their ethnic identity. Thus, the Udmurts of the Republic of Tatarstan should be as active as the ethnic majority of the region (the Tatars) in the search for new strategies of intercultural interaction and adaption to the social reality. The field ethnographic data allow the author to supplement statistical data with new facts, and help the readers to ‘hear’ the voices of the people and to ‘see’ their emotional perception of social and cultural realities.

RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2017;17(3):327-337
pages 327-337 views


Narbut N.P., Trotsuk I.V.


The article presents the results of the comparative study of the neighboring countries’ images in the perception of the Russian student youth. In the first part of the article, the authors emphasize the importance of public opinion as one of the key social institutions in the contemporary society though it is often manipulated by state and political organizations to ensure the public support of ambiguous decisions. There are two basic mechanisms to form social representations including the images of different countries in public opinion: spontaneous and purposeful (when officials and media use special techniques to create an image of either a dangerous enemy or the best geopolitical friend). Today in Russia the former seems to dominate for except the key geopolitical powers other countries seem to attract the state attention rather sporadically, which is supported by general political indifference, wide dissemination of information tech-nologies, and freedom of travels all over the world, etc. The second part of the article focuses on the methodological consequences of thus developing images in the Russian public opinion. The authors explain the thematic structure and techniques of the questionnaire developed for the study of the images of China, Kazakhstan and Serbia in the Russian student youth’ worldview, which were applied in the sociological survey of 2010-2011 in the project supported by the Russian Foundation for Humanities, and then again in 2016 for the comparative analysis. The last part of the article presents the results of these surveys in the comparative perspective and focuses on a few indicators to reconstruct the persistent stereotypic elements of the neighboring countries’ images in the student youth worldview though there are some changes that are difficult to interpret.
RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2017;17(3):338-347
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Sokhadze K.G.


In recent years, both experts and public opinion tend to assess the involvement of the Rus-sian youth in social activities as rather low: the post-Soviet generations are called apolitical and indifferent to anything except personal well-being and interests. At the same time, the largest research centers (Public Opinion Foundation, Russian Public Opinion Research Center, Levada Center, and Institute of Sociology) conduct sociological studies of various aspects of social and civil activities, political participation and protest potential of younger generations and Russian society as a whole. The article presents some recent data that prove the low level of political and social activity of the Russian population. The author believes that this level is higher among the younger generations, especially the students. To prove that, first, the author considers the category ‘social activity’: its motives (primarily socially significant needs), subjective ‘measurement’ (personal needs and interests), goals (pragmatic and altruistic, collective and personal, etc.), forms (personal, collective, etc.) and external and internal factors. Secondly, to assess the motives and restraining factors of the youth social activity, the article presents some results of the surveys conducted in the RUDN University and of the Russian public opinion polls. The author identifies reasons for the youth’s lack of interest in public activities (lack of material benefits, desire/time/motivation, information, and nega-tive image of public associations), motives of social activity (social, selective, mobilization, etc.) and for be-coming a member of public associations (self-realization, the desire to change the world, combination of the two, etc.), and factors that determine the youth’s perception of social activity in general (estimates of so-cial situation, value orientations and social well-being).

RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2017;17(3):348-363
pages 348-363 views


Puzanova Z.V., Larina T.I., Sharma S.D.


The LGBT community and the attitude towards it became one of the dividing factors between Russia and Europe long ago. This factor quite often creates political precedents and becomes a basis for various provocations. In the Russian mass conscience the topic, which has long been considered tabooed, today has a sensitive character; therefore classic survey methods are hardly suitable for its study; on the other hand, various projective techniques have proved to be more useful. This article presents the data of a number of Russian sociological surveys on the attitudes towards LGBT representatives and of the RUDN University Sociology Chair scientific team research on this subject. The article also presents the results of a number of focus groups aimed at identifying attitudes towards LGBT representatives and based on the application of the vignette method, which is a special type of projective techniques. The high efficiency of vignette method for the study of such a sensitive subject was proved. The method allows overcoming of some barriers in respondents’ conscience determined by the ‘radical’ character of the issues under study, and also reduces the general social pressure upon respondents. The research with the application of vignette method resembled a kind of a narrative game, therefore adapting this method to the focus group research helps to obtain more detailed and interesting data due to the group dynamics.
RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2017;17(3):364-372
pages 364-372 views

Sociological lectures


Naumenko T.V.


The article considers one of the most urgent and topical issues for the contemporary socio-logy - how to study society and its constituent parts. There are many interdisciplinary and special studies of the issue; however, to understand the nature of society we are to apply methods of both general sociology and social philosophy for the latter enriches social science with a new perception of the object under study through the prism of its universal features. The author proposes to conduct social analysis with the methods of system and activity approaches as the principles explaining both different social processes and society as a whole. These methods also reveal the nature of society as based on the activities of people pursuing their goals. The article focuses on the specificity of social relations and their differences from natural phenomena, the value measurement of social facts and their subjective nature, freedom as a human ability to control external conditions in pursuing individual and collective goals. When considering the structure of human activity and its key components, the author identifies four types of collective activity according to the well-known spheres of social life, and revises the categorical apparatus of social analysis. The author explains why it is incorrect to consider the economic sphere as a separate structure for there are economic elements in all spheres of society; shows the mechanism of interaction of all types of collective activity and spheres of society, their interconnection and mutual influence; identifies some ways to study society with the system-activity approach; emphasizes the importance of revealing ontological and epistemological grounds at the very beginning of the social processes study to optimize its course and methodology.

RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2017;17(3):373-386
pages 373-386 views


Tyurina I.O., Neverov A.V., Ulyanychev M.A.


The development of science-intensive technologies is crucial for the social and economic stability of the nation. The current technological system calls for a unification of scientific and technological approaches in the innovation-driven development. The introduction of innovations is necessary for moderni-zation of the national economy and for making Russian companies more efficient. Without the constant development of science and education, there is a threat of social and cultural stagnation; while the world trend of changing and improving the production involves the emergence of new formats of economic interac-tion in which the science-intensive and convergent technologies play the key role. The science-intensive development requires the full-fledged institutional interaction, the joint activity of stakeholders, i.e. the devel-opment of special territories where economic, infrastructural and social-cultural conditions allow the intro-duction of new technologies. Technoparks represent one of the most popular formats of such territories. Today the Russian Federation has several technoparks. However, their work is not always satisfactory and needs optimization, especially for the greater efficiency of the science-intensive technologies. To identify the most effective ways of upgrading the Russian technoparks, the authors studied the experience of 12 most successful technoparks abroad, and make recommendations for improving the management system of tech-noparks and enhancing their scientific and innovative activities. The article describes the features of sci-ence-intensive technologies; the challenges the innovative organizations face; the role of technoparks in ensuring the growth of the innovative potential of the state; the formats and structure of technoparks as well as the recommendations for making them more effective in developing science-intensive technolo-gies. The article also presents the results of the studies of the Russian technoparks over the last ten years. The authors try to identify the main methods for optimization and modernization of technoparks to increase their role in the innovation-driven development of the state.
RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2017;17(3):387-398
pages 387-398 views


Anti-Semitism yesterday and Islamophobia today: A Central-European perspective

Černý K.


The author compares the mediaeval and early-modern discourses on anti-Semitism with the today discourse of Islamophobia focusing on the contextual framework of Central Europe in general and the Czech Republic in particular. The article describes the broad context of the nowadays Islamo-phobia in the Czech Republic, which has grown and expanded greatly in recent years though the Czech Republic’s historical experience (different forms of direct interaction with the Muslim minority in the country with the roots that can be traced back to the 1970s) has been prevailingly positive. The majority of the Czech Muslims are, and have long been, well integrated or even assimilated into the Czech society. The Czech Islamophobia is therefore described in the article as a kind of a paradox; it seems to be rather a strange ‘product’ (a result and a consequence) of people’s everyday perception and interpretation of international events (for instance, of the so-called ‘international war on terrorism’) than a ‘product’ of their direct everyday experience in their home country - of the face-to-face interaction with the Muslim minority. The second part of the article focuses on the Islamophobic discourse developing in the Czech Republic and identifies some of the key issues and topics it shares with the well-known phenomenon of anti-Semitism that historically preceded Islamophobia: ‘the internal enemy’, ‘the threats to the security’, ‘the secret conspiracy for the world dominance’, ‘the “other” incompatible with the European society in cultural, religious and other respects’, ‘the unproductive parasite living at the expense of the (Christian) majority society’, ‘the sacrificial lamb’, and finally ‘the community trying to segregate and create parallel values and institutions’ (so as not to be integrated into the Czech or Central-European society). To a certain degree Islamophobia today revives the previous anti-Semitism for it constructs an image of the Muslim as a dangerous stranger/foreigner, which resembles the negative image of the Jew and Judaism con-structed on the eve of the Holocaust.
RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2017;17(3):399-407
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