The middle class in Russia: an agenda for structured analysis
This paper represents a synthesis of few working papers of the author, published in various mostly foreign publications. In the paper the author examines social consequences and social prerequisites for specific role that Russian state and Russian audiences are playing in the media. In our opinion the situation in Russian media cannot to be perceived outside the context of social structure of the Russian society and the role of the state in this society.
The article is devoted to studying styles of consumption in the field of leisure, focusing on sporting clays which became popular among the Russian elite in the second half of 1990s. The study demonstrates that today people with medium and low income are also engaged in sporting clays. The question arises as to whether sporting clays stimulates social differentiation or social integration. The empirical data collected from participants of a sporting clays club describe the institutionalization process of sporting clays in modern Russia, show social and economic qualities of shooters, and present a typology of people engaged in this kind of shooting.
This paper represents an initial report on findings fro a study aimed at analyzing several key aspects of middle class development in the Russian regions, namely:
• Federal and regional government programs to stimulate the growth of the middle class (content, tools of implementation, effectiveness); • Behavioral strategies and economic behavior (consumption patterns, propensity to save, investment) of different sections of Russian middle class; • Middle class value orientation and political preferences (including preferences for democracy).
The selection of regions for our study was made after consultations with the leading Russian experts on regional problems: Irina Busygina, Leonid Smirniagin, Nikolai Petrov, and Rostislav Turovsky. Their expertise and readiness to help us significantly aided us in choosing our case studies. The criteria we used in selecting regions were the following:
• A relatively high level of urban development (this excludes backward regions); • Variation in the level of socio-economic development: region-donor versus region-recipient of federal financial assistance; • Political orientation of the regional government: democratic versus authoritarian.
We focus on one of these aspects of value theory that has remained relatively underexposed, namely the relation between individual social location and human values. Does one’s position in the social structure—indicated by socio-demographic variables such as age, gender, education and income—affect the values that one prioritizes? We pay special attention to the cross-cultural robustness of the relation between social location and values: Can similar patterns be detected in various European countries? Or do cross-national differences in the relation between structure and values depend on elements of the national context?
We depart from Schwartz’ (1992, 1994, 2006) theory of human values, and make use of the value scale included in the European Social Survey (ESS). We believe that this study adds up to existing research in various ways. First, an exceptionally wide range of European countries is taken into account, including various Eastern European countries. Second, we take up the issue of the cross-cultural equivalence of the measurements. Prior to substantive analysis, we test to what extent different cultural interpretations of values affect the validity of cross-national comparisons. Third, to the best of our knowledge, this is the first study that explicitly addresses the question whether national context affects the relation between social location and values.
An attempt of research of a ratio of the theory and practice in François Guizot scientific and public work is undertaken in this article. Guizot is the central figure of the French liberalism of the first half of the XIX century. The theory and practice of this thinker synthesized liberalism and conservatism.
This paper represents an initial report on findings for a study aimed at analyzing several key aspects of middle class development in the Russian regions (subjects of Federation - oblasts, krays, autonomous republics), namely: Federal and regional government programs to stimulate the growth of the middle class (content, tools of implementation, effectiveness); Behavioral strategies and economic behavior (consumption patterns propensity to save, investment) of different sections of Russian middle class; Middle class value orientation and political preferences (including preferences for democracy).
During 90s the post-socialist countries tried to proceed to market and democracy to be reached by forming of middle classes, democratic institutes and elites. However, by XXI century it became obvious that countries of Central and Eastern Europe and Russia chose different ways of development. Russia went by not a European but by a Latin American model. CEE came close to a “European” distribution of income and have generally joined the European democratic tradition. Russia has come to the distribution of income and consumption of Anglo-Saxon norms, but of distribution of property to Latin American ones.
Problems of democracy and development in Russia should be go close in comparison with Latin American situation. The features of Russian democracy model, especially the situation of 90s have predetermined the line of factors often being missed during analysis (especially the privatization character). In this paper we tried to delineate the factors that determined the distinction of democracy of Russia and other post-socialist countries, which thereby predefined the likeness with Latin American model. It is necessary to take into account the specific character of property distribution in conjunction with the middle class position in the post-transformation society. Nowadays the weakness of middle class, conflicts inside of elites and combination of Latin American inequality with recourse curse form an interesting situation for a further research.
The article presents a sociological interpretation of efficient management of research team’s social structure, based on the stationary action principle.A relevant mathematical model was designed, built on application of variational principle to social structure operationalised as probability density of research team’s social distinctions. The article also includes an overview of empirical testing of the model by conducting a sample study.
The article examines the main trends in the study of the Stalinist period and the phenomenon of Stalinism in connection with the mass opening of the archives.