The interdisciplinary origins of the sociological metatheorizing and reasons for a surge in its popularity in 1970s –1990s are discussed in order to describe the passage to a current state of metatheory in sociology. The relationships of different types of meta-theoretical investigations with substantive unit theories as well as with an adjacent field of philosophy of social sciences are exemplified using some “hard problems” relating to sociological theories of actions and normativity. The current state of this problem in sociology is described in the article as a movement from the once initial state of striving for conceptual codification and standardization of the complex of sociological theories to their deconstruction and decentration – and back. The author believes this phenomenon may equally be subject of interest for theoretical sociology and philosophy of social sciences.
The article deals with the analysis of foster parents discursive practices of making family. The approach to family as a discourse is used for the theoretical conceptualization of parental narratives about fostering. Foster parenthood is understood as a discursive construction, which contains normative beliefs about fostering, motives of decision about fostering, and descriptions of foster care practices. The empirical base of the research consists of texts of 469 diaries of foster parents, collected in frame of the all-Russian competition of foster families diaries “Our stories” (Elena & Gennagy Timchenko Foundation, 2015–2017). The biographical narratives were analyzed in two levels: 1) normative commonly shared beliefs about family and fostering; 2) individual strategies of narrative identity construction. As the result of analysis three main meaningful elements of parental individual narratives were found: 1) discourses about what is foster parenting; 2) justification strategies of decisions about foster parenting; 3) descriptions of making family practices. The general outcome of the article is the conclusion that making family is performed on the level of individual believes about what family and parenting are. The specific history of family relations and interactions between family members influences the making family process. All these individual discursive practices are inscribed in a broad socio-cultural context of normative beliefs.
Last few years were marked by growing civic activities in Russia (aid to victims of fires and floods, peaceful demonstrations and protests), including emergence of a very massive movement of domestic election observers. Hundreds of thousands of Russians across the country started to participate in election observation beginning from federal elections, 2011– 2012. In this context, tree main questions are relevant. How has this movement emerged and developed? What is the qualitative composition of its participants? How socially significat is the movement in terms of its impact on the development of civil society and democracy? Mixed method research was used: qualitative research (7 in-depth interviews), and a quantitative survey (N=1506) conducted online. Results of the study show that despite the fact that people’s participation in election observation was massive, this activity was not chaotic. Process of involving citizens in election observation was based on well-built system, coordinated by new organizations. They distribute videos aimed at attracting citizens to become election observers; train in election legislation; develop and distribute manuals, handbooks and “road maps”; organize “mobile groups”, hot lines, and parallel vote tabulation. Qualitative composition of domestic election observers feature educated people under 45 with relatively high level of material welfare, not members or supporters of parliamentary parties. Moreover, election observers are actively involved in NGOs as well as in volunteering and donations. Activities of domestic election observers in Russia for the last two years enhance development of civic skills and increase levels of legal awareness thus contributing to empowering Russian civil society and democracy.
Recent advances in neuroscience gave rise to new fascinating ideas and issues in social sciences. However, neuronal processes are still perceived as irrelevant for a typical sociological research. This is partially the sequence of a limited explanatory power of social neuroscience rooted in the mind-body problem. But sociological research ignoring brain processes is equally weak. We consider key features and problems both of neurophysiologic and sociological explanations, taking maternal behavior as an example. We then attempt to formulate conditions of integrative neurosociological explanation, and propose a three-factor model of maternal behavior.
The article discusses school violence. Absence of large-scale research in the country determined the choice of the questionnaire developed by German colleagues, adapted as a primary tool of survey in schools. The experience of conducting research in the Nizhny Novgorod schools showed that educational system is a closed one and is often unprepared to participate in polls, including those relating to urgent social problems. Research results also clearly indicate presence of violence in Russian school and allow us to estimate its extent. School violence is diverse in form: from "light" verbal version to fierce physical coercion; in the Nizhny Novgorod schools vandalism, violence against teachers, and other forms also exist. Experience of students' participation in acts of violence is considered from the position of the aggressor as well as from the perspective of the victim; socio-demographic factors (type of school, gender, age) are taken into account. In the article destructive actions of students are analyzed from the point of view of family (socializing) experience. The family, as primary medium of forming child's personality, creates social/regulatory parameters of his/her activity outside family, including the school. The research materials describe relationship with the parents of schoolchildren: subjective students' opinion of the relationship with their close adults and parenting style; parental involvement in the school life of the child; communication style and methods of influence on the child. Nizhny Novgorod schoolboy/girl does not always feel secure within the family. His/her well-being and comfort is destroyed by ignoring his/her concerns and interests, by application of hard (using physical force) methods of influence. Analysis of the data demonstrates correlation between advantaged/disadvantaged practices of parent-child relations, and students' involvement in the situation of school violence as both aggressor and victim. © 2016 r.