Representations of inequality and social policy in the Russian Official Press, 2005–2012
The central instruments of social policy include not only social programmes but also how social problems and social inequality are represented in the media. In this article, these representations are analysed, with a particular focus on the meanings attached to actors, events and phenomena in the field of social policy and how they are produced and diffused through society by means of language, symbols and images. The aim of the study is to provide an analysis of the representations of social inequality and social policy in one of modern Russia’s official state-run newspapers. The various means of explaining social inequality in the official print media will also be revealed and explained here. This is achieved through a content analysis of the articles in Rossiiskaya Gazeta [Russian Newspaper] from 2005 to 2012.
On the basis of in-depth case studies of four Russian regions, Kirov and Voronezh oblasts and Krasnoyarsk and Perm' krais, the trade-offs among social and economic policy at the regional level in Russia are examined. All four regional governments seek to develop entrepreneurship while preserving social welfare obligations and improving compensation in the public sector. Richer regions have a greater ability to reconcile social commitments with the promotion of business. Regions differ in their development strategies, some placing greater emphasis on indigenous business development and others seeking to attract federal or foreign investment. Governors have considerable discretion in choosing their strategy so long as they meet basic performance demands set by the federal government such as ensuring good results for the United Russia party. In all four regions, governments consult actively with local business associations whereas organized labor is weak. However, the absence of effective institutions to enforce commitments undertaken by government and its social partners undermines regional capacity to use social policy as a basis for long-term economic development.
This chapter addresses the relationship between class, family and social welfare policies by analysing the construction of the identity category of ‘unfortunate families’ in popular scientific discourses, governmental policy documents and discourses of social services, and by examining how those labelled as ‘unfortunate’ negotiate this identity conferred to them. The chapter shows that gender and class are closely intertwined in the production of this identity, as it is single mothers who are primarily categorized as ‘unfortunate’. In our analysis we draw on multiple sources of data. First, we analyse in-depth and focus group interviews with service providers and clients and participant observation data from a number of Russian cities. Second, we analyse various government documents and social advertisements, mass media materials, social policy and social work textbooks, and popular scientific texts published during the 1990s-2000s.
Using the cross-country ESS (2008) data file, the author explores welfare attitudes of population of European countries. The paper argues that expectations associated with the social policy and willingness to accept higher taxation in order to receive more benefits as well as the gap between these two depend on institutional characteristics of the countries. Poor institutions feed corruption and fiscal illusion, therefore generating misperceptions and free rider behavior.
In this chapter we aim to examine the discourses created and reproduced through the interaction between single mothers and representatives of social services. The analysis is based on twenty-six interviews with single mothers and six interviews with social workers conducted in 2001–2003, and six interviews with single mothers and three with social workers conducted in 2006 in the Saratov region in Russia, as well as official documents and the publications of other researchers. In our interviews with mothers, we focused on the issues of familial well-being and interactions with social services, while social workers were asked to discuss their experiences with clients. A short overview of statistics and social policy terminology prefaces a discussion of how mother-headed families and state social policy interrelate and affect each other. The subsequent sections contain analysis of the interviews with single mothers who, as the heads of low-income households, interact with the social service system. The analysis demonstrates that single mothers are frustrated by inadequate assistance and the impossibility of improving their life situations. The discussion goes on to show that social workers, who are used to interpreting complex issues in the life situations of single mothers as individual psychological peculiarities, tend to blame the victim, thus ignoring important social conditions and imposing on women a responsibility for problems that are societal in origin.
The article is concerned with results of content analysis of textbooks for high school in the area of social and human sciences. The author uses the typology of values introduced by S. Schwartz which consists of two value axes — “conservation — openness to change” and “selfassertion — caring about people and nature” — and describes values that underlie each subject area and then compares these values with results of mass surveys of the values of Russians.
There have been implemented engineering and development of multi-agent recommender system «EZSurf» that performs analysis of interests and provides recommendations for the social network «VKontakte» users based on the data from profile of particular user. During the work process different methods and technological solutions have been analyzed with examination of their advantages and disadvantages. Besides of that the comparative analysis of analogous products has been held where the most similar is Russian start-up service - Surfingbird. Based on this analysis the decision of recommender system implementation and integration has been accepted. The feature of this system is that it uses social network “VKontakte” profile for user’s data collection and API of third-party services (LastFM, TheMovieDB) for an extraction of information about similar objects. Such an approach contributes into optimization of recommender system, because it does not require creation of its own object classification system and objects database. The functionality of multi-agent system was separated between three agents. First agent (Collector) collects user data from “VKontakte” profile using VK API. Second agent (Analyzer) collects similar objects from databases of thitd-party services (LastFM, TheMovieDB) that will be the criteria for further search of recommendatory content. For search and selection of information an agent (Recommender) that works as web-crawler has been implemented. System «EZSurf» can be exploited by the users of social network “VKontakte” in everyday life for time economy on web-surfing process. At the same time they will get recommendations on content that are filtered depending on preferences of every particular user.
This volume intends to fill the gap in the range of publications about the post-transition social housing policy developments in Central and Eastern Europe by delivering critical evaluations about the past two decades of developments in selected countries’ social housing sectors, and showing what conditions have decisively impacted these processes.
Contributors depict the different paths the countries have taken by reviewing the policy changes, the conditions institutions work within, and the solutions that were selected to answer the housing needs of vulnerable households. They discuss whether the differences among the countries have emerged due to the time lag caused by belated reforms in selected countries, or whether any of the disparities can be attributed to differences inherited from Soviet times. Since some of the countries have recently become member states of the European Union, the volume also explores whether there were any convergence trends in the policy approaches to social housing that can be attributed to the general changes brought about by the EU accession.