Russian Neo-Etacratic Society and its Stratification: Discovering Real Social Groups
Current empirical sociology features a limited set of indicators for associating individuals with certain social groups (classes or strata). European sociologists rely heavily on such an informative descriptor as occupation, which has become institutionalized and thus produces certain requirements of human, social and cultural resources for individuals to perform the underlying functions. However, this indicator manifests at least two substantial restrictions: first, it is natural that certain types of economic activity are historically less stable than the social classes with which they are associated; and second, Russian history demonstrates that in a developed society the system of occupations is consistent with its institutional set-up and system of values, which are transferred from generation to generation. In Russia specific occupations are associated with a certain character of labour yet not with particular status characteristics that should result from the corporate nature of professional associations. In fact, in that society there exists a unique form of social stratification, in which a hierarchy of social estates dominates elements of true class differentiation.