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On the web since fall 2000

Journal of Economic Sociology is indexed by Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI) from Web of Science™ Core Collection

Funded by the National Research University Higher School of Economics since 2007.

2013. Vol. 14. No. 1

Full text of the journal

Editor’s Foreword
P. 5–6


Tommaso Pardi
Interview with Tommaso Pardi: «New Geopolitics of Automobile Industry» (translated by Olessia Kirchik)
P. 7–12

New Texts

Ekaterina Moiseeva
Your Last Purchase but Chosen Not by You: How Buyers Make Their Choices in the Market for Funeral Services
P. 13–27

The article is devoted to consumer choice-making in markets of funeral services, influence of social networks on market transactions, and role of emotions in the indicated processes. Choice-making in markets of funeral services is considered in terms of social interaction. Physical death of an individual is not supposed to result in eliminating his (her) social roles. Social role is well known to be generated from social interactions and social situations. Thus, even after his (her) death an individual may be involved into social interactions affecting decisions taken by his (her) family members. Choosing certain goods and services, relatives demonstrate their attitude towards the dead person, and funeral agencies may turn out to have a success in profit seeking.

According to Viviana Zelizer, people don’t stop differentiating significant social relations, performing any economic actions. In markets of funeral services the patterns of prevalent (though not the only ones) social relations include gift-making, i.e. consumers interpret the way how funerals are organized and conducted in terms of gifting. Gift’s appropriateness and funeral’s “worthy” expressed in a specific sum of money, are generally determined by the fact how family members value the dead person.

The paper is built upon the research carried out in Moscow and Saint-Petersburg in 2009–2011 and in Massachusetts (US) in 2011–2012.

New Translations

Neil Fligstein
The Architecture of Markets: An Economic Sociology of Twenty-First-Century Capitalist Societies (translated by Alexander Kurakin)
P. 28–53

Market societies have created more wealth and more opportunities for more people, than any other system of social organization in history. Yet we still have a rudimentary understanding of how markets themselves are social constructions that require extensive institutional support. This groundbreaking work seeks to fill this gap, to make sense of modern capitalism by developing a sociological theory of market institutions. Addressing the dynamism that capitalism brings with it, Neil Fligstein argues that the basic drift of any market and its actors is toward stabilization.
“The Architecture of Markets” represents a major and timely step beyond recent, largely empirical studies that oppose the neoclassical model of perfect competition but provide sparse theory toward a coherent economic sociology. Fligstein offers this theory. His political-cultural approach explains why governments remain crucial to markets and why so many national variations of capitalism endure. States help make stable markets possible by, for example, establishing the rule of law and adjudicating the class struggle. State-building and market-building go hand in hand.
Fligstein shows that market actors depend mightily upon governments and the members of society for the social conditions that produce wealth. He demonstrates that systems favoring more social justice and redis¬tribution can yield stable markets and economic growth as readily as less egalitarian systems.
The journal publishes chapter 1 “Bringing Sociology Back In”, in which Neil Fligstein indicates key questions which the sociology of markets should consider in its purview and which help to define its relation to different versions of economic theory.

Beyond Borders

Robert Frank
The Darwin Economy: Liberty, Competition, and the Common Good (translated by Nikolay Edelman)
P. 54–71

Who was the greater economist — Adam Smith or Charles Darwin? The question seems absurd. Darwin, after all, was a naturalist, not an economist. But Robert Frank, «The New York Times’» economics columnist and best-selling author of «The Economic Naturalist», predicts that within the next century Darwin will unseat Smith as the intellectual founder of economics. The reason, Frank argues, is that Darwin's understanding of competition describes economic reality far more accurately than Smith's. And the consequences of this fact are profound. Indeed, the failure to recognize that we live in Darwin's world rather than Smith's is putting us all at risk by preventing us from seeing that competition alone will not solve our problems.

Smith's theory of the invisible hand, which says that competition channels self-interest for the common good, is probably the most widely cited argument today in favor of unbridled competition — and against regulation, taxation, and even government itself. But what if Smith's idea was almost an exception to the general rule of competition? That's what Frank argues, resting his case on Darwin's insight that individual and group interests often diverge sharply. Far from creating a perfect world, economic competition often leads to «arms races», encouraging behaviors that not only cause enormous harm to the group but also provide no lasting advantages for individuals, since any gains tend to be relative and mutually offsetting.

The good news is that we have the ability to tame the Darwin economy. The best solution is not to prohibit harmful behaviors but to tax them. By doing so, we could make the economic pie larger, eliminate government debt, and provide better public services, all without requiring painful sacrifices from anyone. That's a bold claim, Frank concedes, but it follows directly from logic and evidence that most people already accept.

The journal publishes preface and chapter 1 «Paralysis», in which Robert Frank discusses reasons why the US political system seems to be paralyzed, even in the face of urgent economic problems. According to the author, this paralysis mainly stems from the existing ignorance of the basic facts and logic that govern human behavior.

Debut Studies

Elena Konobeeva
Organized Dissonance and Emotionality: A Case-Study of One Public Kindergarten in Moscow
P. 72–95

The paper proposes a specific case-study of organizational form of public kindergarten. It is aimed at finding out in which way emotionality and formal rules match and how they influence the structure of kindergarten as an organization. Characteristics of bureaucracy and feministic organization which can be found in kindergarten are analyzed from the standpoint of Ashcraft’s concept «organized dissonance». The author provides some comparisons of bureaucratic organization, feministic organization, and organized dissonance based on such parameters as organizational goals, structure of power, rules, division of labour, status of workers, required skills and competences, and relationships between colleagues.

To understand the connection between emotionality and formal rules in kindergarten Konobeeva uses the data collected from participant observation which was conducted at one of public kindergartens in Moscow from 2 April to 12 May 2012. The data include dairy notes and official documents analyzed with the help of open and structured coding.

The author concludes that emotionality and formal rules of kindergarten as an organization are intertwined, and they restrain each other and thereby modify practices and participants’ relationships in kindergarten.

Professional Reviews

Tatiana Karabchuk, Varvara Pankratova
Pay for Women with Kids in Russia: Is There Any Discrimination?
P. 96–110

The paper gives a review of the existing theories and empirical research devoted to the determinants of wage differences for mothers and non-mothers. The paper is aimed at discussing the advantages and disadvantages of the theoretical approaches in explanation of the mother wage penalty in Russia and other countries. The authors try to explain the wage gap by using three theoretical concepts: human capital theory, theory for compensating differences, and discrimination theory. Relying on the previous research results the authors conclude that wage discrimination does exist for mothers in Russia as well as in other countries like Germany, the UK and the USA.

New Books

Svetlana Barsukova
Blat in the USSR or Economy of Favours Book Review on Ledeneva A. 1998. Russia’s Economy of Favours: Blat, Networking and Informal Exchange. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
P. 111–119

Research Projects

Olga Bychkova
Models of Relationships between Universities and Manufactures in Russia
P. 120–123


Yana Krupetz
Sociology of Money
P. 124–133


Vadim Radaev
Twelve Years Later or Some Thoughts on International Conference Embeddedness and Beyond: Do Sociological Theories Meet Economic Realities?, Moscow, October 25–28, 2012
P. 134–139

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