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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. 4

Full text of the journal

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

New Texts

Irina Sizova, Lyudmila Leonova, Andrea Hense
The Precariousness of Employment and Labor Incomes in Russia and Germany: Self-Perception of Wage Workers
P. 14–59

The issue of social inequality has always been a focus of sociological knowledge. Meanwhile, extensive discussions about new forms of inequality and social participation were driven by changes in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. As a result, the topic of “precarity” has become more relevant in recent times. The reasons for this interest are the growing tensions in labor markets and problems of employment systems in various countries. The purpose of this article is to study the precarious opportunities for employees in the context of an analysis of their self-assessments of the risks of job losses and future labor incomes, as well as to compare this self-perception between those employed in Russia and Germany. The aim of the comparative analysis is the identification of social factors of the precarious employment in market economies, and to achieve an understanding of the degree of social inequality from the point of employment participation in Russia. The article starts with an examination of the theoretical foundations. These foundations are a modern interpretation of the sociological theory of the social structure of society, the development of resources, and actor theories. The model of the subjective perception of inequality A. Hense is under consideration. In the model, the conceptual provisions of methodological individualism of S. Lindenberg and P. Burdieu’s methodological relativism are integrated. The data of the Russia Longitudinal Monitoring Survey — Higher School of Economics (RLMS-HSE) and German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP) were used for multivariate analysis. Determinants (production, legal, contextual) were studied using generalized ordered probit models with random effects. As a result, the authors conclude that the precariousness of employment and incomes in Russia captures a large proportion of wage earners and is fixed throughout the observation period. A higher level of education weakens anxiety, although in Russia it should be more significant than in Germany. Workers are a risk group in the self-perception of precarity, but the situation in Russia is changing if differentiated professional groups are evaluated. Working conditions depend on the system of social support for workers and on the social capital of workers (family support and the origin of the worker). The selfperception of precariousness among workers increases if the number of dependents is high. The size of the enterprise has a different impact on self-perception of the precariousness for workers in Russia and Germany. In Russia, women are most susceptible to the perception of precarity, whereas in Germany, such effects are not recorded. In general, the study shows that the reduction of inequality in the involvement of citizens in the labor market in the modern market economy is directly related to the proactive role of the state in the social protection of workers.

Svetlana Yaroshenko
Surplus People, or About the Regime of Social Exclusion in Post-Soviet Russia
P. 60–90

This paper examines the regime of social exclusion in post-socialist conditions: institutionally organized restriction of access to assets necessary to achieve material well-being and to be integrated into the post-Soviet market society. A specific form of social exclusion, formed in the process of market transformation and conditioned by two ways of managing poverty, is considered. First, against the backdrop of deindustrialization in the 1990s, extreme poverty appears, and adaptation to the market occurs through defensive survival strategies from places of employment. Secondly, in the situation of the formation of the market service sector in the 2000s, poverty becomes persistent and its administration is strengthened through the construction of a truncated social citizenship and coercion to low-wage labor. From the results of longitudinal qualitative research from 1999 to 2010 among the registered poor in one Russian region, a comparison is made between structures of opportunities, the practices used, and the achieved results. It is proven that the formation of a market economy of service in post-Soviet society is accompanied by the creation of a layer of “superfluous,” displaced to the periphery of the labor market, compensating low wages with status forms of rewards, and mobilizing resources from other areas to cover low incomes. Ignoring their experience of resistance and consolidating social distance with low wages and a lack of socially acceptable alternatives, help to mystify the process of extracting profit from meaningful activities. The conclusion is substantiated that the exclusion zone will expand until a method of normalizing the market economy of services has been found. A variant of the development of sociological institutionalism is suggested, in which institutions are defined by the degree of concentration of actions for the use of available opportunities.

New Translations

Pierre Bourdieu
Homo Academicus
P. 91–119

In this book, Bourdieu explains how the academic world is constituted. Seeking foundations and forms of power in the humanitarian field, he analyzes the evolution experienced by the higher education system in France leading up to 1968. Bourdieu maps the university field and discusses how it relates to the structure of the power field in general. He also analyzes the structure of the university field and positions that different departments take within it, and he scrutinizes the structure of each department and positions that different scientific fields take within it. Additionally, he is interested in how social hierarchies and academic careers of scholars—from Foucault, Derrida, and Lacan, to figures who are lesser known—are made. In his mapping of the university world, Bourdieu applies constructivist and structuralist approaches. The Journal of Economic Sociology publishes the first chapter “A Book for Burning?” where Bourdieu discusses the methodological foundations of his research, reflecting on opportunities and restrictions for a sociologist that he meets when studying the social world to which he belongs. Bourdieu looks to solve the epistemic issues that a sociologist encounters in the sphere of his responsible work on constructing the object and subject.

Beyond Borders

Vasiliy Anikin
Human Capital: Genesis of Basic Concepts and Interpretations
P. 120–156

The present paper is aimed at considering the evolution of human capital theory. Drawing on the wide range of classical and recent studies, the author shows the link between changes in economies of industrially developed countries and the development of the human capital theory revealed in the expanded list of indicators measuring human capital. The author proposes a periodization of the human capital theory suggesting five phases: (1) the pre-industrial phase (up to the seventeenth century); (2) the phase of mass education (the nineteenth through the first half of the twentieth century); (3) the late industrial period (1960s–1970s, the period when the core of the human capital theory was established); (4) the post-industrial period I (1980s–2000s); and (5) the post-industrial stage II or contemporary period (1980s–2000s). The study reassesses narrow interpretations, which still widely exist among applied economists. Based on the findings of the human development studies, the author argues for a broader list of indicators of human capital, and, specifically, considers human capital through the lens of national development; moreover, this coincides with the core of the given theory. It is shown that the traditional interpretation of human capital, known as years of schooling and training, does not represent the current situation in the economy, and can be extremely harmful to society if it is adopted as the basis of public policy oriented to the formation and growth of society. The present study can be useful to both economists and sociologists focusing on the indicators of human capital and its contribution to the socioeconomic development of a modern society.

Professional Reviews

Dar'ya Sal'nikova
The Reasons for Conflicting Results on the Relationship between Objective and Subjective Well-Being
P. 157–174

The results known in academic literature as the Easterlin paradox state that economic growth does not have any significant effect on happiness in a society in the long term (more than 10 years). These results became a trigger for the subsequent discussion about the gap between objective and subjective measures of well-being. In particular, there is still no consensus on the explanatory mechanism underlying the relationship between objective and subjective well-being. The analysis of transition economies and developing countries gives inconsistent and contradictory results. In this paper, I consider not only the original interpretation of the Easterlin paradox that is true only for the aggregated national level. This paper traces the discussion about the gap between objective and subjective well-being on both national and individual levels. This study aims to define relevant research strategies that explain why the inferences about the relationship between economic well-being and its perception are inconsistent. At the beginning of the paper, I address the origins of the academic discussion on subjective well-being and explain why different disciplines study subjective well-being. The following part of the paper describes briefly the key stages of the discussion to expose the main arguments. The review of key studies allows me to find the obstacles to reaching the consensus on the type of relationship between objective and subjective well-being. In the final part, the author reflects on the research strategies that explain why the effect of economic indicators on subjective well-being varies in different studies.

New Books

Anita Poplavskaya
Disruption of Labor Regime and Precarious Work as Hidden Features of Flexible Capitalism Book Review: Snyder, B. H. (2016) The Disrupted Workplace: Time and the Moral Order of Flexible Capitalism, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
P. 175–187

Benjamin Snyder’s book, “The Disrupted Workplace: Time and the Moral Order of Flexible Capitalism,” is devoted to the subjective perception of time spent at work by the employees who work under the system of flexible capitalism. The author describes two types of time perception: quantitative, expressed in the desire to adhere to clear schedules and plans, and qualitative, marked by the ability to respond quickly to external changes and be constantly ready to act. The first type remains to be the reference for the classical worker and the most convenient one, but it is becoming rare in the labor market. The second type is modern and more universal among employees now, but it has significant shortcomings. The interviews conducted with three groups of respondents (financial professionals, truck drivers, and unemployed job seekers), showed which dilemmas, contradictions, and disorders flexible capitalism has. At the outset, the system seems to provide the employee with opportunities to work freely, be entrepreneurial, change his life for the better, and have flexible working hours. Then it becomes clear that the workers lose themselves in unstructured labor regimes, chaotic tasks, insecure working positions, and the absence of predictable future career paths, which deprives them of the opportunities to develop safely in the sphere of work and to plan their own futures. The situation, according to the author, is critical. “Games with work” forcing the workers to sacrifice their health, personal lives, and sometimes even rights to have a job and get a decent salary, stimulates them to be in a constant race to fulfil current tasks (in the case of financial professionals and drivers) or to search for a job (in the case of the unemployed). In such conditions, people have no opportunity to revitalize physically, morally, and psychologically. It becomes harder for them to critically estimate the modern system of flexible capitalism and their positions within this system. Justifying desynchronized life rhythm and constant change by the avoidance of monotony, boredom, and the routine of classic labor regimes at the micro level, society comes across new forms of inequality (highly skilled specialists are exposed to unemployment on par with low-skilled workers) and problems with job security (work becomes irregular and unpredictable for the majority of the population) at the macro level.

Supplements (in English)

Ashwini Deshpande
Interview with Ashwini Deshpande: “Sticky Floors are Becoming Stickier for Women in the Indian Labor Market” (interviewed by Natalia Soboleva)
P. 188–193

Ashwini Deshpande, professor at the Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi, was interviewed at the XVIII April International Academic Conference on Economic and Social Development, which took place at the Higher School of Economics on April 11–14, 2017. Deshpande gave the honorary lecture “Glass Ceiling or Sticky Floor? Gender Discrimination in Labour Markets.” The interview was prepared by Natalia Soboleva, research fellow of the Laboratory for Comparative Social Research at the Higher School of Economics. Ashwini Deshpande expressed how she became interested in labor discrimination and discussed the specificity of labor market and gender discrimination in India. Speaking about regular wage-salaried workers, she emphasized the problem of “sticky floor,” meaning higher wage gaps at the lower end of the wage distribution, which is a more acute term for developing countries than “glass ceiling.” She also pinpointed the importance of differentiating explained and unexplained components of gender discrimination and explained decomposition methods. In her work “Bad Karma or Discrimination? Male–Female Wage Gaps among Salaried Workers in India,” she demonstrated the growth of the unexplained component of gender discrimination between 1999–2000 and 2009–2010. Furthermore, Ashwini Deshpande commented on the situation of self-employment. In her paper “Entrepreneurship or Survival? Caste and Gender of Small Business in India,” she showed that female-owned enterprises grow faster than male-owned enterprises, which could be explained by the fact that self-employment is self-selected. Also, she described some other aspects of self-employment in India. Finally, Ashwini Deshpande believes that concerted efforts targeted specifically towards reducing gender discrimination need to be made, both by the government and private industries.

Adriana Mica, Marta Olcoń-Kubicka, Katarzyna M. Wyrzykowska
Workshop Review: New Economic Sociology and Sociology: Where Do They Meet? Where Do They Diverge? Warsaw 22–23 May, 2017
P. 194–198

This review presents the theoretical grounding and agenda of a series of works on new economic sociology that was launched in May 2017, in Warsaw, by the Polish Sociological Association’s recently constituted Economic Sociology Section. The workshop series comprises three annual meetings held in the second part of May. The long-term plan is to explore the relationship between sociology and new economic sociology by considering specific theoretical problems and, eventually, research sites. The first meeting, which was held this year, was a general warm-up and an attempt to establish the nature of the borders between new economic sociology and the discipline of sociology, and, to a certain extent, even economics. The second meeting, scheduled for 2018, aims to investigate the modalities of reacting to organizational decline or economic crises that the new economic sociology may be considered to have highlighted in addition to Albert O. Hirschman’s “Exit, Voice, and Loyalty.” The third meeting, which will take place in 2019, is planned in relation to a concrete research site that has been explored in new economic sociology, sociology, and anthropology (e.g., consumption; economic practices concerned with work, entrepreneurship, health, and education; or even art and food).

Polina Kozyreva, Elizaveta Blagodeteleva
The 3rd Russia Longitudinal Monitoring Survey of Higher School of Economics User Conference, May 19–20, 2017, Moscow, Higher School of Economics: Conference Report
P. 199–204

The 3rd Russia Longitudinal Monitoring Survey of Higher School of Economics (RLMS-HSE) User Conference, held May 19–20, 2017, at the National Research University Higher School of Economics with the support of Research Center Demoscope, Institute of Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences and University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill, aimed to provide a forum for the discussion of the research projects based on RLMS-HSE. It brought together nearly one hundred scholars from Russia, the United States, the United Kingdom, and the European Union, whose scientific interests spanned various fields of economics, demography, sociology, political sciences, public health, and psychology. The papers, presented at the plenary and parallel sessions, discussed multiple research problems pertaining to labor market and wages, education, retirement, health, ethnicity, migration, and subjective well-being and attitudes. Although an overwhelming majority of the research topics had been recurring themes at the RLMS-HSE events since the inception of the project, the papers did not fail to demonstrate the wealth of opportunities the RLMS-HSE data had to offer. What set this conference apart from previous ones was a pronounced interest in those sections of the RLMS-HSE data that contain detailed information about health. The sessions on this matter included many fruitful discussions concerning objective indicators of health status, a healthy lifestyle, and the use of healthcare services.

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