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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.

2020. Vol. 21. No. 2

Full text of the journal

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

New Texts

Pavel Syomin
Some Regularities in Establishing Regional Categories of Specially Protected Natural Territories
P. 11–38

Protection of the environment and specially protected natural territories are in the joint jurisdiction of the Russian Federation and its constituent entities. In particular, constituent entities have the power to establish their own categories of specially protected natural territories (called regional categories) besides the categories prescribed by the federal law On Specially Protected Natural Territories. The diversity of regional categories has been studied only superficially, despite the fact that such research may be valuable for finding out the drawbacks of federal and regional legislation and for identifying the ways it can be improved. It may also result in general insights about Russian lawmaking under joint jurisdiction. The study presented in this paper aimed to find the regularities in the legislative activity of Russia’s constituent entities in the field of establishing regional categories. For this purpose, the full list of regional categories as of August 1, 2019 was made and then processed with text mining algorithms, including word clouds, bigram analysis, word correlations, and clustering of categories’ names using their vector representations made with Fasttext. Several large groups of regional categories were determined as a result: protected natural objects (analogous to natural monuments), protected landscapes and natural complexes, protected green zones of populated localities, recreational areas, and areas of historical and cultural designation, which are similar to cultural heritage objects. Some constituent entities fill the gaps in federal regulation; they follow the paradigm of anticipatory lawmaking and provide for special rules for territories under international agreements, such as wetlands of international importance, or they partially implement protected area categories adopted by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. However, some regional categories are likely to indicate a low level of legal technique in regional lawmaking. This analysis of regional categories points out three deficiencies of the Russian federal legislation on protected areas: instability of legislation, excessive rigidity of the federal categories system, and flaws in the protection of areas valuable for conservation of biodiversity, recreation, and support for ecological balance.

Arnold Khachaturov
Transformations of Governmentality Regimes under the Influenceof New Areas of Knowledge: the Case of Behavioral Economics
P. 39–61

This article is a review of relevant scientific literature on the consequences of the growing popularity of behavioral economics in the field of public administration and public policy. The main result of behavioral research that arose in the 1970s at the intersection of psychology and economics was the discovery of irrational decision-making mechanisms and the rejection of the traditional economic concepts of human nature. Revision of the axioms of the rational choice theory in turn made possible the emergence of new public policy instruments that can influence unconscious psychological triggers, compensating for the cognitive insufficiency of the governed subjects. An active appeal to cognitive sciences, including behavioral economics, neuroscience, and research in the field of artificial intelligence, is one of the main trends in modern public administration. In many countries, the recommendations of the so-called nudge theory by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein are being introduced at the national government level. The question arises whether behavioral economics can become the new paradigm of economic policy, or whether we are witnessing the radicalization of neoliberalism, which is trying to overcome the structural economic problems with the help of new scientific discoveries. Using Michel Foucault’s governmentality analytics and existing research on this topic, the author shows that conceptual changes in economic theory significantly influence the balance of power relations in society. In particular, the pressure of modern cognitive sciences on liberal notions of autonomy, as well as the expansion of the range of psychological tools used to govern the population, sharpen the question of the compatibility of the basic political categories of liberalism and the new technologies of governance. It creates the prerequisites for the formation and strengthening of quasi-authoritarian regimes of power that are able to achieve economic efficiency without appealing to active subjects and personal freedom.

New Translations

David Harvey
The Condition of Postmodernity. An Enquiry into the Origins of Cultural Change (an excerpt)
P. 62–75

The book by David Harvey, The Condition of Postmodernity. An Enquiry into the Origins of Cultural Change, presented deep research into the nature of postmodernism, considered not as a set of ideas but rather as historical conditions. The author claimed that roughly since 1972 cultural as well as political and economic practices changed globally, including the rise of postmodern cultural forms and the emergence of flexible capital accumulation. According to the author, those changes were conditioned by the new prevailing modes of how people experienced time and space, indicating the new cycle of time-space compression in the organization of capitalism. The book consists of four parts. In the first part, Prof. Harvey reviewed the dominating but conflicting theories of postmodernism. In the other chapters he considered the relationship between the dynamics of the historical and geographical development of capitalism, complicated processes of cultural production, and ideological transformation.
The Journal of Economic Sociology publishes the tenth chapter, “Theorizing the Transition,” from the second part of the book, “The Political-Economic Transformation of Late Twentieth-Century Capitalism.” In this chapter, the author demonstrated that existing theories had difficulties in explaining the observed historical transition from Fordism to flexible accumulation. In order to overcome these problems, Harvey proposed a return to capitalism's origins to reconsider its logic generally with the help of Marx’s theories.

New Books

Boris Belyavskiy
The Enemy of My Enemy or About the Uniting Potential of Market Radicalism
Book Review: Posner E. A., Weyl G. E. 2018. Radical Markets: Uprooting Capitalismand Democracy for a Just Society. Princeton; Oxford: Princeton University Press
P. 76–90

This paper is a review of Radical Markets: Uprooting Capitalism and Democracy for a Just Society, the book by Eric A. Posner and Glen E. Weyl and published in 2018. Prof. Posner works at the University of Chicago, where his scholarship is dedicated to international law, foreign relations law, contracts, and game theory and the law. Glen E. Weyl is a Prior Researcher at Microsoft Research New England who also teaches a course Designing the Digital Economy at Yale University. The book concentrates on solutions for the problems of inequality and stagnation. The authors claim that solutions need a combination of left and right theoretical principles. Such a combination allows for institutional systems to approach market principles of freedom, competition, and openness. The market is considered the best tool for providing both equality and economic growth. Five relatively separate spheres are studied in the book, and the same monopolistic restrictions are highlighted. Each chapter presents a solution for one sphere that should enforce free competition and destroy a monopoly.
This review proposes an interpretation that the reasonings presented in the book do not create a compromise between left and right. The authors develop a right liberal tradition instead. All the propositions are based on the principles of utilitarianism, marginalist calculations, and neoclassical economics. Simultaneously, the presented solutions appear historically relevant for both approaches, while the solutions do not overcome the theoretical contradictions between neoliberalism and critical theory in the economy and between liberalism and republicanism in politics. The book’s general ideas are discussed after the introduction. Next, specific cases are analyzed through comparison of the principles of liberalism, critical theory, and republicanism. A discussion about the efficiency of theoretical compromises concludes the paper.


Igor Ryazantcev, Vasiliy Pisarevskiy
The Philosophy of Early Christianity and the Challenges of Digitalization.
International Conference “Philosophy of Early Christianity in the Era of Digitalization,” Fu Jen Catholic University, Taiwan, December 6–7, 2019
P. 91–98

From December 6 to 7, 2019, the international conference, “Philosophy of Early Christianity in the Era of Digitalization,” was held at Fu Jen Catholic University in the capital of Taiwan, Taipei, with the participation of sociologists from the Saint Tikhon Orthodox Humanitarian University.
Currently, all developed countries are evolving the digitalization process. It goes without saying that this is reflected in the economy. Today, even traditionally offline sectors of the national economy are increasingly using cloud computing, big data, and the Internet of things. At the same time, the process of digitalization cannot be reduced solely to the development of the digital economy, since it affects all significant areas of society’s life—social, political, and cultural.
Some researchers believe that the digitalization process affects not only the social but also the personal sphere of the individual and brings about a changein needs, whereby the need for information exchange becomes basic.
In this regard, the risks of the digitalization process should be noted: technological (artificial intelligence can get out of control); economic (the risk of unemployment due to automation and the substitution of artificial intelligence for a number of professions, on the one hand, and the risk of a shortage of qualified personnel necessary for the development of the digital economy on the other); socio-political (including the risk of escalation of cyber wars between countries); and finally the moral risk, which is the dehumanization of consciousness. The speakers at the conference, representatives of both European and Asian universities, endeavored to understand the trends in the development of the social process of digitalization from the positions of early Christian thinkers.
The conference showed the need to study the social process of digitalization in the framework of an interdisciplinary approach at the international level.

Supplements (in English)

Egor Muleev
Why do Marshrutkas Exist in One City and Not in Others? Toward a Political Economy of Routes in Russian Urban Public Transportation
P. 99–113

Urban public transportation in Russia has changed significantly since the fall of the USSR. In many cities, marshrutkas have completely replaced the classical public modes of transportation. Other cities have, however, tried to balance the electric transport system with marshrutkas. Some cities also have trams and articulated buses on their streets, with minibuses completely absent. The reasons for such huge differences are not obvious. Various approaches have failed to explain why marshrutkas are present on the streets in one city but absent in others. The hypothesis here is that the routes were privatized by marshrutka-operating companies. The conceptual framework is based on the works of Karl Polanyi, Vadim Volkov, and Michael Burawoy. Nineteen in-depth interviews were conducted in the autumn of 2016: eight in Moscow, one in St. Petersburg, and ten in provincial cities, such as Nizhny Novgorod, Kazan, Ulyanovsk, Dimitrovgrad, and Cherepovetz. Research has shown that the fundamental problem for marshrutka operators is the danger of the reconsideration of route owners’ property rights. The difference between cities with and cities without marshrutkas is described not only in terms of a continuance of property rights but also through spatial characteristics of the industrial backgrounds. This view on urban public transport calls for a fresh discussion on regulation issues in transportation studies, the commodification of mobility, and the political economy of transport.

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