Informal Healthcare in Contemporary Russia. Sociographic Essays on the Post-Soviet Infrastructure for Alternative Healing Practices
This volume deals with one of the most understudied aspects of everyday life in Russian society. Its main heroes are the providers of goods and services to whom people turn for healthcare instead of official medical institutions. A wide range of agents is described—from network marketing companies to 'folk' journals on health as well as healers, complementary medicine specialists, and religious organizations.
Krasheninnikova’s book is based on rich empirical observations and avoids both positive and critical assessment of the analyzed phenomena. Her investigation pays particular attention to the legal, social, and economic status of informal healthcare providers. She demonstrates that these agents tend to flourish in bigger towns rather than in small settlements, where public healthcare is lacking. The study reveals the important role of institutions that are generally not related to alternative medicine, such as pharmacies, libraries, and church shops.
The result is a vivid and thorough introduction to the world of self-medication and alternative healing in contemporary Russia. A special emphasis was made on the flexibility of boundaries between formal and informal healthcare due to the evolution of rules and regulations.
The paper aims to portray and to discuss the informal impact of drugstores on health in Russia today, taking into account their formal role in the health care system. The empirical study was conducted in 2013 in the Perm region. It was a part of the larger project on description of all informal providers of goods and services for self-treatment in Russia.
According to our suggestion, if the pharmacies are commercial organizations, they inevitably adapt their work to customers’ demands. As a result, the tasks not designated by state policy are taking a prominent place in their work. In the terminology of R. Merton it could be called the latent (hidden) functions, i.e. unintentional and unconscious consequences of their activities. In order to describe them, we analysed the legislation and general statistics of drug sales in Russia, conducted 30 in-depth interviews with pharmacists, inspected around 50 pharmacies in different towns and villages, and specially registered all customers’ demands during two days in one pharmacy.
The peculiarities of the healthcare system and pharmaceutical retail in Russia may create conditions for a high level of self-medication and the proactive role of pharmacies in it. Nevertheless, in the Russian legislation the main reason for the existence of pharmacies is to provide remedies which are prescribed by doctors. It seems to mirror the classical, paternalistic model of health care. The legislative framework leads to the conservation of the hidden social functions of pharmacies, because deviations are widespread although illegal.
In sum, the empirical research demonstrates three main latent functions of pharmacies: to take on the duty of physician, to provide remedies for self-medication (whether conventional OTC and prescription medicines or food supplements, or alternative medicine), to serve addicted people and to help them in maintaining a destructive dependence. Each of them reveals in the various aspects of communications and implicit behavior rules in pharmacy. All of them work against formal healthcare.
The monograph focuses on economic agents that substitute or complement the official healthcare system in modern Russia by serving alternative health maintenance practices. A detailed description of their activities is provided on the basis of an analysis of nationwide secondary data (public statistics, mass media, laws and regulations), as well as observations and interviews from the field research in the Perm region in 2013. The book consists of two parts. The first – introductory – chapter contains some generalizations and reflections on the subject matter in general. The following chapters are a series of independent sociographic essays that focus on selected "informal healthcare" phenomena classified by the principal product offered to the customers: goods, gifts of nature, diagnostic and treatment services, ideas/beliefs, or information. Among others, we consider direct selling of health products and itinerant trade in them; latent social functions of pharmacies; services of healers and doctors of alternative medicine; gathering and production of healing gifts of nature by private households; healing practices of religious organizations; and dissemination of self-treatment information in the mass media. The publication targets a wide audience, including professionals in healthcare management, social scientists, and everyone interested in health protection and the informal economy in Russia.
The article is devoted to police moonlighting in Russia. Despite the initial function of law regulation, in many countries police transformed in a destructive tool. In contemporary time police are highly involved in economic activity, which is embedded in business and political spheres. The authors describe the complicated intertwining of legal and illegal aspects of the activity, and bring light to fundamental causes of police moonlighting and socio-economic and political consequences of the phenomenon. The article is based on results of researches of key Russian teams in this field.
Several approaches to the concept of fatherhood present in Western sociological tradition are analyzed and compared: biological determinism, social constructivism and biosocial theory. The problematics of fatherhood and men’s parental practices is marginalized in modern Russian social research devoted to family and this fact makes the traditional inequality in family relations, when the father’s role is considered secondary compared to that of mother, even stronger. However, in Western critical men’s studies several stages can be outlined: the development of “sex roles” paradigm (biological determinism), the emergence of the hegemonic masculinity concept, inter-disciplinary stage (biosocial theory). According to the approach of biological determinism, the role of a father is that of the patriarch, he continues the family line and serves as a model for his ascendants. Social constructivism looks into man’s functions in the family from the point of view of masculine pressure and establishing hegemony over a woman and children. Biosocial theory aims to unite the biological determinacy of fatherhood with social, cultural and personal context. It is shown that these approaches are directly connected with the level of the society development, marriage and family perceptions, the level of egality of gender order.
This book contains the proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Computer Supported Education (CSEDU 2012) which was organized and sponsored by the Institute for Systems and Technologies of Information, Control and Communication (INSTICC) and technically co-sponsored by SPEE (Portuguese Society for Engineering Education), IGIP (International Society for Engineering Education), ROLE (Responsive Open Learning Environments) and IFIP TC3 (International Federation for Information Processing - Technical Committee 3 - ICT and Education).
CSEDU has become an annual meeting place for presenting and discussing learning paradigms, best practices and case studies that concern innovative computer-supported learning strategies, institutional policies on technology-enhanced learning including learning from distance, supported by technology. The Web is currently a preferred medium for distance learning and the learning practice in this context is usually referred to as e-learning or technology-enhanced learning. CSEDU 2012 is expected to give an overview of the state of the art in technology-enhanced learning and to also outline upcoming trends and promote discussions about the education potential of new learning technologies in the academic and corporate world.
This conference brings together researchers and practitioners interested in methodologies and applications related to the education field. It has five main topic areas, covering different aspects of Computer Supported Education, including "Information Technologies Supporting Learning", "Learning/Teaching Methodologies and Assessment", "Social Context and Learning Environments", "Domain Applications and Case Studies" and "Ubiquitous Learning". We believe the proceedings, demonstrate new and innovative solutions, and highlight technical problems in each field that are challenging and worthwhile.
CSEDU 2012 received 243 paper submissions from 58 countries in all continents. A double-blind review process was enforced, with the help of the 297 experts who are members of the conference program committee, all of them internationally recognized in one of the main conference topic areas. Only 29 papers were selected to be published and presented as full papers, i.e. completed work (10 pages in proceedings / 30' oral presentations). 73 papers, describing work-in-progress, were selected as short papers for 20' oral presentation. Furthermore 37 papers were presented as posters. The full-paper acceptance ratio was thus 12%, and the total oral paper acceptance ratio was less than 42%. These ratios denote a high level of quality, which we intend to maintain and reinforce in the next edition of this conference.
The high quality of the CSEDU 2012 programme is enhanced by three keynote lectures, delivered by distinguished guests who are renowned experts in their fields, including (alphabetically): Joseph Trimmer (Ball State University, United States), David Kaufman (Simon Fraser University, Canada) and Hugh Davis (University of Southampton, United Kingdom).
For the fourth edition of the conference we extended and ensured appropriate indexing of the proceedings of CSEDU including DBLP, INSPEC, EI and Thomson Reuters Conference Proceedings Citation Index. Besides the proceedings edited by SciTePress, a short list of papers presented at the conference will be selected for publication of extended and revised versions in the Journal of Education and Information Technologies. Furthermore, all presented papers will soon be available at the SciTePress digital library.
The conference is complemented with two special sessions, focusing on specialized aspects of computer supported education; namely, a Special Session on Enhancing Student Engagement in e-Learning (ESEeL 2012) and a Special Session on Serious Games on Computer Science Learning (SGoCSL 2012).
Building an interesting and successful program for the conference required the dedicated effort of many people. Firstly, we must thank the authors, whose research and development efforts are recorded here. Secondly, we thank the members of the program committee and additional reviewers for their diligence and expert reviewing. We also wish to include here a word of appreciation for the excellent organization provided by the conference secretariat, from INSTICC, who have smoothly and efficiently prepared the most appropriate environment for a productive meeting and scientific networking. Last but not least, we thank the invited speakers for their invaluable contribution and for taking the time to synthesize and deliver their talks.