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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.

2017. Vol. 18. No. 1

Full text of the journal

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

New Translations

Max Weber
Economy and Society: An Outline of Interpretive Sociology. Organized Groups (an excerpt)
P. 13–27

This book presents the second volume of Max Weber’s fundamental work Economy and Society, which has been translated into Russian for the first time. The second volume “Organized Groups” uncovers emerging and crystallizing structures of rationality governing how organized groups function during different periods in their history. Concepts such as households, oikos, and ethnic groups and political associations (including parties and state), are defined here.
The Journal of Economic Sociology publishes an excerpt from one of the chapters of the second volume “Organized Groups” — ‘Economic Relationships of Organized Groups.’ This chapter introduces economic action and economically active groups; it classifies organized groups according to their group structure and economic function. It also explains the concept of closed and open economic relationships. In conclusion, it analyzes five types of want satisfaction by economically active groups, resulting in the question of which of those types most closely corresponds to a rational capitalistic economy.
The translation is edited by Leonid Ionin. The chapter is published with the permission of HSE Publishing House.

Beyond Borders

Sergei Mokhov
Handling the Ambiguity and Stigma: Ethnography of a Local Funeral Market
P. 28–50

The Western funeral industry has been delimiting professional stigma since the middle of the 20th century. The business is now open, public, and socially responsible. By contrast, the Russian funeral market is still plagued by myths and stereotypes which lead Russian funeral directors to avoid any form of publicity. As a result, the Russian funeral industry is highly stigmatized. Why does such a situation exist? Can we assume that stigma is perpetuated by the professional community?
The article is based on the author’s ethnographic notes that were collected as a result of undertaking field research in one of the central regions of Russia. In the first part, the paper describes common funeral market models and shows the basic differences present in the Russian model. The second part provides examples from the ethnographic work. In the third part, some notes about funeral market workers are made.
The article’s conclusion consists of several statements. First, that the Russian funeral market has a number of distinctive features: a weak and even spontaneous institutionalization; the prevalence of informal practices; and a dysfunctional infrastructure. In addition, the professional structure is quite closed to the entrance of new players and hierarchically organized according to the principles of a criminal society. This structure can be described in terms of David Stark’s concept of ambiguity, meaning that the funeral market is able to function effectively only if its ambiguous status is preserved. From this perspective, stigma is a tool of conservation of ambiguity.

Debut Studies

Elena Beylina, Daria Kanter, Alexander Klementev, Nadezda Lyalina
Motives and Institutional Conditions of Overwork: Evidence from Moscow Office Workers
P. 51–79

The paper examines the phenomenon of office workers’ overwork. Statistical data demonstrates that modern Russians tend to work more than 40 hours a week, thereby exceeding the legal time allowance that traces its roots back to a period when largescale manual labor was the norm. Increasing proportions of tertiary and quaternary sectors in the Russian economy suggests that the “normal” 40-hour work week is a redundant constraint and workers perceive the “norm” differently. According to the existing literature, overwork can reflect a worker’s personality traits, and institutional or economic changes.
In the research article, an analysis of the motives of overwork is provided. Also, evidence of the differences in perceptions of what constitutes a “normal” work day and mental borders between work and overwork is presented.
It appears that employees perceive overwork not only as overtime work (the number of hours that they work in addition to their contractual hours), it can also be understood as a work-life imbalance, undesirable dramatic change in lifestyle due to the demands of work, and a psychological and/or physical fatigue that can lead to the loss of a “zest for life.”
The following motives were identified: economic (working additional hours for career advancement, salary growth, or at least job security in the future), social (adherence to corporate norms and values), and psychological (escaping from family problems). Special attention was paid to the analysis of institutional working conditions (organizational characteristics) which can lead to overwork.

Professional Reviews

Gleb Novikov
An Outline of the History of Consumer Credit
P. 80–95

This overview presents the characteristics and an analysis of historical forms of consumer crediting. The theoretical basis of the overview is rooted in the cultural and social history of consumer credit—a new and interdisciplinary direction. Because a distinct emphasis is placed on the differences between forms of crediting in certain countries and historical periods, the cultural and social history of credit appears to be the most appropriate for considering forms of consumer credit as they change throughout history.
It also focuses on the history of credit institutional conditions that shaped current forms of crediting. The conditions include legislation regulating debt relations more or less rigorously and forms of credit that have already existed, such as pawnshops, small loans, installment credits, family loans, and open-book credits. Furthermore, the development of consumer credit in the USA and in Europe is analyzed. In the USA, the key processes have been the legalization and legitimation of small loans, the proliferation of installment purchases, and the evolution of credit accounting, whereas in Europe, check credit systems (particularly that which was realized in the United Kingdom by the Provident Clothing and Supply Company) that have no analogues in America are of major interest. Then, the criticisms of credit are taken into account as they appeared throughout its development. The main directions of the counteractions were ethical, anti-capitalist, and anti-American criticism. In the conclusion, it is indicated that research in the history of credit is relevant to both the economists and sociologists in the field and to improving our understanding of the complexity and ambiguity of the various factors that have shaped what we now know as consumer crediting.

New Books

Natalia Conroy
Strange Economies We Live in. Book Review: Gudeman S. (2016) Anthropology and Economy, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 225 p.
P. 96–103

A new book by the economic anthropologist Stephen Gudeman presents the analysis of the balance between self-interest and mutuality in economic relations. It is based on the extensive ethnographic data collected by the author and his colleagues during 20th century. As a theoretical schema Gudeman offers a model of the five institutional spheres: house, community, commerce, finance and meta-finance, in which the combination of the last three characterizes the state of modern capitalism. These spheres, on the one hand, represent a historical sequence that reflects changes in the speed, quantity and level of abstraction in economic transactions. On the other hand, the economic spheres are interdependent and exist simultaneously in close cooperation and conflict. Collaboration works through various linking mechanisms such as rent, barter, money, etc., and conflicts manifest themselves when two sides of the economic life — empathy and competition — confront each other. According to Gudeman, the feature of modern market capitalism is the unrestrained growth of rents. Rents give the banks, manufacturers, sellers of goods and services non-competitive benefits, which are covered by the rhetoric of competition and displace empathy as an important part of economic life. This imbalance creates inequality for household and community as the least protected participants in economic relations. A field anthropologist, Gudeman demonstrates the commitment to disciplinary traditions to advocate and represent the groups under study. For him, these groups are not ethnic, religious or subcultural, but all people living in the mundane rules of the first two economic spheres. Although the measures that Gudeman proposes to restore the balance of self-interest and mutuality can hardly be discussed and certainly won’t be implemented by governments, the book represents an important contribution to the anthropological critique of modern capitalism.


Elena Sokolova
Evidencing Anthropology. 115th Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association, 16–20 November, 2016. Minneapolis, MN. USA
P. 104–109

The Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association is one of the biggest international events in anthropology. Judging by the association’s website, the event offers 750 sessions and includes more than 6,000 participants from all over the world. It is supported by key professional societies, such as the Society for Cultural Anthropology, as well as by numerous special interest groups, sections, and committees.
This article review covers the thematic aspects of the conference; the program’s features, including the scale of the meeting and a focus on anthropologic careers; the attitude of the professional community towards an anthropologist’s role in society and shifts in this attitude; changing aspects of ethnographic methods; and finally some additional observations made by the author during the 115th Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association entitled “Evidence. Accident. Discovery,” held in Minneapolis in November 2016. Attention is paid to educational programs within the community of anthropologists, the practical importance of informal communication at the conference, and the further exploration of public media tools—mainly digital—such as social networks and blogs.
The next Annual Meeting, “Anthropology Matters!” will further promote the active social participation of anthropologists and proceed with “anthropological investigation, translation, influence and action.” This conference matters: it is a great opportunity to stay informed on the actual directions that anthropology and its methodology are taking and it is also a helpful tool to collect diverse professional feedback on anthropological research projects.

Supplements (in English)

Vladimir Zhdanov
Post-Authoritarian Devolution: The Case of the First Italian Republic
P. 110–131

Based on the comparative analysis methodology in its case study form, this article examines the origins, the design, and the consequences of territorial arrangements in Italy, i.e. a country in which settling the stateness problem coincided with the process of post-authoritarian transformation. This experience — particularly the pacted transition (although it was not explicitly pronounced in Italy despite the fact that the state never witnessed any post-war anti-fascist lustration of bureaucracy) — was later used as an example for the Spanish model of democratic reforms, which in turn became paradigmatic. This article traces the long-lasting impact of the historic bloc between the industrial bourgeoisie of the Italian North and the landlords of the Italian South (Mezzogiorno) that contributed to the conservation of the socioeconomic backwardness of the latter. Special attention is given to the influence of the structural constraints of international bipolarity that laid down the external framework of the so-called “Italian anomaly”, that is, the lack for almost half a century left-wing and right-wing political parties’ alteration in power. This anomaly delayed Italian regionalization despite its having been envisaged in the constitution. However, the objective socioeconomic demands of a welfare state created possibilities for the birth of regions in the early 1970s. The emergence of the Northern League gave a new dimension to Italian politics by radically reshaping its traditional structures. These developments, taken together with the cleansing of a corrupted Italian political class, the referendum of 1993, and the new electoral law ultimately caused the demise of the First Republic.

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