There are various economic agents providing goods and services for health and healing practices in contemporary Russia outside orthodox medicine. The author defines this sphere as “informal healthcare” which is functionally replacing the network of public healthcare organizations and institutions, but lacks inner coherence or a fixed structure. This sphere is wider than what is implied by “alternative medicine”. It also includes nonmedical social institutions offering services which substitute for traditional appointments with doctors (such as religious organizations, pharmacies, the mass media). In “informal healthcare” different types of products are supplied to consumers: manufactured goods, natural remedies, services, ideas and doctrines, and information and knowledge.
We use three criteria to match empirical references (different phenomena or practices) with the object of study: 1) the emphasis on the therapeutic effect of products and services; 2) the degree of recognition by orthodox medicine; 3) the degree of recognition by the Russian legal framework. Within this framework “informal healthcare” appears as a heterogeneous system, the core of which comprises illegal activities and practices on the border of legal medical or health-provision services. The boundaries between this sphere and public healthcare system are flexible. In particular, they depend on the state of the legal framework and the circumstances surrounding its agents.
The article presents the results of a pilot sociographic study of “informal healthcare” in the Perm region. The data was collected through in-depth interviews and observations in towns and villages of different sizes. The study revealed that “informal healthcare” tends to flourish in bigger towns, rather than small settlements. This is somewhat counter-intuitive, since public health services in urban areas are known to be better than in the countryside. Presumably, one of the key factors stimulating demand for informal healthcare is not the quality of medical services and health facilities, but the presence of a certain number of people with specific systems of beliefs and attitudes towards health. These people are both active consumers and suppliers of goods and services in informal healthcare. An exception are settlements, which have special natural or other resources (healing springs, holy items and places, geographic anomalies) which attract tourists. “Informal healthcare” markets which focus specifically on visitors emerge from these resources, even if these resources have nothing to do with orthodox medicine.
The authors study the process of social evolution of a large post-Soviet industrial center. The city of Perm can be regarded as a typical product of socialist modernization. Perm (formerly known as Molotov since 1940 and until 1957) is a regional center, which was initially formed through an artificial unification of two separate entities. One of them was a worker settlement Motovilikha (the town of Molotovo). The other was the remnants of a former governor's town, Perm essentially, which until 1917 has been predominantly populated by smaller government officials and merchants. The construction of large factories, which has been started during the first five-year plans, and the evacuation of industrial enterprises in the years of the Second World War have led to an almost three-fold increase of Perm population. The huge agglomeration of barrack village for factory workers during 1930-1950s has almost fully absorbed and transformed the mother-settlements. The outlook and the topology of Perm were non-urban at that time. The opposition between private space and public space, which is quite typical for urban entities, has been completely absent. Almost 300 thousand of'new citizens', who came initially from rural areas, were only nominally so. The chance of becoming citizens in the most true sense of this word has become possible only with Khrushchev's 'housing revolution, i.e. the mass industrial construction of economical, yet more or less comfortable and separate apartments. Precisely in 1960-1970s there forms a single social space within the city of Perm. Due to the rigidness and the difficulty of reforming the relation between state economy and government technologies the total crash of political structure on the background of the economic collapse of the 1990s has led to a severe crisis in the city's development. The contemporary portrait of Perm urban community has been reconstructed based on sociological research and anthropological observation, which has been carried out by a group of researchers of the Chair for Cultural Science at Perm State Technical University.(RSCI:15616007)
The comparative analyses of the group mental imagery characteristics and impact factors is the main focus of the article.
This paper analyses the “shadow price” of social changes. For the first time, an attempt was made to determine the approaches to measuring this value with regard to non-market phenomena and processes, and to apply these approaches in an empirical analysis, based on a representative survey in Russia (N = 1,000) using experimental situations.Specifically, it quantitatively evaluates (1) the degree of divergence between the real and the ideal structure of the time budget of several important domains of social life; (2) the ratio of social ills to social benefits; (3) individual public welfare functions, (4) the social cost, legitimated by citizens, of reproducing two fundamental public goods: “the capacity to maintain ‘superpower’ status” and “the well-being of the future generations”. The authors introduce and operationalize the novel concept of the socially sub-optimal product of labour, i.e. the product resulting from alienated (or unwilling) labour, and conversely, the product which could potentially result from using unutilized willing labour. In doing so we support the idea of distinguishing productive and unproductive forms within both the notion of labour and the notion of leisure. Aggregated estimates of these values show the share of GDP which could be optimized due to a redistribution of the time budget of the population between the main areas of life, according to ideal social preferences.The balance of social benefits and social ills resulting from the life experiences and activities of individuals are empirically evaluated. We consider this balance, which is the sum of impacts of the social environment on the individual, as a suitable model for explaining how individuals make decisions about whether or not to participate in public life. “Individual public welfare functions” are assessed empirically, demonstrating that individual utility depends on personal and collective consumption. Empirical testing covered a wide range of nation-building areas with public investment in relevant types of merit and public goods.Then the authors propose and test on empirical data an opportunity cost approach to evaluating socially legitimate amounts of funding for the fundamental social benefits “superpower” or “additional power” of the nation.The cost of the public good “well-being of the future generations” is calculated for the Russian sample.Finally, the estimates of the discount rates of human lives and “healthy and prosperous years of life” were obtained for Russia for the first time. The findings of the study are relevant for the efficient management of complex socio-economic systems. The authors strongly believe that revealing the structure of existing social preferences and estimating their impact on various areas of social life will help improve policy making by explicitly taking into account the specifics of the real social contract between the state and society.
The article analyzes the specifics of identities and attitudes of the three main strata of Russian society, identified on the basis of M. Weber's ideas of positive and negative privileges. Based on the materials of two all-Russian surveys carried out by FCTAS RAS in 2015 and 2018, it is demonstrated that these strata differ among themselves not only in their level of well-being, professional composition and educational level, but also in their identities, social well-being, attitudes, norms and values systems and assessments of current situation in Russia. While the lower and middle strata are relatively close to each other, the upper stratum (about 20% of Russians) stands out with pronounced specifics of identities, planning horizon, prevalence of nonconformist attitudes and type of locus control. The life goals of the top stratum representatives more often have a character of achievement, and their assessments of the situation in Russia, unlike those of the rest of Russians, are quite optimistic. Requests of representatives of this stratum to the state also have their own specifics, in particular there is a pronounced request for a country's breakthrough in science and high technologies. At the same time, solidarity attitudes are less common in the upper stratum, while stigmatization of the poor is more common. It is noted that the features of the attitudes and norms and values systems of the upper stratum are also reflected in the behavioral strategies of its representatives. It is concluded that the defined strata correspond to the main criteria of the classes in their neo-Weberian interpretation, and within the framework of this social structure model the upper stratum can be considered the middle class, which has pronounced specificity not only of its objective, but also subjective characteristics.