Officially registered in the Federal Service for Supervision in the Area of Telecom, Information Technologies and Mass Communications
Electronic No. 77-8029.

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. 4

Full text of the journal

Editor’s Foreword (Vadim Radaev)
P. 7–11

New Texts

Rostislav Kapeliushnikov
Weber’s Hypnosis. Notes on “The Protestant Ethics and the Spirit of Capitalism”. Part II
P. 12–42

The paper is the second part of a two-part critical essay on the discursive methods used by the great German sociologist Max Weber in his classic study on relationship between economy and religion The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (1904–1905). As is well known, the only pieces of empirical evidence that Weber used to verify his Thesis were estimates of the differences in school enrollment between pupils from Protestant and Catholic families in the German state of Baden at the end of the nineteenth century, as provided by M. Offenbacher. These estimates implied that Protestants tended to choose “market” education, while Catholics chose “non-market” types of education. However, this conclusion is based on Offenbacher’s arithmetic error, such that, after its correction, all differences in educational preferences between the two groups (and hence differences in their work ethics) simply disappear. Analysis also suggests that the “Protestant ethics,” as it was interpreted by Weber, is a deeply dualistic concept; de facto, he attributed (for unclear reasons) one type of ethic to workers and an entirely different one to entrepreneurs. The Protestant Ethics discusses in detail the life and ideas of B. Franklin, who was, for Weber, an archetypical bearer of “the spirit of capitalism.” But this is a fundamental misinterpretation, as all of Franklin’s biographers argue. A more serious problem is that the Weberian analytical scheme contradicts the available historical statistics: it implies that, due to the proliferation of “the spirit of capitalism” in England, the pace of capital accumulation in the country in the seventeenth to eighteenth centuries should be very high, while in reality, it was much lower than in other Western European countries. Finally, various attempts to test Weber’s Thesis with the help of modern econometric techniques have mostly failed. The author concludes that Weber’s exegetics of religious texts are entirely or at least partially incorrect, that his claim about the significantly higher economic achievements of Protestants as compared with Catholics is not confirmed empirically, that his concept of “the spirit of capitalism” suffers from unavoidable internal contradictions, that his portrait of B. Franklin has almost nothing in common with the actual man, that his attempt to explain the quick accumulation of capital in England in the seventeenth to eighteenth centuries deals with non-economic phenomena, and that the results of current empirical studies are mostly unfavorable for Weber’s Thesis. However, the Weberian idea about the origin of “the spirit of capitalism” from “the Protestant ethics” has so strong a hypnotic power over human minds that their phantoms will, for a long time yet, excite the imagination of academic researchers and permeate mass media.

New Translations

Ole Bjerg
Making Money: The Philosophy of Crisis Capitalism (excerpts)
P. 43–72

In his book, Ole Bjerg presents a philosophy of money in modern capitalism. Issues related to financial relationships are considered with help of the ideas of Slavoy Žižek, Martin Heidegger, and Jacques Marie Émile Lacan. The author considers the existing theories of money, deliberates current economic theories, and reconstructs a process of how banks make money in order to demonstrate the main principles of the functioning of the financial system in contemporary society. He highlights that the question of the nature of money and the question of making money are both political. This book will be interesting not only for economists but also for a wider group of readers.
We here publish his “Introduction: Seinsvergessenheit and Money” and the first chapter, “Analyzing Financial Markets.” In the introduction, the author addresses Heidegger’s idea to put the issue of money at the forefront of philosophical research, thus establishing the book’s main idea. Here, he also describes the book’s structure, which is concentrated on the phrase “how to make money.” In the first chapter, Bjerg, with the help of basic ideas of Žižek’s philosophy, creates a view of financial markets and further depicts two schools of speculation on financial markets, technical and fundamental analyses, pointing to their philosophical features.

Beyond Borders

Katerina Guba
Resource Dependence Theory Applied to the Population of Academic Journals
P. 73–100

The article presents a typology of academic journals based on the difference in the sources of resource dependence. Academic journals are divided into journals existing at the expense of the authors who need publications primarily for academic promotion, and journals for which communication is essential, so they depend on the number of subscriptions. Besides we take into account how researchers connect with a journal—they can have a direct link with a journal by payment (authors in the form of a fee for publication, readers in the form of a subscription) or instead use a corporate agent like an association or a university representing their interests. Typology explains different aspects of academic journals; such as an explicit link to an educational organization, thematic focus, concentration of authors and readers, and quality of articles. The theoretical scheme is applied to journals of Russian sociology. We found two types of career journals. The first type is a corporate journal with an explicit link to an organization. The lion's share of universities create these journals to provide their staff with a guaranteed place for publication. Corporate journals publish almost any article submitted by the authors who are related to the university, which, in turn, finances the journal. The second type is pay-to-publish journals which are open for almost everyone who pays for the article. The wide-spread availability of these types coincided with the publication pressure in Russian academia. New rules for research assessment have changed the demand for journals and have made it possible to launch numerous private journals which hardly contain any peer review. Only in several institutions do authors have strong incentives to publish articles in the journals which are more selective than others. By their very nature, the closest to the journals with a strong communication function are thematic journals with an absence of an explicit link to an organization. Data shows that these journals publish fewer articles; they can be embedded around one organization, but will receive citation attention from different organizations. Higher citation metrics and better articles also distinguish them.

Debut Studies

Ekaterina Ivanova
Child Support as Multiple Monies: Contribution, Duty, or Care? Research on Fathers’ Practices of Child Maintenance after Divorce
P. 101–133

In many countries, divorced families are still characterized by insufficient involvement of fathers in the care of their children, and Russia is no exception. The issue is especially prominent when it comes to child support payments. This article discusses the ways that non-residential fathers in Russia pay child support. The analysis is based on 18 interviews with non-residential fathers living in Saint Petersburg and Moscow. The research shows that fathers practice a few distinctive modes of child support payment: alimonies (court-enforced payment), informal monthly payments, gifts, and ad hoc payments. Rather than choosing one option, fathers usually combine a few types of payment. V. Zelizer’s theory of multiple monies has been used to analyze the results. Considering child support payments as multiple monies enables us to decipher multiple social nuances imparted through the father’s method of payment: the performance of masculinity, the fulfilment of social norms, and attitudes towards care. J. Tronto’s concept of “an ethic of care” has been applied in the article in order to distinguish between payments-as-care and payments implying alternate meanings.
Although child support payments are intended for the child, in most cases the mother is, by law, the recipient, bringing the issue of payments into the field of gendered financial power. The understanding of the gendered dimension of child support helps us to analyze fathers’ non-payment. Fathers rationalize their choices by appealing to the ideology of intensive motherhood, which they use for legitimizing justification of (non-)payment.

Professional Reviews

Yana Roshchina, Mikhail Bogdanov
What Influences Alcohol and Tobacco Consumption: Review of Economic and Sociological Concepts and Empirical Results
P. 134–171

Starting with classical theoretical works on the nature of addictive goods, an enormous amount of empirical research about determinants of a propensity to consume alcohol and tobacco is published annually based on data from different countries. We chose alcohol and tobacco among other addictive goods because of their high prevalence, their legality in the vast majority of countries, and the possibility of controlled consumption. In many countries and at the world level, measures are being developed to reduce the consumption of these products or to at least encourage more “responsible consumption” (this refers more to alcohol). Although the share of drinkers and smokers in Russia has fallen in recent years, Russia is still among the leaders in both alcohol and tobacco consumption. Despite government measures aimed at reducing alcohol and tobacco consumption, there is no certainty that the observed tendency towards a fall in numbers is the result of this policy and not of other factors, e.g., the effect of a cohort or a change in values towards a healthy lifestyle. Therefore, despite the existing reviews devoted to addictive behavior, we consider it important to return to systematizing explanations for the causes and determinants of the demand for addictive goods. The specificity of this paper is also that we consider the factors affecting both alcohol and tobacco consumption, although they are traditionally considered separately. However, both tobacco and alcohol are so-called addictive goods; therefore, the economic and sociological concepts that explain commitment to them are the same. Empirical studies also use a similar type of model. This review shows similar patterns in the demand for alcohol and tobacco and social and economic determinants. The factors of demand for these goods could be divided into economic, individual, socio-cultural, and external environmental factors (as well as biological factors that are not considered in this paper). The Russian data primarily confirms the theoretical assumptions and empirical results obtained for other countries. It could be concluded that a certain characteristic of Russian consumers is a weaker effect of prices on demand for these goods.

Supplements (in English)

Ole Bjerg
Interview with Ole Bjerg: “We Need to Put Things Back to Normal”
P. 172–181

An interview with Ole Bjerg, an Associate professor at Department of Management, Politics and Philosophy (Copenhagen Business School), was conducted in May 2018 during his visit in Moscow. Prof. Bjerg has visited HSE and presented a Russian translation of his book Making Money: The Philosophy of Crisis Capitalism [Bjerg 2014]. An interview was taken by Elena Gudova, a junior researcher at the Laboratory for Studies in Economic Sociology, Higher School of Economics.
During his presentation Ole Bjerg focused on the issue of introducing e-krona into Swedish monetary system and making money “full-fat” again. The initiative should give power in money emission back to Central Bank and put it under more transparency and control—we’ve been living in a world where commercial banks simply create money for too long. Bjerg suggests that interest toward money and finance is growing both in academia and among ordinary citizens in many countries. After the economic crisis of 2008–2009 it has become obvious that much of what is going on in the society is deeply connected to money, and the level of critical reflection has substantially increased. Bjerg applies Žižek’s (and Lacanian at the very beginning) lens of “the imaginary—the symbolic—the real” to different aspects of money and related phenomenon. Although the choice of theoretical approach might be unexpected, this is quite the way it should be. Theory is always a question of preference, and Žižek gives money analysis intrigue and surprise, while with Foucault “it’s always the butler.” The political reasons for financial crisis deal with the fact that central banks may favor the interests of financial sector prior to the general public. A systemic problem is debt, which is both a reason and an outcome of the money-making.
According to Bjerg, debt is not only a powerful discipline instrument, but an obstacle for social change and development as well, as indebted individuals become more risk-averse with their life decisions. Still Bjerg concludes that the society should have money, but good money, normal money. Once people start publically talking about money problem, or maybe even ironize about it in different forms of art, it becomes a different sort of motivation and action, and normalization of money is possible.

Grażyna Musiał
Is the Social Capital Really Social? Deliberations on Jacek Tittenbrun’s “Neither Capital nor Class”
Book Review: Tittenbrun J. (2017) Neither Capital nor Class: A Critical Analysis of Pierre Bourdieu’s Theoretical Framework, Wilmington, Delaware: Vernon Press, 359 p.
P. 182–185

Jacek Tittenbrun, a sociologist specializing in the sociology of economy, authored the book Neither Capital nor Class: A Critical Analysis of Pierre Bourdieu`s Theoretical Framework, for sociologists, economists, and researchers of other social disciplines (e.g., law, cultural studies, anthropology). In the book, written in the convention of critical realism methodology, Tittenbrun presents the scientific achievements of the well-known French sociologist, Pierre Bourdieu, an author who deals particularly with the concept of capital and capital issues. The French sociologist, who sometimes obscures the notion of capital and identifies opposing ownership relationships, is not attached to this book’s contributors, whose theses are expressed clearly.
Tittenbrun sets a goal in this book to describe and explain the phenomena of capital and social classes. The research task formulated by Tittenbrun consisted of confronting those discovered in Bourdieu’s regularity, along with his construction of capital as an idea and selected, significant ideas about capital, proclaimed in modern science, mainly by Anglo-Americans. Tittenbrun acquaints readers with a wide and valuable spectrum of views, such as those of Gary Stanley Becker, Kenneth Joseph Arrow, Robert Merton Solow, and others. Tittenbrun makes no reference to the outstanding Russian sociologists who have chronicled the extensive achievements of Bourdieu, but the book is worth reading.

Maria Aleksandrova
Debt: 5000 Years and Counting as It Was
The conference Debt: 5000 Years and Counting, the University of Birmingham, UK, on June 8–9, 2018
P. 186–192

This article presents a review of a conference Debt: 5000 Years and Counting that took place at the University of Birmingham (Birmingham Research Institute for History and Cultures) on June 8–9, 2018. The conference was based on the recent influential book Debt: The First Five Thousand Years by David Graeber. The conference gathered representatives from all social sciences to discuss the understudied topic of history and ideology of debt. The review contains references to several papers discussed at the conference to give an idea of the approaches used in one way or another in many of the papers. The papers discussed in the review were devoted to the boost of micro-credit in Latvia after the 2008 global financial crisis, the ideology of trapped equity that led to this crisis, the attempt to resolve confusion between the view that debts are to be repaid and the view that profiting from lending is evil, credit in the Islamic Caliphate in the 7th to 10th centuries, the long durée of public debt since the Middle Ages to Early Modern times, and the royal debts in England in the middle of the 16th century. The conference was interesting not only because of the importance of the subject but also because of the originality of the format which helped make the event less hierarchical and less dominated by the academic elite. In addition, one of the aims of the conference was to combine academic and activist approaches. Among the participants there were a few activists. This experience is also described in the review.

Rambler's Top100 rss