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. 5

Full text of the journal

Editor’s Foreword (Vadim Radaev)
P. 7–10

New Texts

Vera Peshkova
Entrepreneurial Activity of Foreign Labor Migrants in Russia: Оn the Example of Kyrgyz Migrants in Moscow and the Moscow Region
P. 11–40

The article is on the entrepreneurial activity of foreign labor migrants in modern Russia in a case of Kyrgyz migrants in Moscow and the Moscow region. The study focuses on identifying entrepreneurial strategies of Kyrgyz migrants, which are formed as a result of the interaction of the structure of the host Russian society and some group characteristics. Conventionally, there are three stages in the development of entrepreneurship among Kyrgyz migrants: the 1990s through the early 2000s, the first half of the 2000s through the late 2000s, and the 2010s. Based on the analysis of the materials of 26 in-depth interviews with experts and entrepreneurs from Kyrgyzstan, an individual and group level of formation of entrepreneurial strategies was considered. At the individual level, most important are personal characteristics, age, satisfaction of the primary material tasks of the migrant’s family, and migration experience. A much more significant resource, especially at the initial stage, is not Russian citizenship but knowledge of the Russian language. At the group level, Kyrgyz migrant entrepreneurship is characterized by quantitative and qualitative accumulation of individual and group resources, entering the market through a free and, most importantly, accessible niche, and the transition from buying and selling to manufacturing.
Particular attention is paid to the place and role of kinship and compatriot connections of migrants from Kyrgyzstan, which form the basis of ethno-migrant social networks. These ties acquire an ethnic dimension, primarily because they are a key, if not the only, resource, especially at the initial stage of business creation. Attracting these connections forms the basis of an “ethnic” entrepreneurial strategy and often leads to the creation of a business oriented primarily on “our own” or a migrant-oriented infrastructure. At the same time, entrepreneurs of Kyrgyz origin are not a homogeneous group. Depending on the clients on which the business is focused on and on “ethnic” entrepreneurial strategy, business is allocated in a way that focuses on both “our own” and the rest of the population, as well as mainly on the entire population of Moscow and the region.

New Translations

Anthony Giddens, Philip W. Sutton
Essential Concepts in Sociology (excerpts)
P. 41–65

Social life has been changing, that is why sociology cannot stay put. Today, this research field is unbelievably multifaceted from the theoretical point of view; it covers a lot of topics and uses wide methodological tools. Key concepts and ideas play an important role in how sociologists explore societies. However, essential concepts have constantly evolved and changed. This book introduces essential concepts, presenting the basics of sociology as a field. The authors consider each concept in detail, providing not only short vocabulary definitions, but also including historical and theoretical contexts of its emergence and usage, demonstrating meanings and interpretations, and addressing critics and evolution in modern research and theories. This book’s structure allows readers to bridge a history of sociology and its current conditions, tracing the evolution of its concepts. The authors thoroughly selected 70 concepts. The book chapters are divided into 10 main topics. Within each topic, concepts are listed in alphabetical order. This makes searching for a concept easier and more comfortable.
The Journal of Economic Sociology publishes the book’s fourth theme, “Structures of Society,” in which the author reviews bureaucracy, capitalism, consumerism, organization, labor division, education, and religion.

Beyond Borders

Tatiana Khavenson , Tat'yana Chirkina
Effectively Maintained Inequality: The Choice of Postsecondary Educational Trajectory in Russia
P. 66–89

Because of a number of social and demographic changes in recent years, the amount of available places at the level of higher education has significantly increased, and at the same time, the number of applicants for them has decreased. Theoretically, this could lead to an increase in the equality of access to higher education for different social classes. In the paper, using Russian data for the first time, the theory of effectively maintained inequality is tested. According to this theory, the increase in the number of places at a specific level of education may not lead to a decrease in socioeconomic inequality on this level. This is because inequality will be maintained at the level due to the qualitative difference in the received education. Using data from the longitudinal project, “Trajectories in Education and Profession,” two postsecondary educational choices are examined: (1) the choice between vocational and higher education and (2) the choice between going to a selective or non-selective university. Following R. Boudon’s theory, the effect of the family’s socio-economic background on the choice of an educational trajectory is estimated directly and indirectly (through academic achievement). The results show that after finishing school, the direct effect of the socio-economic background is more important for moving to a more academic trajectory than the family’s efforts to improve academic performance. Even with high educational achievements, students from families with low social status make a choice in favor of vocational education rather than a university. When choosing between selective and non-selective higher education institutions, the impact of the family through academic achievement weakens even more. The characteristics of the family directly affect the choice of the trajectory becoming a key predictor.

Debut Studies

Ignat Baranov
Creation of Trust in the Russian Cryptocurrency Market
P. 90–112

A significant increase in the cash value of Bitcoin in the beginning of 2017 led to growth in people’s interest in cryptocurrency. The uniqueness of this type of money is that the transaction occurs only with the approval of a network of participants, and the funds themselves are beyond the control of any state. At the same time, the Russian government, represented by the Ministry of Finance, did not approve a cryptocurrency until 2018. Despite the large number of studies that reveal the main advantages and disadvantages of cryptocurrency, as well as the motivation of the participants, the issue of building trust in cryptocurrencies remains relevant. The main goal of this study is to identify the mechanisms of trust building among the participants of the cryptocurrency market.
The research information base was based on 15 semi-structured interviews with active participants of the cryptocurrency market. Based on collected data, a typology of cryptocurrency users was made, and ways of managing risks in interacting with the market and insight into the role of the state in this market were examined. Cryptocurrency users can be divided into those who use it for consumption of various goods (including those who are prohibited in the territory of the Russian Federation) and those who seek to derive financial benefit from the current market situation. Although both groups exist in the same market, they have different expectations: consumers strive to ensure that the cryptocurrency exchange rate remains stable, whereas the other group hopes for a long period of high exchange-rate volatility to increase their own earnings. The position that the local state should take is an important factor of trust for each of the groups represented.
Cryptocurrencies are still at an early stage of development. A large group of people on the market is trying to monetize the weaknesses that exist at the moment. Over time, the situation on the cryptocurrency market stabilizes, and it can then move to a qualitatively different stage of development.

Professional Reviews

Liliia Zemnukhova
Social Studies of Technology: Evolution and Interaction of Approaches
P. 113–129

Digital technologies are being introduced into the practice of users and are being encountered with multiple barriers on their way. The process of production and diffusion of technology and innova-tions is the focus of attention in two disciplinary areas—innovation studies (IS) and science and technology studies (STS). The early IS focused on the diffusion of innovation, revising its model-ing from a linear to an interactive perspective: they based studies on quantitative data and took in-to account institutional interactions. STS as an umbrella of social studies of technology and tech-noscience suggested several diverse approaches for identifying the main strains and obstacles in this process. For example, the area that has become known as social construction of technology (SCOT) focused on the role of users and groups in the production and development of technolo-gies, based on the reciprocity of their interaction (Trevor Pinch; Wiebe Bijker). Representatives of actor-network theory (ANT) developed the concepts of socio-technical systems and frames to reveal the details of the use and “travel” of technical objects in complex networks of relations (Madeleine Akrich; Patrice Flichy). At the intersections of IS and STS, more complex models and concepts are born, such as socio-technical configurations, where social relations give meaning to technological artifacts (Arie Rip, René Kemp). This review presents both examples of classic works in the mentioned disciplinary areas and specific attempts to conceptualize the socio-technical aspects of the diffusion of innovation.

New Books

Natalia Conroy
From Ethnography of Organizations to Analysis of the Real Life Circumstances of People?
Book Review: Rakopoulos  T. (2017) From Clans to Co-ops: Confiscated Mafia Land in Sicily, New York; Oxford: Berghahn Books. 229 p.
P. 130–138

In his new book, Theodoros Rakopoulos uses the anthropological concept of “livelihood” as a new way to connect some big topics—the mafia, the anti-mafia movement, and cooperativism. For several decades, the mafia has aroused great interest among the general public, journalists, and vari-ous scholars: anthropologists, sociologists, and historians. In the 1980s and 1090s, the emergence of legislative framework governing confiscation by the state and the further use of the property of mafia clans were significantly influenced by the activist movements. That is why the analysis of the experience of creating agrarian cooperatives on expropriated lands through the prism of grass-roots initiatives of civil society has become dominant. However, Rakopoulos, who was observing the work of four anti-mafia cooperatives in Western Sicily in 2007 and 2009, came to the conclusion that, unlike administrators, workers are more interested in issues of wages and prices than ideology and civic participation. How do those who work on the land and are not a part of the grass-roots initiatives in the cooperative structure bypass ideology when it contradicts traditional moral codes? How do they reconcile working in an anti-mafia co-op with family and connections in the local community, where it is impossible to take a neutral or disinterested position towards the mafia? How are urban managers struggling with the “bad kinship” of local workers influenced by their own families and friends? Successively, considering the various circumstances of participants (family, reputation, neighborhood, and so on) that affect their livelihood, the researcher concludes that among both workers and managers, there is nobody who would be free from local moral and ethical norms and could look at the work of anti-mafia cooperatives through the eyes of a distant state. Therefore, the politicized cooperatives themselves, contrary to their own ideology, cannot exist as enclaves of good practice.


Elena Nazarbaeva
Basic Income as a Prologue to Social Policy of the 21st Century
International Scientific Conference, NRU HSE, November 14th, 2018, Moscow
P. 139–145

The conference “Basic Income as a Prologue to Social Policy of the 21st Century” took place in the Higher School of Economics. It was devoted to both the theoretical and practical aspects of basic income implementation. The conference was organized by the Institute for Social Policy NRU HSE, the European Dialogue Expert Group, and the German Friedrich Ebert Foundation in Russia. According to the opinion of Evgeny S. Gontmakher, professor of NRU HSE, until now, there were no such large-scale discussions on this topic. The conference was attended by a wide range of participants from the academic and political sphere as well as by public representatives.
Basic income is treated not only as a new measure of social support but as a part of new social policy emerging in the context of income disparities; job automation that changes the conditions and the structure of employment; and population aging. Interconnections of basic income with inequality and pension-system adaptation were discussed as well attempts and examples of foreign projects in the field in Switzerland and Finland.
The presentations provided the ability to dispel the myths about basic income, evaluate the effects of its implementation, look at it as a tool for solving different social problems, and formulate the questions that should be asked while constructing such measures of social support. The potential of basic income as a system for the Russian population was also discussed. Most conference participants agreed that it is not an issue for the near future, and a lot of questions need to be analyzed first.


Dmitry Kataev
Weberian and Anti-Weberian Discourse: To the Question of the Hypnotic Power of Classics on the Example of “Protestant Ethics”
P. 146–163

The article is a response to the text by R. I. Kapelyushnikov, “Weber’s Hypnosis: Notes on ‘Protestant Ethics and the Spirit of Capitalism.’” The reasons and main directions of criticism and anti-criticism of the “Weber thesis,” about the emergence of capitalism due to Protestant ethics, are considered. In light of the criticisms of a well-known domestic economist, the Weberian and anti-Weberian dispute has been analyzed around one of the most cited classics, which testifies to the heuristic value of Max Weber’s scientific heritage, which remains relevant today. It should be noted that the 100-year narrative (the first critics of the Protestant thesis appear immediately after the publication of the Protestant ethic) requires more detailed research. Interpretation of Max Weber’s creativity is possible only in the context of the complete collection of works (Max. Weber-Gesamtausgabe [1984–2017]), including the systematics of the sociology of religion (which included “Protestant Ethics”) and, later, the 7-volume edition of “Economics and Society” on the economic ethics of world religions. The uncharted and authentic reflection of the legacy of the classic is possible only in view of a holistic reading of the classic, taking into account the historical, biographical, contextual (in the case of Weber’s theoretical discussions in the methodological dispute and controversy with the materialist understanding of history), categorical-conceptual, and methodological aspects, as well as the receptive and actualizing components. As a refutation of the criticism of the well-known economist, arguments are also presented in favor of W. Schluchter’s “Weberian research program” and the reconstructed paradigm of T. Schwinn and G. Albert. As a conclusion, the main lines of actualizing the legacy of the classic, which originates in the “Protestant Ethics,” are highlighted.

Rambler's Top100 rss