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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.

2016. Vol. 17. No. 5

Full text of the journal

Editor’s Foreword (Vadim Radaev)
P. 9–12

New Translations

Max Weber
Economy and Society: Essays on Interpretive Sociology (an excerpt)
P. 13–29

This book is the first Russian translation of the first volume of Max Weber’s classic work Economy and Society. Volume I uncovers the methodology of Max Weber’s interpretive sociology in general. This volume defines the fundamental concepts of sociology, describes the main principles of economic sociology, explains statements about the sociology of power, and indicates directions for the development of social stratification. Therefore, the volume provides readers with systemized tools and a specific lens for understanding issues, which social sciences generally care about, that are discussed in the following volumes of this outstanding work.
Journal of Economic Sociology has published a short excerpt from the first chapter, “The fundamental Concepts of Sociology,” from Volume I, Sociology. This chapter presents a program for interpretive sociology, including its substantial and methodic fundamentals. The chapter also indicates how sociology is related to similar disciplines. Social action is key for understanding sociology.

Allen W. Johnson, Timothy Earle
The Evolution of Human Societies: From Foraging Group to Agrarian State (an excerpt)
P. 30–76

Is it appropriate to claim that population growth is caused by improvements in people’s standards of living? How can we explain the evolution and growth of the complexity of human societies? The book The Evolution of Human Societies: From Foraging Group to Agrarian State seeks to illuminate these and other questions. The authors have an ambitious aim to formulate integral evolutionary theory suitable to account for the diversity of modern societies. Drawing upon archeological and historical evidence with a rich body of ethnographic data, including their own fieldwork, Т. Earle and А. Johnson present 19 case studies that range widely over time and space. The primary engine for sociocultural evolution is population growth and the associated economic and social changes. The authors argue that society development can be understood through the examination of three connected processes—intensification, integration, and stratification.
Journal of Economic Sociology has published the introductory chapter of the book. In this part of the book, the authors critically revise anthropological theories that explain society development. They reconstruct the logic and point out the limitations of two dominant research lines: linear evolutionary theories and cultural relativism. Other authors describe the Doomsday equation and suggest their interpretation of drastic population growth within a short period. Combining the social evolutionism approach and economic anthropology, Т. Earle and А. Johnson explicate why sociocultural evolution is rooted in the social and political organization of the economy.

Beyond Borders

Yulia Krasheninnikova, Olga Makarova
Direct Selling Organizations as Informal Healthcare Providers in Russia
P. 77–102

This article analyzes how and why direct selling organizations (DSOs), or network companies, or multi-level marketing (MLM) companies can be counted among informal healthcare providers. The paper is based on the results of a qualitative field study conducted in 2013 in the Perm region as part of a larger project on the description of informal healthcare in Russia. The authors used semi-structured interviews with salespeople and observations of their workplaces, as well as interviews with doctors and local residents.
Although network marketing of health products in Russia is not widely practiced, it demonstrates vitality in adverse conditions. Unlike many other countries, Russia’s main players are domestic companies that have successfully mastered imported direct selling technologies. The research reveals that these DSOs mimic healthcare institutions by not only medicalizing their products but also providing participants a diagnosis, medical advice, complementary and alternative medicine services, as well as education and promotion of healthy lifestyles. The salespeople’s self-presentation is ambiguous: They criticize official healthcare but demonstrate loyalty to the conventional biomedical model at the same time.
This medical mimicry can be considered the side effect of marketing efforts to stimulate sales, the result of the DSOs’ policy to attract salespeople, the manifestation of mimetic isomorphism, and the result of the organizational specificity of DSOs, that is, expansion in the private sphere of members’ lives, including healthcare. In our opinion, none of these reasons is an acceptable explanation, and further work in this direction is necessary to understand informal healthcare markets.

Debut Studies

Ekaterina Bugrezova
The Social Media Contribution into Healthсare Practicesamong Russian Young People
P. 103–129

Today, in Western countries e-Health as a permanently growing process coincides with the distribution of the empowerment phenomenon. In addition, the gradual transformation of the relationship between doctors and patients is notable in Europe and America, especially among the younger generation. This could refer to the fact that young people actively use the Internet to research medical issues while strengthening their own healthcare responsibility. Taking into account the fact that Western youth have a high level of trust in online information, social media can influence important decision making by young people in terms of their health and visiting healthcare facilities. This tendency has an ambiguous impact, as there is always a chance of using questionable information, which is not approved by medical specialists. Currently, there is not enough literature showing how Russian young people use social media to get information about health and treatment. Thus, research focuses on e-Health in Russia and tries to find out the social media contribution to different healthcare practices among Russian young people. The research was conducted in two stages using quantitative and qualitative methodologies: An analysis of the secondary data (Marketing Index TNS Russia data) was performed, which supported the analysis of the primary data collected from 15 semi-structured interviews of young people aged from 16 to 29 years old who live in Moscow or the Moscow region who used the Internet as a source of information about health and medicine.

New Books

Natalya Kolesnik
The Growing Points of Studies in Informal Economy or Objectifying the Subjective. Book Review: Barsukova S. (2015) Essays on Informal Economy, or Sixteen Shades of Gray, Moscow: NRU HSE
P. 130–137

The economic development of Russian society during the post-Soviet period has interested not only economists and politicians but also sociologists. This interest explains the rise in sociological studies of informal economic practices and the intensive growth in this field of research in Russia over the last 20 years. “Essays on Informal Economy, or Sixteen Shades of Gray” by Professor Svetlana Barsukova of Moscow NRU HSE has supported previous studies. In her book, the author seeks answers to the following questions: What is specific about the informal economy in Russia? What characterizes the relations between business and government? What are the reasons for the expansion of the informal economy? Firstly, the author tries to show the reader how the informal economy is understood and analyzed by various authors in different books. Secondly, she puts forward her personal views on the phenomenon of the informal economy. The book can be read by anyone, even by those who have just started exploring economic sociology and economics.


Tamara Kusimova
Qualitative Research as a Moral Career. VII Annual Conferenceon Methods in Social Sciences “Sociological Research Methods (A Tribute to Alexander Kryshtanovsky),” September 23−24, 2016, Moscow, Russia
P. 138–146

The VII Annual Conference on Methods in Social Sciences “Sociological Research Methods (A Tribute to Alexander Kryshtanovsky)” was held from September 23 to 24, 2016, at the National Research University Higher School of Economics in Moscow. The aim of the conference was to highlight the main trends and challenges in methods for collecting and analyzing sociological data, as well as to discuss the most important issues concerning the methodology and methods of acquiring knowledge about modern society. A special section of the conference was devoted to the methodology in qualitative research. Several main issues were discussed, including the validity of qualitative research results, gaining access to gatekeepers and hard-to-find informants, and ethical and moral dilemmas in field research.
The keynote speakers of the section were A. Vanke (Institute of Sociology Russian Academy of Science), E. Zdravomyslova (European University at Saint Petersburg), V. Ilin (Saint Petersburg State University), I. Kozlov (St. Tikhon’s Orthodox University, Institute of Sociology Russian Academy of Science), I. Kozina (National Research University Higher School of Economics), Claudio Morrison (Middlesex University, UK), M. Podlesnaya (St. Tikhon’s Orthodox University, Institute of Sociology Russian Academy of Science), M. Semina (Moscow State University), I. Tartakovskaya (IS RAS), A. Temkina (European University at Saint Petersburg), I. Shteinberg (Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences), and S. Yaroshenko (European University at Saint Petersburg).

Supplements (in English)

Patrik Aspers
Interview with Patrik Aspers: “Since There Are So Many Theories, We Should Focus on Really Good Empirical Research Instead” 
P. 147–158

Patrik Aspers is professor of sociology at Uppsala University (Uppsala Universitet). Maya Shmidt conducted this interview in Uppsala, Sweden, in September 2016.
Aspers introduces readers to different academic paths by presenting his own experience of becoming a sociologist and comparing the structural and cultural differences between the American, British, and European academic contexts. During the conversation, Aspers discusses the field of economic sociology and highlights opportunities for interdisciplinary cooperation. Particularly, he notes that sociology has exported certain ideas to other disciplines, and due to the field’s enduring tradition, extensive theoretical literature and ability to distinguish between and combine different research methods, there is no danger of “blurring” within cooperative efforts.
Influenced by Harrison White’s theory, Aspers develops a typology of different market forms. He argues that markets, when taken apart, do not look the same: they take different forms, and each requires its own construction of theoretical concepts that can account for the variety in the empirical reality.
Aspers emphasizes the significance of clarifying and reflecting upon knowledge as elements of pre-study (“vorstudie”) when it comes to qualitative research. He develops an empirical phenomenology method and presents it as a step-by-step procedure for conducting qualitative research.

Emilia Chengelova
Holistic Approach for Studying the Shadow Economy. The Case of Bulgaria
P. 159–185

The shadow economy is one of the most provocative areas in current research. The present article summarizes the basic theoretical issues discussed by Bulgarian sociologists to measure and explain the shadow economy in one typical postsocialist country. The brief historical review provided here illustrates that 1) the shadow economy is the most appropriate construct for explaining activities done with violations of formal rules; 2) there are four basic categories of methodological approaches for studying the scope and forms of the shadow economy; and 3) if applied correctly and in compliance with methodological rules, sociology and social survey research is capable of generating reliable and scientifically sound knowledge about the shadow economy. The current article reveals a successful attempt to design and implement a holistic research methodology for studying the shadow economy through typical instruments of sociology. The methodological experience accumulated by one Bulgarian team (2010–2015) provides solid evidence that sociology and social survey research has rich epistemological and cognitive potential for collecting empirical data about the nature and specific functions of shadow practices, as well as the incentives that drive social actors to participate in shadow activities.

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