An overview of the narratives on social development that have appeared in the social sciences at the turn of the millennium demonstrates that the vision of the future that emerges is blurred, and uncertainty, anxiety andinsecurity are perceptions shared by the political class and the public opinion. This said, the research agenda andgovernance priorities are torn apart to the detriment of security, equality and social cohesion. The gap which existsin our perception of the future calls for a new approach to development issues. The author proposes a conceptualframework for promoting social change at different levels of community life based on responsible development.This framework has several dimensions: a moral value oriented motivation for choosing development prioritiesand stimulating individual capabilities, recourse to non-material, intellectual and (where possible) renewableresources to promote this agenda, and an institutional basis for stimulating agency, engaging and empoweringindividuals and communities, and fostering civic political identity. Responsible development is not a universalmodel, nor a set of fixed goals, but a reference frame to pursue development priorities based on a strategic visionof the future and on innovative approaches to governance. These approaches may vary to accommodate theexigencies of different societies and communities, and there can be no one-size-fits-all option due to differencesin political culture, economic development and social frameworks, but they do share common basic principles.Social dialogue on the community level and the capabilities approach which has been adopted within theframework of the Nordic model are an example of effective governance practices which fit into this framework.Responsible development is a strategic vision of the principles that can direct communities and individuals topursue development issues and to hold responsibility for the choices they make, for the policies they promoteand for their long-term effects. As such, it requires a permanent tuning of social and political institutions,consideration of changing priorities, values and identities, and feedback between the research and the educationagendas, between the state, local governments, business and civil society. The social sciences are a crucial actorin this process; promoting this discourse in the public space and engaging the political class is a key priority ofa responsible intellectual community.
Civil control is a key mechanism of counteracting and suppressing corruption and represents one of the main functions of civil society. The first phase of civil control consists in systematic monitoring of decisions and actions of public power organs and of their functionaries; the second phase - in social expert examination of such decisions and actions; and the final phase - in public presentation of the results of the said expert examination to the authorities and society. In the working of the civil control mechanism, the function of the driving belt is realized by mass media.
The paper outlines a link between two theoretical perspectives on the prerequisites of high institutional quality and long run growth. One framework is based on the trade-off between disorder and dictatorship and introduces the notion of the institutional possibility frontier (IPF). The idea of IPF implies that social institutions can be situated on the continuum between two extrema of dictatorship and disorder; each point on the continuum has an associated level of social losses. It is implied that the dictatorship-disorder trade-off is more severe in some societies than in others. The other theoretical perspective focuses upon the role of total factor productivity (TFP) as a parameter underlying long run growth (TFP can be represented as a parameter A in the Cobb-Douglas function). It is possible to associate different social groups with different productivity factors in the Cobb-Douglas function and, further, with different institutional preferences on the dictatorship-disorder continuum. As a result, the linkage between TFP and IPF emerges and the effects of TFP can be interpreted in the framework of the IPF theory. The formalization of the linkage between two theoretical perspectives is presented in outline and it is shown that high TFP can mitigate the trade-off between dictatorship and disorder. The second part of the paper contains a tentative empirical analysis of the link between TFP and major institutional characteristics. It is demonstrated that this link is present and has from medium to high strength. An interesting innovation concerns the method of estimating TFP. By and large, the paper sheds some light on the nature of TFP and designates directions for further research on the fundamental conditions for high-quality development.
Discourse-analysis of ideologies, presented in different dimensions - such would be both laconic and complete description of the subject-matter of the article. The author invites the reader to try to make out, in what ways different ideological discourses are formed, what their essence consists in, and, finally, what it actually is, after all, - ideologies.
The rise of China as well as its unprecedented economic success turned to be one of the most important factors in the world development in the late XX and early XXI centuries and transformed the country into the second most influential player on the international scene. This change caused a heated debate within the country about the prospects of Beijing’s foreign policy and economic course, with two major directions emerging as a result. The first group calls for a more active behaviour of China as a great power on the international arena, taking the example of the United States. It strives to achieve this goal through all available means, including military ones, to ensure China’s economic and political interests abroad, to put forward its own alternative to Western concepts of world development, and to create alternative trade and economic unions and zones. As a result, supporters of this line seek to move away from Deng Xiaoping’s foreign policy of modesty and restraint. The second group of realists believes that it is necessary to follow Deng’s principles, since the country is yet to secure the status of a major world power and can lose its current advantages, which come with a more modest status. They suggest that following the first path will provoke an unfavorable reaction of the international community. Chinese leadership has taken an intermediate position in this debate, holding back the most radical proposals of the activists and adopting some of the moderate ones. The debate, which has been vigorous since the beginning of the XXI century became particularly acute after the start of the trade war initiated by U.S. President Donald Trump. It revealed many of China’s weaknesses as well as its significant dependence on the United States. During the exacerbation, a number of experts criticised certain aspects of domestic and foreign policy of China’s current leadership, including the “belt and road initiative” initiative. Some claim that this initiative, along with a number of other major projects adopted by the Chinese government, for instance, the “Made in China 2025” plan, could have provoked Trump’s tough response, which may put China’s development at stake. Some major Beijing’s partners are also criticising certain forms of realisation of this initiative. The article examines the available sources shedding light on the public and non-public side of the debate, as well as its possible implications for China’s foreign and domestic policy and Sino-Russian relations.
Studies in political demography suggest that there should be a positive correlation between the increased share of youth in the total population (‘youth bulges’) and the intensity of anti-government demonstrations. However, a correlation analysis (without adding any control variables) between the youth bulges and the intensity of non-violent protests demonstrates unexpected results, since in this case we find a statistically significant negativecorrelation. It is shown that this is due to the sociopolitical, sociocultural and economic modernization factors. In the long run, modernization, through a decrease in the birth rate and an increase in life expectancy, leads to the population ageing and reduction in the share of youth in the total adult population, which by itself acts as a factor reducing the intensity of anti-government demonstrations. But, on the other hand, modernization gives rise to other powerful factors, such as democratization, urbanization, and the expansion of formal education, which are more than able to compensate the ‘youth bulge’ decline These theoretical expectations have been confirmed by our tests. After the introduction of respective control variables, ‘youth bulges’ turn out to be a factor increasing the intensity of protests, while without these controls they become a predictor of the relatively low intensity of non-violent protests. Thus, our tests show that a high proportion of young people in the total population, all other things being equal, is nevertheless a factor of the increased intensity of anti-government demonstrations; thus, without a decrease in ‘youth bulges’, modernization would have led to a significantly more pronounced increase in the intensity of non-violent protests.
In his lecture laureate of Rokkanina prize newly established in Russia highlights a programme of regime transformation studies. The programme focuses on the quality of regimes consolidated in recent years and decades. Melville suggests new approaches to accounting structure/agency interaction within political development.
Review of the book: From Plebiscite - towards Elections. How and why Russians cast their ballots in Elections 2011-2012 (Ed. by V.V.Fiodorov). M.: Pracsis. 2013. 496 p.
The social perturbations during the first half of 2020-ies marked the contradictions that were accumulating in the Russian society for recent years. One aspect of social disengagement is the peculiar attitude of different social groups and strata towards the long-term course of the contemporary government towards maintaining stability, that is used to be understood as the course that preserve the existing political and economic system and its «game’s rules». The sociological data of the monitoring studies of the Institute of Sociology of the FCTAS (RAS) demonstrates that Russian society is divided into approximately two equal parts. One it part wish for change and believe that shortage of serios economic and social reforms would cause the state stagnate. The other part wants to maintain stability and believe that nobody should rush transformations having no information about its results. The reasons of the formation and content of the public request for change have already been analyzed by the working group of the research project “Social Transformation of Russian Society: the Actors of the Request for Change,” therefore, the author of this article focuses on the identification of the factors that influence on the subjective choice in favor of change or stability. The analysis demonstrate that such a choice is determinated by political, not by social differences between the supporters either of changes or of stability, which are manifesting, first of all, when by many Russians are aware that the border between private and public in modern Russia is illusory. The author, applying to the sociological data, demonstrates the correlation between the increase of number of the “self-sufficient Russians” and the formation of a request for change. The combination of this attitude with a perspective vision of the future becomes a key factor that forces the desire for change. The social request for changes that is not accepted by the authorities forms a special identity that can transform the sense of resentment into a collective action to uphold one’s vision of the future.
This article analyzes the results of the all-Russian sociological surveys that, in recent years, were realized by the Federal Center of Theoretical and Applied Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The main purpose of this article is to identify important shifts in the mood and expectations of Russians, from the point of view of the future of the state. The authors pay special attention to the reasons requests for changes have become actualized in the public consciousness, as well as its main components and its potential actors. According to the authors, the actualization of this request was the result of a sharp change in the vector of public priorities that represents a reaction a significant part of Russian society has to the authorities’ inability to ensure their obligations, under the so-called “paternalistic consensus”, which for many years remained the basis of the request for stability. It is shown that this request, firstly, is still of an intrasystemic nature and focuses the authority (more likely, through wishes rather than requirements) on the evolutionary change of society, not on the radical institutional transformation. Secondly, this request is very amorphous, both in its ideological content and in its social base, and focuses mainly on the today’s socio-economic realities. Thirdly and lastly, the youth is its main bearer and the most obvious beneficiary; however, sociological polls demonstrate that other social groups and strata are also interested in overcoming the existing status quo and in initiating constructive changes. The request is focused substantively on such basic ideas as a) the minimization of various social inequalities; b) social justice, c) democracy, d) the greatness of the state. At the same time, the majority of the citizens who took part in the sociological polls consider that Russia should base its state’s greatness and status as a key international player on its inclusion in the most economically developed and politically influential countries of the world, not on building up its military power. It talks about the public reevaluation of the state’s role and the dissolution of state values as a key tool for the realization of the common good. The vast majority of Russia’s citizens today support demands for the authority’s openness, providing opportunities for citizens to influence authority through legitimate democratic procedures. A growing number of "selfsufficient" Russians are striving to orientate themselves in their daily lives, not on assistance from the authorities, but on their own forces. However, the readiness of such “self-sufficient" citizens for collective action is low, they consider themselves as supporters of change, but not as the actors of social change.