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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. 5

Full text of the journal

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

New Texts

Stephen Wegren, Irina Trotsuk
Is Industrial Agriculture Sustainable During Climate Change and Ecological Threats?
P. 12–38

Russia has experienced food revolutions in production, distribution, and consumption since 2000. These revolutions have transformed the food system, but systemic changes are not complete — a sustainable agricultural system is not likely in Russia anytime soon; the effects of climate change are likely to worsen and force further revolutionary change to Russia’s food system, which in the short-term could cause food insecurity. The state retains its key role in regulating the food system, primarily due to considering food security a factor of national security, has been achieved. The Russian statist discourse on food security, which has intensified under the Western sanctions and pandemic restrictions, ignores the challenges that the global agro-industrial sector faces at the same time being the source of anthropogenic changes. Moreover, this discourse rarely takes into account environmental challenges for the Russian agro-industrial sector. The article shows the relationship between climate/ecological changes and the dominant industrial agriculture not in the form of alarmist statements, but by describing the social-economic-ecological context, in which the research questions about current and future restrictions and consequences of industrial agriculture should be asked. The article presents examples of sustainable agriculture in Russia, identifies obstacles to moving away from industrial agriculture, and considers possible scenarios for the transition to sustainable agriculture.

New Translations

Mariana Mazzucato
The Value of Everything. Making and Taking in the Global Economy (an excerpt)
P. 39–57

According Prof. Mazzucato, to understand economic growth it is necessary to return to issues relating to what wealth means and where value comes from. The aim of this book is to reinvigorate the debate on value, which traditionally was—and should still be—at the core of economic thinking. Prof. Mazzucato points to the fact that in economics, various types of economic activities related to value extraction (or even value destruction) are camouflaged as or pretend to represent value creation. This results in a huge increase in social inequality and a significant decrease in investments in the real economy. Understanding the negative consequences of value extraction requires clarification of what is really taken. Which social, economic, and organizational conditions are necessary for value production?
The Journal of Economic Sociology publishes “Introduction: Making versus Taking,” where Prof. Mazzucato makes distinctions between value making and value extraction (e.g. tax evasions, share buy-backs, etc.). It also defines “value creation” as the ways in which different types of resources are established and interact to produce new goods and services. Finally, the introduction provides details of how the book is structured.

Beyond Borders

Lyudmila Panova, Anastasia Panova
Access to Modern Medical Technologies in Russia and Europe
P. 58–93

The authors discuss the results of a comparative analysis of the access to medical technologies in Russia and the countries of the European Union. The study included the most popular diagnostic technologies: computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and positron emission tomography (PET). The key indicators of access to this kind of equipment are its distribution—the number of units per share of the population—and the frequency of use of existing installations by patients. The research information base consisted of Russian and European statistics for the period from the 1980s to the present.
A comparative analysis of the accessibility of the technologies under consideration in Russia and European countries based on these indicators allowed us to come to the following conclusions.A review of the literature confirms that the development of public health in the modern era is largely determined by the introduction and widespread use of new medical technologies. Among them, the important role of diagnostic technologies play a part in the article, but access to these diagnostic procedures remains limited in many countries. As a comparative analysis of European countries shows, Russia is significantly inferior to almost all EU countries in the level of accessibility of these procedures due to the insufficient number of CT, MRI, and PET scanners and the low rates of their use. The technological lag in Russian health care is associated with low levels of state funding for the sector given that, in the state’s policy, social spending is less important than other areas of budget financing. Limited access to modern diagnostic tools prevents the rapid and high-quality determination of the causes of many diseases and, consequently, their successful treatment. In addition, a significant shortage of modern technological equipment can aggravate the problem of social inequalities in health, which is clearly manifested in Russian society. Thus, well-off people with the ability to spend significant funds on receiving modern medical services will benefit, while people with low incomes will be forced to be content with less-effective procedures for the diagnosis and treatment of diseases.

New Books

Stanislav Pashkov
“Difficult Money”: The Question for the Next Revision of the Nature of Money
Book review: Bandelj, N., Wherry, F. F., Zelizer, V. A. (eds). (2017). Money Talks: Explaining How Money Really Works, Princeton: Princeton University Press. 288 p
P. 94–103

This book, edited by N. Bandelj, F. Wherry, and V. Zelizer, comprises a series of articles united in a collective monograph; it opens the reader to a multilateral view of the nature of money as a system of meanings and signs, and clarifies the mechanisms of the formation and functioning of financial flows and institutions. Trends associated with the active dissemination of new forms of money that are not tied to a specific financial system, as well as the expanding practice of the consumption of goods and services related to issues of morality and ethics, are becoming relevant. The authors were tasked with revising the conceptual framework for the study of money, and the main goal was to show the principles of the functioning of money in the financial system and, to a greater extent, in the system of social relations. In the book, the conceptual framework is examined in five sections, each of which provides sociological, cultural, anthropological, and historical perspectives. The authors of 14 chapters illustrate the connection of their theses with the approach of Viviana Zelizer, as outlined in a number of her famous works, and the analysis of money itself is based on the subject of the fungibility of mediums, functions, and meanings (earmarking) of monetary units, the understanding of financial accounting by people themselves (mental accounting), and the influence of the state on this process. This review aims to define the logic of the presentation of the material in the book in order to better understand the theoretical and empirical principles set forth in the chapters.


XXII April International conference on the development of the economy and society, Higher School of Economics, April 13–23, 2021
P. 110–111

Supplements (in English)

Aneta Duda
The Phenomenon of Downshifting in Central and Eastern European Countries: Case Studies from Poland, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia
P. 112–137

The article introduces discussions of sociocultural post-material practices that are connected with downshifting and with efforts to thrive in the shadow of dominating forms in contemporary societies. The author extends her conceptual framework beyond ecology, sociology, and the politics of sustainable lifestyles and draws from Anthony Giddens’s “reflexive project of the self.” The introduced notion of “experiencing downshift” is understood as the reflexiveexperience by those individuals, who reshape their lives to reflect its “authentic” meaning, which is connected to the resignation from high material living standards. The article offers the concept of identity as central rather than peripheral to downshifting research.
Following a longitudinal panel study on the processes of far-reaching and radical changes in the lifestyles of 31 downshifters, five areas were examined: motives for the change, the character of the change, reactions of others, balance of benefits and losses, and decision consistency. Findings suggest that the contested meaning of (material) life success leads to the reframing of value priorities and the reconstruction of personal and social identities. Ideals of downshift move away from productive efforts and consumption-based identities toward practices of being reflective, self-aware, and fostering well-being, which is variously characterized by harmony, pleasure, and creativity. Most of them are not unique to downshifting, but this is not (as I have emphasized) a limitation but simply a chance for the movement to get out of the frame of a politicized, radicalized critique of capitalist growth society and make consumers appreciate that what they already do could be potentially supportive of downshift transformation.

Joanna Wyrwa, Jerzy Kaźmierczyk
Conceptualizing Job Satisfaction and Its Determinants: A Systematic Literature Review
P. 138–167

Job satisfaction is considered an important aspect of employee behavior. This article focuses on a critical analysis of the accompanying literature to determine the various factors that shape job satisfaction and to gauge their relative signifi-cance in conditioning employee behavior. The conceptualizations of job satisfac-tion in the existing literature are multitudinous, reflecting the breadth of critical perspectives on the subject. A systematic literature review, therefore, consisted of: (a) isolating databases and a set of publications; (b) selecting publications and developing a database; and (c) conducting bibliometric analysis, content analy-sis, and testing the relevance of results to further research. The review included publications from the years 2000–2018 and covered psychology, sociology, eco-nomics, and management science. Analysis of previous theoretical publications and empirical studies reveals that they are not without their cognitive and meth-odological limitations. Even at the level of definition, despite numerous criti-cal attempts to clarify exactly what constitutes job satisfaction, an unambiguous and clear-cut conception has yet to surface. Equally, critical consensus is lack-ing among researchers over what contributes to job satisfaction, and divergent research approaches have been adopted as a result. Indeed, despite the rising popularity of job satisfaction studies, some of these factors have yet to be ex-plored fully, while some research has yielded contradictory results regarding the strength of the influence of certain factors on job satisfaction. This paper fills this gap and, through a systematic analysis of the literature, indicates the direction in which current research is headed.

Irina Kolegova
Why do the Rich Consume More Discreetly? A Theory of the Aspirational Class
Book Review:Currid-Halkett, E. (2017). The Sum of Small Things: A Theory of the Aspirational Class, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. 254 p.
P. 168–176

This paper is a review of The Sum of Small Things: A Theory of the Aspira-tional Class, written by Elizabeth Currid-Halkett and published in 2017. Prof. Currid-Halkett leads the Public Policy Department at the University of Southern California. Her research interests tend to focus on the arts, culture, the consumer economy, and the role of culture in geographic and class divides.
Her main idea, portrayed through this book, is that, at the beginning of the 21st century, conspicuous consumption becomes more democratic. In other words, due to the mass-production economy, luxury goods have become significantly more accessible. The abundance of leisure no longer indicates a higher status. As a result, the leisure class is substituted by the aspirational class, whose members reveal their position through cultural signifiers and value systems. The objective of this book is to accurately analyse the portrait of this aspirational class, which transmits completely different consumer behaviour when compared to Veblen’s leisure class. The book combines both quantitative and qualitative research de-signs. Elizabeth Currid-Halkett examines the nationally representative Consumer Expenditure Survey from 1996 to 2014 (covering 35 000 American households per year). In addition, she draws on 15 interviews to explore Americans’ con-sumer practices in greater depth.
This review seeks to emphasize the importance of the author’s conclusions re-garding studies of consumer behaviour, social stratification, and social class the-ories. The first part of the paper covers the scientific background of the book and its methodological framework. The second part describes its theoretical frame along with statistical evidence and findings. The paper concludes by highlighting key limitations of the study and suggesting further research directions.

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