This article presents a review of Jenny Lantz’s book The Trendmakers: Behind the Scenes of the Global Fashion Industry. The book engages in a sociological and economic inquiry into trend forecasting in the fashion industry. Trend forecasting is a special kind of business that focuses on predicting future trends in consumers’ taste. Making such decisions usually seems intuitive: In distinguishing between “fashionable” and “unpopular” products, people commonly rely on subjective opinions. Furthermore, the fashion business is an example of extremely turbulent aesthetic goods market in which any forecasting seems difficult. Using the results obtained from nearly one hundred in-depth interviews, Lantz unveils the magic of the trend-hunting business. Referring to classical sociological theories of fashion, including Pierre Bourdieu’s theory of power and symbolic capital, Lantz describes how trend forecasting agencies — including global organizations like WGSN and Trend Union, as well as local companies like Promostyl — achieve legitimacy by working with consultants, buyers, fashion designers, and social influencers. The book reveals that trend forecasting is not about future-telling; rather, it is more about “future-feeling” based on shared perceptions of class, status, and taste. Lantz also provides an insight into developing markets of BRICS countries, including China, Brazil, India, and Russia. Although the section on Russia is quite brief, it contains useful information about big retailers and Russian designers, and it may be useful for further research on the Russian market. The book may attract sociologists, economists, and business students, as well as a wider audience interested in the global fashion industry.
The paper describes how the deliberate by-catch of the Caspian seals in Dagestan, Russia has given to a rise in illegal wildlife trade (IWT) in the region after the sturgeon population, as the most valuable commodity for local markets, critically declined. The data were derived from using a set of anthropological and sociological methods and approaches, including semistructured interviews (SSIs), focus groups, direct observations reflected in field notes, the life-story approach, and “grounded theory”, based on a study of sturgeon poaching conducted by the author since 2012. Although the author subdivided the local IWT into four stages that cover the coastal, piedmont areas, and highlands of Dagestan, in this article, he deepens the readers’ knowledge of the first two stages of IWT in the coastal areas. For a better understanding of the nature of regional IWT, the notion of an autonomous community is introduced. Several examples have been chosen for description: the inclusion of seals resulting from by-catch in new informal contractual relations between young fishers and boat owners, the illegal taking of the fishers sentenced in Kazakhstan, the ransom for the release of fishers sentenced in Kazakhstan (“Kazakh captivity”), the buying of the seals’ carcasses and skins, its initial processing, and the further resale of skins to craftsmen from the mountainous areas of Dagestan. The author argues that the birth of the IWT in the regions is closely linked to the emergence of the local autonomous resource-extracting community, following the breakup of the USSR, where the Sturgeon Fishing Brigade (SFB; the first stage of IWT) and the seals’ middlemen (the second stage of IWT) play the most important roles as social entities. Autonomous community helps the young fishers of the SFB to perceive illegality as an a priori phenomenon, which was facilitated by the long-term absence of the state as the main regulator of social and economic processes. Hence, there is no sense in considering the dichotomy of “legality-illegality” as a research problem when dealing with IWT as a by-product of the autonomous resource extracting community. Results also show that different types of reciprocity and redistribution serve as the main regulatory tools in conducting economic transactions among parties involved in the coastal and highlands IWT structures. The reciprocal ties are partly based on either reputation (in the case of the middlemen) a moral obligations (in the case of the SFB).
The issue of social inequality has always been a focus of sociological knowledge. Meanwhile, extensive discussions about new forms of inequality and social participation were driven by changes in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. As a result, the topic of “precarity” has become more relevant in recent times. The reasons for this interest are the growing tensions in labor markets and problems of employment systems in various countries. The purpose of this article is to study the precarious opportunities for employees in the context of an analysis of their self-assessments of the risks of job losses and future labor incomes, as well as to compare this self-perception between those employed in Russia and Germany. The aim of the comparative analysis is the identification of social factors of the precarious employment in market economies, and to achieve an understanding of the degree of social inequality from the point of employment participation in Russia. The article starts with an examination of the theoretical foundations. These foundations are a modern interpretation of the sociological theory of the social structure of society, the development of resources, and actor theories. The model of the subjective perception of inequality A. Hense is under consideration. In the model, the conceptual provisions of methodological individualism of S. Lindenberg and P. Burdieu’s methodological relativism are integrated. The data of the Russia Longitudinal Monitoring Survey — Higher School of Economics (RLMS-HSE) and German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP) were used for multivariate analysis. Determinants (production, legal, contextual) were studied using generalized ordered probit models with random effects. As a result, the authors conclude that the precariousness of employment and incomes in Russia captures a large proportion of wage earners and is fixed throughout the observation period. A higher level of education weakens anxiety, although in Russia it should be more significant than in Germany. Workers are a risk group in the self-perception of precarity, but the situation in Russia is changing if differentiated professional groups are evaluated. Working conditions depend on the system of social support for workers and on the social capital of workers (family support and the origin of the worker). The selfperception of precariousness among workers increases if the number of dependents is high. The size of the enterprise has a different impact on self-perception of the precariousness for workers in Russia and Germany. In Russia, women are most susceptible to the perception of precarity, whereas in Germany, such effects are not recorded. In general, the study shows that the reduction of inequality in the involvement of citizens in the labor market in the modern market economy is directly related to the proactive role of the state in the social protection of workers.
The course is developed for the MA students of sociological department, who are interested in analysis of social problems and social policy. In order to succeed from the course students are supposed to have acquired the basic knowledge in labour economics, labour sociology, statistic and skills in data analysis. The main goal of the course is to teach students for critical thinking and critical analysis of the current labour market problems in comparative perspective and for application of the appropriate schemes and models for solving the social issues using the quantitative methods of individual micro level data. The course comprises of 8 lectures and 8 practical workshops in computer classes. During the practical workshops students will study to work in STATA and multilevel regression analysis techniques. The course requires the permanent work during lectures and workshops, includes interactive methods of teaching, develops the writing skills of short analytical documents and focused applied investigation of particular issue. The credits are given for work in the workshops, writing an essay and passing tests.
At the end of the course students supposed to have basic knowledge and analytical skills for solving the social problems in the field of labour and employment under the focus of gender differences, wage discrimination, institutional country peculiarities and global economic changes. These knowledge and skills will be of high value and use in international scientific and business organizations
The article analyzes managerial practices in creating trust in a company from the perspective of stakeholders when they are concerned about potential negative effects of the company’s actions. The purpose of the study is to determine managerial practices that undermine trust in the company by the stakeholders in a situation of risk concern, to explore why this happens and to develop practical implications for the formation of trust in a company under such situations. Four approaches to trust theory — a rational choice under risk, an act of faith, a psychological condition and a moral attitude — form the theoretical basis of the study. Stakeholder risk concern is examined by drawing on the example of the industrial development of the Arctic by the Gazprom group of companies (Gazprom Neft, Gazprom Neft Shelf, Gazprom). The research examines the position of environmental NGOs, Russian Bird Conservation Union, WWF Russia, Greenpeace Russia and Bellona-Murmansk. Data include press releases of these environmental organizations and other archival documents in which representatives of the environmental organizations express their concerns about the actions of the Gazprom group of companies in the development of the Prirazlomnoe oil field. The author identifies seven managerial practices that may seem reasonable for managers but undermine trust in the company and increase stakeholder concern. The author carefully discusses why these practices are not helpful in building trust in a company. Based on this analysis, the author draws conclusions regarding a possible base for trust in a company by stakeholders in a situation of risk concern.
2013–2014 was a stage of organizational transformation of the Russian postal system, which caused disruption of the organizational structure and doubling of its operational elements. This article begins by exploring the resulting situation of ambiguity and uncertainty caused by this disruption. Under these conditions, according to K. Weick, the sensemaking process should play an essential role in organizational performance. This research project aims to identify the structural features of the Russian postal system during the reorganization stage, as well as at defining the meanings which employees gave to ongoing changes. The data was collected through participant observation from the position of Moscow Central Office postal employee from June 2013 to September 2014; fourteen interviews of employees and document analysis were conducted as well. Information was recorded in field notes and diary and analyzed with open and axial coding according to the procedures of grounded theory. The main findings presented in this article are the disruption of structure and the following complexities in its functional performance and the coexistence of two organizational images between more experienced workers affected by organizational change and the newcomer employees with brand new ideas. Employees’ perception of the Russian postal system is presented as simultaneously government and commercial, profitable and detrimental, typical and specific organization. These dual images can cause difficulties both in employees’ communication and organizational performance.
At the enterprises integrated into structure of multinational corporations, high-quality changes of the labor relations are observed. How traditional trade union' practices adapt to policy and actions of the new owner? What problems are generated by this interaction? How priorities and forms of trade-union organization work are changing? The author offers answers to these questions, analyzing Samara Metallurgical Plant experience.
This study is devoted to answering two questions: (1) does individuals’ worries and suffering correlate with the acceptability of corruption for them; (2) does this correlation differ by countries with various levels of corruption? We focus on analyzing the correlation between macro and micro worries with the acceptability of corrupt behavior for individuals. This study is based on data of the 6th wave’ World Value Survey. We identified three groups of countries depending on the corruption perception index: countries with low levels of corruption (Australia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore, Sweden), countries with medium levels of corruption (Belarus, China, South Korea, Malaysia, Romania), and countries with high levels of corruption (Russia, Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Thailand). For the purposes of our analysis, we used structural equation modeling. It was found, that macro and micro worries have significant relationship with the acceptability of corruption. Our analysis showed that the more people worry about themselves or their family, the more they accept corruption. People who worry about society are more likely to disapprove of corruption. However, the significance of these links vary depending on countries’ group — countries with high, medium or low corruption. For countries with low levels of corruption the correlation was significant only for link between microworries and the acceptability of corruption; for countries with a high level of corruption – only for link between macroworries and the acceptability of corruption; for countries with middle level of corruption and also for Russia the acceptability of corruption are significant correlated with both micro- and macroworries.