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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.

2015. Vol. 16. No. 5

Full text of the journal

Editor’s Foreword (Vadim Radaev)
P. 9–13

New Translations

Luigi Zingales
A Capitalism for the People: Recapturing the Lost Genius of American Prosperity (an excerpt)
P. 14–19

An economist at the University of Chicago, Luigi Zinagles, who was born in Italy, had a chance to observe for himself the negative consequences of high inflation and unemployment coupled with scandalous nepotism and clanship in his homeland. That experience deeply affected his professional interests. In 1988 Zingales moved to the USA, determined to prove that economists are supposed not only to explain the world but also to make it better. In his book “A Capitalism for the People” Zingales shows that American capitalism has been subjected to decay, resulting in the emergence of corrupt systems in Europe and many other countries. The American variety of capitalism developed under unique conditions of merit-based competition. Meritocratic competition contributed to an emerging trust in market and social mobility. However, this trust later was broken through the betrayal by those who were oriented to business elites, whose lobbyist groups began to affect how markets work. Intellectual classes kept silent when that betrayal happened. As a result, we have to choose between ‘redistribution populism’ and ‘business-oriented technocracy.’ However, Zingales suggests a solution associated with pro-market populism and the support of real free and open competition aimed at people’s prosperity and well-being, not aimed solely at serving the interests of large business. Zingales argues that the current situation has a lot in common with American populism in the late nineteenth century. Middle and lower classes have been getting poorer while higher classes have been getting richer. Economic reforms which may make the playing field more even could serve as a solution. Reforms that could be directed against business, primarily large business, actually will turn to be pro-market, according to Zinagles.
Journal of Economic Sociology publishes the last chapter “Pro Market. Not Pro Business,” in which the author summarizes his conclusions and reviews the main ideas of the book.

Beyond Borders

Katerina Guba
Editing the Soviet Sociological Journal: The Problem of Legitimacy in Soviet Sociology
P. 20–45

In this article, we consider journals as organizations from neo-institutional organizational theory (W. Powell, P. DiMaggio, J. Meyer, and B. Rowan). An editorial office as an organization has to solve the problem of legitimacy. In the case of the Soviet journal “Sotsiologicheskiye issledovaniya” (“SotsIs”), the only specifically sociological journal in the USSR, it was done by matching journal headings to the official ideology of Soviet sociology. Drawing on an analysis of the journal headings for the Soviet period (1974–1991), I argue that structural divisions of the journal space reflected legitimate meanings of the Soviet sociology as a discipline which was created for increasing the ideological and administrative efficiency of the Soviet government. Journal categories were a signal of loyalty, which was required for the organization’s survival. During years of social and political changes, the role of the journal has changed. The journal has tried to attract general educated readers as well as visibly demonstrate this commitment to public issues by imitation of the evident features of ‘thick’ magazines and newspapers. In spite of all its changes, the journal has continued to depend on the meaning of sociology as a study of social problems. Externally given classifications have played a principal role in choosing an organizational form for searching and evaluating manuscripts. When the editorial office has clear tasks related to the content of the journal, the most appropriate form is the network form of governance because external reviewing makes it difficult to fill journal space. The organization has to use quasi-reviewing, which performs the function of bringing ‘raw’ manuscripts to contribute to the facade of the journal. The history of the Soviet “SotsIs” is a history of an organization, in which the content was tightly controlled, while control of the evaluation of manuscripts remained on the periphery.

Debut Studies

Alina Dolgova, Ekaterina Mitrofanova
Leaving the Parental Home in Russia: Intergenerational Aspects
P. 46–76

Leaving home is a key life event in the transition to adulthood, but it has been relatively less explored in demographic and sociological studies of Russia. The modernization of socio-demographic behavior which started in the 1960s in Europe is described as the Second Demographic Transition. This began in Russia only in the 1990s. One characteristic of the Second Demographic Transition is that young people spend more time on education, career building, and self-realization: they use a wide range of opportunities of today’s world. Current young adults prefer non-marital unions, which postpones starting a family. As a result Russian young adults (born in 1975–1986) tend to leave their parents’ home at later ages than their predecessors (born in 1930–1974). The aim of this research is to examine the changes in the timing of leaving home in the perspective of four Russian generations, and set up a new model for understanding leaving home in Russia. At what age do today's young people leave the parental home, compared with previous generations? What factors influence the age at which children leave their parents’ home? To answer these questions, we used the panel data of the Russian part of Generations and Gender Survey (GGS-panel: 2004, 2007, and 2011). We analyze the leaving home experience of men and women aged 15–35 years, who were born in 1930–1986. The sample size is in total 5451 respondents. Our main method of analysis is event history analysis (Cox regressions, life tables). The data illustrate that generation cohort and social variables influence the strategies of leaving home. The main finding of our research is that leaving the parental home depends on generation, and the changes of the model of leaving home are similar to European countries which experienced the Second Demographic Transition.

Professional Reviews

Tatiana Karabchuk, Anita Moiseeva, Natalia Soboleva
A Review of International and Russian Methodologiesto Estimate the Economic Damage Caused by Death in the Road Accidents
P. 77–101

This article provides a review of approaches used to assess the costs of social and economic damage caused by fatalities in road accidents in Russia and other countries. The urgency of the problem is shaped by the high mortality rates of people involved in road crashes in our country compared to other countries. At the moment, absolute and relative numbers of both car accidents and fatalities in Russia are much higher than in European Union countries or in Canada and the United States. At the same time, the estimated costs of economic damage from the loss of people’s lives is much lower in Russia than in those other countries. The underestimation of human life value was discussed in details in our previous publication [Karabchuk, Nikitina, Remezkova, Soboleva 2014], where we concluded that the cost of human life in Russia is equal to the value of human life in developing countries, despite the positive trend of increases in human capital in recent years in Russia [Kapelyushnikov 2012]. The social and economic consequences of the underestimation of the value of human life can have negative effects on an individual and a country: the quality of life of Russian citizens could deteriorate and the state would lose economically active population, moreover people might feel less satisfied with their lives and less happy. Thus, it is important to develop a theoretical and methodological framework for assessing the cost of deaths caused by fatal road accidents in Russia. This article raises the question of low road safety in Russia and insufficient discussion of its consequences in the scientific literature. Comparative analysis of socio-economic damage estimates in Europe and the methods to assess them will allow us a secondary methodology of evaluating the damage caused by road accidents. That in turn will help to reduce mortality rates through the implementation of road safety programs. We review international experience and compare it with current Russian methodology; after that we summarize the results of comparative analysis and provide recommendations on how to improve methods of evaluation of socio-economic damage caused by car accidents.

New Books

Natalia Conroy
Where the Global Market Is. Book Review: Çalişkan K. (2010) Market Threads: How Cotton Farmers and Traders Create a Global Commodity, Princeton: Oxford: Princeton University Press
P. 102–110

Koray Çalişkan is among those few scholars (such as D. MacKenzie, A. Preda, D. Muniesa), to have recently conducted pioneering work in the field of social studies of finance (SSF). In his highly innovative book “Market Threads”, the author presents an impressive example of how it is possible to study a global market by using micro-methods and, particularly multi-sited ethnography, which anthropologist George Marcus described in the mid-1990s as a tool for understanding phenomena that we couldn’t fully grasp in just one place [Marcus 1995]. Çalişkan chose the cotton market for his study and ‘followed’ cotton through seven ‘sites’ across Turkey, Egypt and the USA. He argues that in market studies a researcher’s main goal is to show how prices are realized, and he introduces a view of the global cotton market as a multiplicity of regional market platforms relying heavily on ‘human bridges’ (or, networks). Agents at each end of these ‘bridges’ routinely generate indicative prices: these are ‘prosthetic devices’ designed to help agents ‘on the ground’ and set actual prices. Çalişkan lets us see this price realization on different levels and writes an exciting ethnographic story woven from the real voices of international merchants, regional traders and local farmers. Additionally, his book provides informative reading for anyone interested in the history of neoliberal reform in the Middle East. Unfortunately though, as with any first attempt to deploy a new and ‘muddy’ methodological tool, the study hardly answers the question of how multi-sited ethnography itself was conducted.

Supplements (in English)

Sophie Dubuisson-Quellier
Market Mechanism and Consumer Choice: An Interview with Sophie Dubuisson-Quellier
P. 111–117

The following conversation with Sophie Dubuisson-Quellier took place during the 12th Conference of the European Sociological Association (Prague, Czech Republic, August 25−28, 2015), where Sophie chaired a session called “Food: Meals and Eating Patterns.” With her colleague Gojard Séverine (French National Institute for Agricultural Research), she presented research on food waste called “Food Waste: from Household Coordination to Cooking Competencies”. In her interview, Sophie shared her research interests and described her recent papers which deal with many aspects of consumer behavior. Sophie illustrates the way social movement organizations interfere in market mechanisms, reshaping the relations between producers and consumers and putting pressure on companies. She also outlined the most common social norms concerning food consumption and discussed possible sanctions for not adhering to them. Sophie describes how patterns of food consumption vary with regard to an individual’s income level, socio-economic class and particular stage in the life course. Further, she clarifies the agenda of modern fair-trade organizations and their role in distribution across markets. Finally Sophie shares her views on urgent topics in modern economic sociology, as well as recommends several readings on the sociology of consumption which may be helpful for those interested in this sphere.

Ivan Zabaev, Anna Zueva, Yuliya Koloshenko
Humility and The Gift: The Elective Affinity of Institutions and Ethics in Orthodox Parishes
P. 118–139

This article analyzes the economic ethics of modern Orthodox laity belonging to the Russian Orthodox Church. The article is based on an array of interviews with priests, and Orthodox laypersons (as well as non-believers and Catholics for comparison purposes). Data were collected via several projects from 2004 to 2014. Data (in-depth interviews from the recent projects 2012−2014 amount to 395) are analyzed by means of the grounded theory methods, including substantial and theoretical coding, theoretical sampling, and constant comparative method. Theories used include the concept of elective affinity between the motivation of economic activities and types of economic organization (Weber) and the typology of economic systems by K. Polanyi. This study attempts to show the elective affinity between the ethics of humility and the principle of economic integration known as reciprocity networks of mutual support of both churched and unchurched Russians, centered in the parishes and functioning on the basis of the logic of gift giving. Such a coupling of motivation and informal economy, invisible to the GDP, performs important functions in contemporary Russia which has a mix of economic types (such as generating of social capital or development of moral density and solidarity in local communities. They in it’s turn fulfill some economic functions — i.e. avoiding getting into the debt bondage or some others).The article deals with (the activated by humility ethics) reciprocity and its consequences for the community seeks to challenge the established view on Orthodox Christianity as an ‘unproductive’ culture, hindering economic development.

Elena Gudova
“All Power to the Imagination!”: A Leftist Critique of Bureaucratic Violence,Technologies and RationalityBook Review: Graeber D. 2015. The Utopia of Rules: On Technology, Stupidity,and the Secret Joys of Bureaucracy. New York: Melville House
P. 140–149

In the preface to The Utopia of Rules, David Graeber states that his book does not attempt to build up a new theoretical approach to bureaucracy but it is rather an essay collection with a focus on three bureaucratic features: violence, technology and rationality. However, the cornerstone of bureaucracy seems to rest on both unexpected and anticipated effects of creativity and imagination, whether related to the work of government officials and origins of sovereignty, force fields and contemporary science development, or superheroes and comic book history. Graeber not only illustrates why our life has been organized around filling out forms (p. 44), but gives it a wider scale through an anthropological understanding of bureaucratic practices and technologies. The interesting thing is that he never gives a precise definition of what bureaucracy really is and where we can find it, but in the disenchanted modernity and modern capitalist economy it seems to be omnipresent.
The book is divided into four thematic parts: the first is the structural violence and deliberate stupidity of bureaucratic institutions; the second questions scientific development and claims that we have moved from poetic to bureaucratic technologies; the third one is rationality and playfulness and their relation to human nature; and the last one (in an Appendix) considers the link between creativity and violence and the role of bureaucracy in it.

Marina Spirina
Governance, Markets and Institutions: Russia and Germany Compared 27 September — 10 October 2015, Institute for East European Studies,Free University of Berlin, Berlin, Germany
P. 150–156

The Summer School “Governance, Markets and Institutions: Russia and Germany Compared” was held from September 27 to October 10, 2015 under the coordination of the Institute for East European Studies, Free University of Berlin (Berlin) with the participation of Hertie School of Governance (Berlin), German Institute for Economic Research (Berlin), Higher School of Economics (Moscow) and European University at St. Petersburg (St. Petersburg). The Volkswagen Foundation (Volkswagen Stiftung) provided the Summer School with necessary financial support. Around thirty doctoral students and postdoctoral scholars (both EU and non-EU) from a variety of disciplines including sociology, political science, economics, social anthropology, law, history and geography took part in this academic event. In addition, eight Russian MA students from social and political sciences were admitted as participants with special support from the Higher School of Economics.
The keynote speakers and lecturers from the Higher School of Economics (Moscow) were Alexander Chepurenko, Victoria Antonova, Fuad Aleskerov, Lilli DiPuppo, Andrei Melville, Yuval Weber, Andrei Yakovlev, Vladimir Zuev, Alexey Zakharov and Christopher Gerry. Nikita Lomagin presented his research on behalf of the European University at St. Petersburg (St. Petersburg). Among the participants from the Free University of Berlin (Berlin) were Katharina Bluhm, Carsten Schröder, Sabine Kropp, Tanja Börzel, Klaus Hoffmann-Holland, Philipp Engler, Klaus Segbers and Aron Buzogany. A number of scientists and researchers from other universities also took part in this academic event, including Klaus Desmet (Southern Methodist University, Texas), Volker Schneider (University of Konstanz, Konstanz), Nikolaus Wolf (Humboldt University, Berlin), Panu Poutvaara (Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Munich), David Woodruff (London School of Economics and Political Science, London).

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