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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.

2018. Vol. 19. No. 1

Full text of the journal

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


Leonid Kosals
Interview with Prof. Leon Kosals. The Police Acting in Russia Today are Consistent with Social, Economic and Political Conditions in the Country
P. 14–24

Leon Kosals, tenured professor at National Research University Higher School of Economics (NRU HSE), was interviewed by Elena Berdysheva, Senior Research Fellow of Laboratory for Studies in Economic Sociology at NRU HSE, in January 2018. The interview focused a role of the police in economy which belongs to Prof. Kosals’s key research interests. He has been involved into police studies since the 1990s when the existing Soviet systems were broken. Militia and its relations with the society also were transformed. Under the weak state policemen, like others, had to survive.
According to Porf. Kosals, police’s informal economic activities refer to main research areas for scholars from the former USSR and Eastern Europe, while others perceive them as marginal. The most popular issues which international researchers care about include the police and visual minorities, police violence, community policing, and digital technologies and communication’ effects on police culture, etc.
Additionally, Prof. Kosals discusses interactions among different disciplines in the frameworks of police studies, including possible bridges between sociology and criminology. Prof. Kosals highlights fruitful partnership between social researchers, applying scientific methods to the law and crime, and policing as one of the important achievements of multidisciplinary studies.

New Texts

A Chernysh
Institutionalization of the Rules in Russian Innovation Policy in the 2000s. On the Example of a Business Incubator in the Novosibirsk Region
P. 25–61

The article explores how the rules of state support policy for innovation development arose and were fixed in Russia in the 2000s. The author considers Russian business incubators as a new organizational form that emerged as a result of the institutionalization of those rules. She analyzes this process through the prism of new institutionalism ideas in organizational theory and economic sociology. The author examines the launch of the state technopark and business incubator in the Novosibirsk region on the empirical basis on 26 structured interviews with the main stakeholders of the business incubator. The analysis focuses on the role and resources of the institutional entrepreneurs in the process of emergence of the new organizational form. The article describes the context of the process itself, groups and actors who were involved in the dispute about the rules of the business incubator, results of communication between them, and the importance of social skills.
The history of the business incubator development shows the following features of the institutionalization of the rules of state support policy for innovation development: institution building has a better chance of success if there are not only already existing informal rules and profile practices, but also a working negotiation process between relevant stakeholders in search of suitable motivations for reaching common goals. This fact translates the professional task into a political dimension. Request for innovation from the federal authorities gives sociopolitical legitimacy, which is necessary for effective negotiation.

New Translations

Sharon Zukin,
Naked City. The Death and Life of Authentic Urban Places (excerpts)
P. 62–91

“Naked City” continues the Prof. Sharon Zukin’s earlier books (“Loft Living” и “Cultures of Cities”) and updates her views on how people use culture and capital in New York. Its focus is on a conflict between city dwellers’ desire for authentic origins and new beginnings, which many contemporary megalopolises met. City dwellers wish to defend own moral rights to redefine their places for living under upscale constructions, rapid growth and ethics of standartization. The author shows how in the frameworks of this conflict they construct the perceived authenticity of common and uncommon urban places. Each book chapter tells about various urban spaces, uncovering different dimensions of authenticity in order to catch and explain fundamental changes in New York emerged in the 1960s under mixed influences of private investors, government, media, and consumer tastes.
The Journal of Economic Sociology publishes the “Introduction. The City That Lost Its Soul”, where the author explains the general idea of the book. Here she discusses reasons for emerging and history of social movement for authenticity, having combated with the government and private investors since the 1960s. Prof. Zukin also traces a transformation of the concept of authenticity: from property of person to property of thing to property of life experience and power.

Beyond Borders

Sofia Villo
Institutionalized Ignorance: Corporate Unresponsiveness to Environmental Safety in Russia
P. 92–115

Many companies demonstrate low corporate responsiveness to environmental safety. The existing literature indicates egoistic behavior of companies as the main cause of low corporate responsiveness. However, these conclusions are based on cases from developed countries. What determines the low corporate responsiveness to environmental safety in developing and transition economies, for which the very concept of environmental business responsibility is new? In order to answer this question, this article examines the experience of one of the largest Russian oil companies in ensuring environmental safety in the development of an oil field located on the territory of Russia. The information base of the research include documented sources of information, as well as in-depth interviews with managers of the Russian oil company, who make decisions about the environmental safety of the project as well as with external experts who cooperate with this company in the field of environmental safety. The results of the study showed that the low responsiveness to environmental safety of Russian companies is not due to their selfish behavior, as the existing literature suggests, but due to illiteracy of their top managers in environmental issues (lack of understanding of environmental safety issues). Via the approach of R. Whitley, the author of this research explains this illiteracy as the cognitive derivative of the national business system. The author shows that illiteracy of top managers in environmental issues is supported by the Russian culture, the Russian education system, and by financial and political systems. A theoretical explanation is offered of how environmental irresponsibility is formed within the context for which the very concept of environmental business responsibility is new. Speaking about the role of the political system in this process, governmental intervention in decision-making on environmental safety and the work of regulatory authorities are discussed.

Almira Muftakhova, Larisa Kozyreva
Housing Stratification in the European Union
P. 116–142

The article presents the results of a comparative analysis of the housing systems of market countries in Western Europe and countries with transit economies in Eastern Europe. The analysis focuses on the housing problems of stratification which is understood as social inequalities while satisfying housing needs. The empirical base was provided by the descriptive statistics of socio-demographic and intercountry differences presented by Eurostat and NGO Housing Europe on the basis of which the indicators of housing stratification. The study showed a discrepancy between living conditions in the East of Europe to the European average and a significant difference from Western countries in accessing the needs of natural housing. An analysis of the differences in the distribution of the population by place of habitation and types of citizens residence made it possible to draw a conclusion about a kind of “cargo cult” formed in the former socialist countries with respect to residential real estate.
As a result of the ranking of data on the criterion of maturity and effectiveness of housing policies of different countries and analysis of the practice of their realization the term “rumanianization” characterizing the worst way of organizing relations in the housing sphere was proposed. In this case the main way to meet housing needs is simple private ownership of housing (unserved and unencumbered); as the only place of dwelling (residence) is a dwelling, which is in private ownership, and from this the real estate market has a speculative character; there is little or little development of the institution of mortgage, housing loans; rent and hiring (any kinds) are not taken into account by statistics and are outside the state control zone, etc.
The practical significance of the study lies in the fact that the inclusion of the positive European experience in reducing the degree of social inequality in the housing sector will not only improve the efficiency of the development and implementation of national and regional housing programs but also in the future provide transition to a socially oriented type of economic development.

Debut Studies

Pavel Demin
Moscow Centers for Sexual Well-Being: Market Structure and Legitimation Strategie
P. 143–167

The paper presents an overview of the Moscow market of centers of sexual well-being (CSWB), which construct a new niche in the market of psychological services, providing counseling services in matters of sexual and psychological well-being. Human notions of happiness and sexual well-being acquire there a commercial basis and become a good that can be purchased for a certain cost, like any product or service. Centers of sexual well-being use various strategies of legitimizing their activities to create a sustainable demand for their services. These legitimation strategies are deeply rooted in the culture of society and is a necessary condition for the centers’ work.
During the research, a qualitative content analysis of the websites of eight centers of sexual well-being in Moscow was conducted. It was found out that this market today is small and underdeveloped, services are provided in the form of trainings and consultations, while there is no single standard of professions, education and seniority. The cost of training varies from 1500 rubles up to 80 000 rubles per person, while almost all the centers are targeted at the female target audience, and the attraction of new ones is due to various types of shares. On the basis of the coding matrix, the main strategies of legitimation were identified and described: the way to achieve happiness in the personal and family sphere (1); the tool for the development of human capital (2); the educational project of public discourse about sex (3) and the form of leisure (4). These strategies can be used by the centers together, they are not mutually exclusive.
The overall result of the work is a detailed description of the CSWB market, the rules and principles for the functioning of market participants, a description of their legitimation strategies. This work can be useful for researchers interested in exploring new emerging markets, where demand is constructed by producers with the help of certain strategies of legitimating themselves and their specific “good”. In addition, this work is useful to all those who are interested in studying the organization of sexual well-being on a commercial basis and the associated spectrum of economic and psychological services.

Professional Reviews

Regina Romanova
What is Political about Consumption?
P. 168–187

This article explores the discussion about political consumerism in modern society and more broad approach to the politics of consumption in historical perspective. After the cultural turn in consumption studies the development of new analytical framework - political consumerism—is productive step for deeper understanding consumption and notion of the consumer. In particular, this paper reviews reasons for the emergence of economic understanding of consumption and how this economic understanding has led to opposition between politics and consumption. Theory of political consumerism softened the antagonistic relations between passive and self-interested consumer and active citizen, caring for the social prosperity. According to this approach, consumption is a new creative form of political participation during the societal shift to more post-materialist values and the demands for more individual autonomy. Consumers use market as an alternative sphere of political action, where their buying power is a way of restoring social justice without government. However this article argues that theory of political consumerism is linear and narrow framework for analyzing variety of the politics of consumption. Politics of consumption reflects the dynamics of the relationship between state and citizens. The notion of the consumer is shaped not only by the market economy, but also by the directive powers and interest of the state. Based on historical evidence from different countries, this paper shows the proliferation of genealogies of consumerist policy and the understandings the role of the consumer representing norms of citizenship.

New Books

Dmitry Zhikharevich
25 Years After the USSR: Prospects of the Comparative Studies of Capitalism
A Review Essay on: Comparative Sociology. 2017, vol. 16, iss. 1: 25 Years after the USSR:
The Burden of the Past, the Bitterness of Reality, and Dreaming for the Future, Leiden, Netherlands: Brill Publishing. 181 p
P. 188–203

This paper is an extended review essay dedicated to the special issue of Comparative Sociology “25 Years After the USSR” (2017, vol. 16, issue 1). The issue consists of 6 original research papers that are of interest for scholars working in the field of economic sociology. The paper shows how the topic of post-Soviet transformations still remains relevant for economic sociologists, and highlights the advantages and the shortcomings of the articles presented in the issue of Comparative Sociology. The paper also demonstrates how the fall of the USSR and the disciplinary rearrangement of the social sciences, economic sociology in particular, are related to the dominance of sociology of market as a research program. In short, the historical victory of the market capitalism allowed market exchange to be treated as a paradigm of social action. The consequence of this has been twofold: on the one hand, economic sociology has increasingly concerned itself with the study of markets, however, with a particular focus on the social structures that allow, make possible, and enhance market exchanges. On the other hand, this focus on the “scaffolding” structures of the markets made economic sociology an addition, instead of a competitor, to the neoclassical economic theory. The paper briefly reviews the arguments that support such a conclusion. In the final section, the paper analyses the limits of the strategy of comparative analysis of capitalisms in different countries that is being pursued by the articles presented in the issue under review.

Maxim Markin
Lesser-Known Papers by a Well-Known Researcher of Russian Society: Yury Levada’s Ideas on Economic Sociology
Book Review: Levada Y. A. 2016. Vremya peremen: Predmet i pozitsiya issledovatelya [A Time of Changes: The Subject and Researcher’s Attitude], Moscow: New Literary Observer Publishing House. P. 872
P. 204–2013

2016 marked the 10th anniversary of the death of a well-known researcher of the Russian society, Yury Levada. His book A Time of Changes: The Subject and Researcher’s Attitude was published to commemorate his work. The book consists of both well-known and lesser-known papers, including papers in economic sociology.
In “Social Frames of Economic Action” (1980), Levada defines the subject of economic sociology, explains the role of the society and culture in the economy, and demonstrates the historicity of rationality. These ideas are developed in his “Cultural Context of Economic Action” (1984). In this paper, Levada points out that human needs are embedded into culture, whereas economic exchange is loaded by cultural meanings. In “Homo oeconomicus, or The Fate of a Phantom” (1977), the key characteristics of Homo oeconomicus and the prospective use of this model are highlighted. “The Problems of Economic Anthropology by K. Marx” (1983) also includes Levada’s reflections on the assumptions of Homo oeconomicus and the discrepancies between this model and real life.
What makes Levada’s approach unique is that, on one hand, his ideas in economic sociology follow the tradition of the Soviet sociology (a complex mix of Marxism and structural functionalism). On the other hand, these ideas are developed to the micro level, close to the stream of the new economic sociology.

Supplements (in English)

A World of Flows—Labour Mobility, Capital and Knowledge in an Age of Global Reversal and Regional Revival, 3 rd – 6 th June 2018, Università della Svizzera Italiana, Lugano, Switzerland
P. 214–215

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