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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.

2017. Vol. 18. No. 3

Full text of the journal

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

New Texts

Anna Temkina
“Economy of Trust” in Commercial Obstetric Care:  Educated Urban Women as Consumers and Patients
P. 14–53

This article provides insight into the shaping of the position of urban educated women, which is twofold: As reflexive actors and consumers, these women make an informed choice and pay for childbirth services in maternity hospitals; however, as patients, they trust to their “own” reliable obstetrician. I carry out a contemporary sociological discussion on patients’ choices and their limitations under the influence of neoliberalism and the commercialization of medical care, including for childbirth. Research on paid childbirth care in maternity hospitals is based on in-depth interviews with 35 mothers and 14 obstetricians and midwives who work in commercial health care, as well as observation in two hospitals (St. Petersburg 2015). The empirical data give evidence concerning mothers’ perception of childbirth as an extremely risky process wherein guaranties of safety are needed. These mothers choose the paid service due to their lack of trust of free-ofcharge medicine and the abstract social role of professionals. To cover the cost of childbirth, women (parents) calculate their family resources; they consider the expenditure as heavy budget burden, but they perceive it as inevitable for them. To choose and receive reliable service, they collect thorough information about the reputations of maternity hospitals and obstetricians. After her decision is made, the future mother meets with an obstetrician and midwife in person to negotiate the conditions of delivery and draw up a contract; this has the effect of personalizing the relationship. Attitudes toward professionalism are based on information, experience, and affects. Once the professionals have gained her trust, the future mother delegates them control; the issues of payment are mostly reduced to the brackets of medical interactions. However, women do not behave as passive recipients of medical care; rather, they try to be more active in the negotiations. Ultimately, women act as both consumers of medical services and as patients, establishing trust in professionals by purchasing the care. Together, these phenomena work as an “economy of trust”.

New Translations

Wilfred Dolfsma
Government Failure. Society, Markets and Rules (excerpts)
P. 54–69

This book is devoted to government failures, which imply that the government cannot fulfil its key obligations related to formulating rules. Representing the interests of society, the government establishes rules as frameworks within which market actors should act. However, while market failures have been discussed intensively in the economic literature, government failures are often neglected by scholars. In this book, the author tries to fill this gap through detailed consideration of the meanings of and reasons for government failures.

The Journal of Economic Sociology publishes the first chapter, “Introducing Government Failure”, and the second chapter, “How Market and Society Relate”. In the first chapter, the author formulates the research problem and describes the structure of the book. The second chapter investigates how market and society are interrelated from three theoretical perspectives, as follows: society and markets as separate entities, markets embedded in society, and society within the market. The author also explores how markets and governments may contribute to social welfare. The case of healthcare reforms is used for this purpose.

Beyond Borders

Svetlana Tulaeva, Maria Tysiachniouk
Between Oil and Reindeer. Benefit Sharing Agreements  between Oil Companies and Indigenous People in Russian Arctic and Subarctic Regions
P. 70–96

This research provides insight into various modes of benefit-sharing agreements between oil and gas companies and indigenous people in the Russian Arctic and Subarctic regions. We indicate three main modes of benefit sharing, as follows: (1) paternalism, (2) corporate social responsibility, and (3) partnership. The paternalistic mode is characterized by a hierarchical type of interaction, which implies a patron and clients. This system of obligations is based on practices of informal interaction, and the decision-making process is neither formal, nor transparent. The mode of corporate social responsibility aims to raise investment attractiveness and the productive efficiency of the company, supporting its image as a socially responsible operator. In this mode, the key decisions are made by the company executives in view of state legislation, corporate policies, international standards, and investors’ demands. Finally, the partnership mode suggests equal opportunities for dialogue and decision making for all sides involved — the state authorities, companies, local people, and experts. It is based on global standards that protect the rights of local indigenous communities. This work examines the factors that influence those modes and their efficiency. It asks what is most important in their making: Is it regional specifics, dependency from international actors, details of corporate policies, or the level of local community organization? What instruments of benefit sharing turn out to be most favorable in the Russian context? Our research was conducted using qualitative research methods in three regions of Russia (Nenets Autonomous Okrug [NAO], Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug, and Sakhalin). The article is based on the materials of several field expeditions to NAO in 2011 and 2017, Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug in 2014, and Sakhalin in 2013 and 2015. The main sources for analysis were interviews with representatives of oil companies, authorities, indigenous peoples, and the expert community. A total of 130 semi-structured interviews were conducted. In addition, we used materials from observation and document analysis (Russian legislation, international standards, and corporate reports).

Professional Reviews

Anastasia Kazun
How Does Economy in News Affects News in Economy?  A Review of Theories on the Specific Features and Role  of Economic Discussions in the Media
P. 97–139

Economic debates in the media and their impact on the economic and political behavior of people are underexamined if compared with similar studies of political or social issues. This paper is aimed at reviewing how economic news are reflected in the academic literature and exploring connections between media, public opinions, and the economic situations. The paper is based on research articles indexed in international citation bases. The most recent relevant texts are selected based on their citations. A special attention is paid to the negative bias in economic news. The author focuses upon the research of economic debates in the media during the financial crisis of 2008. This case is particularly important, because much of the existing research on this topic is devoted to this economic shock. The author concludes that that people's interest in economic information increases when economic situation is instable. At the same time, the character of people's perceptions can affect the media debates.

New Books

Tamara Kusimova
Managing Uncertainty: How Trend-forecasting Agencies Conquer the Global Fashion Industry
Book Review: Lantz J. (2016) The Trendmakers: Behind the Scenes of the Global Fashion Industry, London, UK; New York: Bloomsbury Academic.
P. 130–139

This article presents a review of Jenny Lantz’s book The Trendmakers: Behind the Scenes of the Global Fashion Industry. The book engages in a sociological and economic inquiry into trend forecasting in the fashion industry. Trend forecasting is a special kind of business that focuses on predicting future trends in consumers’ taste. Making such decisions usually seems intuitive: In distinguishing between “fashionable” and “unpopular” products, people commonly rely on subjective opinions. Furthermore, the fashion business is an example of extremely turbulent aesthetic goods market in which any forecasting seems difficult. Using the results obtained from nearly one hundred in-depth interviews, Lantz unveils the magic of the trend-hunting business. Referring to classical sociological theories of fashion, including Pierre Bourdieu’s theory of power and symbolic capital, Lantz describes how trend forecasting agencies — including global organizations like WGSN and Trend Union, as well as local companies like Promostyl — achieve legitimacy by working with consultants, buyers, fashion designers, and social influencers. The book reveals that trend forecasting is not about future-telling; rather, it is more about “future-feeling” based on shared perceptions of class, status, and taste. Lantz also provides an insight into developing markets of BRICS countries, including China, Brazil, India, and Russia. Although the section on Russia is quite brief, it contains useful information about big retailers and Russian designers, and it may be useful for further research on the Russian market. The book may attract sociologists, economists, and business students, as well as a wider audience interested in the global fashion industry.


Gleb Novikov
History of Economy and Economy of History 
XVIIIth April International Academic Conference on Economic and Social Development,  11–14 April 2017, Moscow, Russia
P. 140–144

The XVIIIth April International Academic Conference on Economic and Social Development took place on 11–14 April 2017 at the National Research University Higher School of Economics (Moscow). A section on “Economic History” was organized in the conference and chaired by M. A. Davydov, professor of the School of Historical Sciences at the HSE. A wide range of topics was discussed, including economic nationalism in Europe, the saving behavior of peasants, soviet industrialization, and German emigration from Russia. Most presenters used of two approaches—either the historical study of economy or economic study of history. While the former tries to reveal how certain economic phenomena have resulted from the historical processes, the latter suggests looking more closely at various historical situations and exploring them in depth. Combinations of these two methods proves to be highly productive.

The main speakers in this section were M. N. Baryshnikov (Herzen University, St. Petersburg), M. A. Davydov (HSE, Moscow), M. G. Fiveyskaya (RANEPA, Moscow), A. Magliulo (UNINT, Rome), A. V. Mamayev (Institute of Russian History of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow), D. V. Maslov (MSRU, Moscow), N. Nenovski (Université de Picardie Jules Verne, Amiens), S. A. Salomatina (MSU, Moscow), D. E. Shestakov (Bank of Russia, Moscow). S. B. Ulianova (St. Petersburg Polytechnic University, St. Petersburg), T. Y. Valetov (MSU, Moscow), and A. Y. Volodin (MSU, Moscow).

Ilya Pavlov
Demography and Labor Markets 
XVIIIth April International Academic Conference on Economic and Social Development, 11–14 April 2017, Moscow, Russia
P. 145–151

The XVIIIth April International Academic Conference on Economic and Social Development, which was organized at the Higher School of Economics, included a section on “Demography and Labor Markets”. The first day was devoted to the problems of registration and methods of analysis of population data, migrants in contemporary Russia and their integration into the Russian economy, and the use of data mining tools in demographic research. On the second day, there was a discussion of workers’ subjective well-being, unemployment, and global and regional labor markets.

The list of speakers included B. Rao and P. Singh (both: Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee), A. Sulaberidze (Ilia State University, Georgia), S. Biryukova, D. Gizdatullin, D. Ignatov, E. Mitrofanova, A. Muratova, E. Papanova, E. Polyakova, A. Rezyapova, A. Shevchuk, E. Soroko, D. Strebkov, E. Vardanyan, and N. Voronina (National Research University Higher School of Economics), Y. Florinskaya and I. Kazenin (Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration under the President of the Russian Federation), Т. Blinova, K. Doronina, P. Sushko (Russian Academy of Sciences), and M. Giltman (Tyumen State University). Russian experts in labor economics, demography, and math, namely S. Roshchin, A. Vishnevsky, L. Smirnykh, V. Gimpelson, M. Denisenko, R. Kapelyushnikov, A. Makarov, and N. Mkrtchyan, also took part in the discussion.

Stanislav Moiseev, Ilya Karpov, Karina Miftahutdinova, Oksana Mikhailova
Social Network Analysis in the Context of Various Scientific and Applied Disciplines 
XVIIIth April International Academic Conference on Economic and Social Development, 11–14 April 2017, Moscow, Russia
P. 152–159

A “Network Analysis” section was arranged at the XVIIIth International Academic Conference on Economic and Social Development at the Higher School of Economics on 11–12 April 2017. For the third year, this section invited scholars from sociology, political science, management, mathematics, and linguistics who use network analysis in their research projects. During the sessions, speakers discussed the development of mathematical models used in network analysis, studies of collaboration and communication networks, networks’ influence on individual attributes, identification of latent relationships and regularities, and application of network analysis for the study of concept networks.

The speakers in this section were E. V. Artyukhova (HSE), G. V. Gradoselskaya (HSE), M. Е. Erofeeva (HSE), D. G. Zaitsev (HSE), S. A. Isaev (Adidas), V. A. Kalyagin (HSE), I. A. Karpov (HSE), A. P. Koldanov (HSE), I. I. Kuznetsov (HSE), S. V. Makrushin (Financial University), V. D. Matveenko (HSE), A. A. Milekhina (HSE), S. P. Moiseev (HSE), Y. V. Priestley (HSE), A. V. Semenov (HSE), I. B. Smirnov (HSE), D. A. Kharkina (HSE, St. Petersburg), C. F. Fey (Aalto University School of Business), and F. López-Iturriaga (University of Valladolid).

Supplements (in English)

Matthew Hull
Interview with Matthew Hull: “It’s All about Real Bureaucracy, Control, and Stability”
P. 160–175

Matthew Hull, associate professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Michigan, was interviewed as an author of his recognized book titled “Government of Paper: The Materiality of Bureaucracy in Urban Pakistan” (2012) by Elena Gudova, PhD student and teacher at the Higher School of Economics.

Matthew Hull discusses the material practices concerning document production and circulation among government employees at the Capital Development Authority (CDA) of Islamabad. According to Prof. Hull, intense documentation is not necessarily a feature of state bureaucracy alone; rather, it is also relevant to the managerial and accountability activities of private corporations. Still, paperwork at government organizations provides a good empirical example of “governmentality practices”.

Apart from their ability to organize things by the power of a word, documents serve as mediators in the relationships among people, objects, and institutions. Storytelling practices may shed some light on the performance of specific files and regulations, which can form physical social order and provide access to different areas of responsibility and sources of power. In that sense, the “virtualization” of documents and their break from materiality does not necessarily reduce the level of bureaucracy; instead, it can create new dimensions of symbolic inequality among bureaucrats and their clients.

According to Hull, the power of bureaucracy (both official and nonofficial) varies cross-culturally and even across companies in the same country. Despite their common British postcolonial legacy, India and Pakistan may serve as good examples of this. The idea of accountability lies at the core of bureaucracy and sets the ground for the emergence of a political economy of paper. Above all, this interpenetration of documents and goods and services production may characterize both capitalistic and noncapitalistic societies.

Elena Gudova
Remove the Document —  and You Remove the Man
Book Review: Hull M. S (2012) Government of Paper: The Materiality of Bureaucracy in Urban Pakistan, Berkeley: University of California Press.
P. 176–183

In his book “Government of Paper”, Matthew Hull questions the way in which bureaucracies are enacted in practice through the analysis of the material products of their lifecycle — documents. Documents constantly engage with different people, places, and things, becoming “bureaucratic objects” that mediate all actors and objects involved. Previously overlooked in theoretical studies, the material side of documents seems to be crucial for shaping the governance of a city and its inhabitants. As writing practices and “graphic artifacts” establish a stable relationship between words and things, discourse, and individuals/objects/environments, a focus on documents can provide a new methodological perspective in the analysis of state bureaucracies.

The book contains six parts: the introduction provides the reader with a theoretical framework on the material practices of bureaucracy establishment. It is followed by five thematic chapters devoted to different types of widely used documents among state bureaucrats of the Islamabad Capital Territory Administration (ICTA) and Capital Development Authority (CDA).

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