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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.

2022. Vol. 23. No. 4

Full text of the journal

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

New Texts

Anastasia Shvetsova, Irina Simonova, Alena Obolenskaya, Marina Krivoshchekova
Online Practices of the Economic Behavior of Russian Women during Maternity Leave]
P. 12–36

The article analyzes the increasing importance of visual media content in the daily life of Russian women with children under the age of 3 and suggests methods for studying visual social networks, both graphic and intertextual content. Based on the theory of social construction of gender, the authors introduce the concept of “non-maternal practices of young mothers”, defining it as a set of actions performed by women during maternity leave and aimed at meeting their social, economic, psychological needs that arise from the disappearance of the usual rhythm of life. A significant part of these practices is implemented in the online space, which makes it possible to resolve the problem of their social isolation during this period. We analyzed 720 social media accounts to understand what the thematic field of the modern mother community is and what types of economic activity are implemented in it. The results of the study represent a classification of online practices of young mothers implemented in social networks and aimed at obtaining an economic effect. The classification is based on the principle of dominant agency: real or virtual. A feature of the first group is the choice of practices aimed at creating a product or providing services in direct interaction with the consumer (food production, clothing manufacturing, hairdressing and cosmetology services, education, and creative crafts), and the social network acts aimed at promoting a product or service. The second group focuses on the direct use of the digital environment as an economic resource (blogging, online consultations, network marketing). Most practices spring from women’s desire for communication, self-realization, and earnings, which is understandable in terms of gender analysis and economic realities. However, some actions may have problematic sociocultural consequences. The riskiness of the digital environment is associated with psychological consequences, including the formation of Internet addiction, as well as negative economic effects (the vulnerability of young mothers to Internet fraud, the discrepancy between time and labor costs, and the profit received). The main conclusion of the article is that the study of women’s online economic practices during maternity leave with a focus on non-maternity practices is a promising and strategically important area of research in the landscape of modern motherhood.

New Translations

Sharon Zukin
The Innovation Complex: Cities, Tech, and the New Economy (excerpt)
P. 37–72

The Innovation Complex presents a broad history of changes occurring worldwide. Focusing on New York City, Sharon Zukin shows a development of a new innovative economy. Each chapter is a study of the production of a particular space with its own embodied cultural forms and economic norms. In these processes, the whole innovation complex, including buildings, districts, and the city acquires scale, form, and sense. To show the scale of the innovation complex and how it works at different levels, the chapters in the book progress from describing smaller spaces to larger ones.
The Journal of Economic Sociology publishes the seventh chapter devoted to how educative channels aim to develop the principles of technical and financial meritocracy. The chapter starts at several private elite universities of New York—Cornell, Columbia, and New York University, which use their place within the innovation complex for promoting the institutional agenda of academic capitalism. Then, it considers "Channel for technical talents," the project for creating more inclusive technical labor force, which may involve lower qualified citizens of New York City, including graduates from the New York City University. The last channel covers commercial program schools, such as the General Assembly and Flatiron School, where students pay large fees for 12-week intensive courses to be prepared for work in the technological industry. At the end of the chapter, the author discusses whether the combination of talent, meritocracy and academic capitalism will increase social inequality in the city.

Beyond Borders

Andrei Semenov, Alena Gileva
Russian Instruments of Urban Planning from the Sociological Institutionalism Perspective
P. 73–95

In this paper, we study the role of urban development instruments in structuring the interactions among the key urban politics actors: citizens, developers, public authorities, and experts. Using the sociological institutionalism approach, we collected 39 interviews with relevant stakeholders in four large Russian cities (Tyumen, Perm, Ekaterinburg, and Novosibirsk) intending to uncover the “logic of appropriateness” behind the interpretation of the major formal planning instruments: general plans, land use, development rules, and public hearings. We show that following the formal rules of the planning process is based on their legally binding nature rather than on their embeddedness in normative-value orders. Consequently, the variability of the planning rules is determined by both the power asymmetry between the stakeholders of urban politics, and also by the absence of a general consensus regarding the value of these rules. We also demonstrate that while the informants almost universally critique general plans, they see some potential in the land use and development rules and the public hearings as instruments to build a local consensus. In other words, the problem of rule-following in urban planning has a distinct sociological dimension: the lack of a common value base in planning opens up a field of opportunities for rent-seeking behavior.

New Books

Nina Lyubinarskaya
Reason vs Feelling: Appearance of New Ecology of Choice in the Romantic Sphere of the Individual
Book Review: Illouz E. 2020. Pochemu lyubov’ ranit? Sotsiologicheskoe obyasnenie [Why Love Hurts? Sociological Explanation], Moscow; Berlin: Direct Media Publishing House. 400 p. (in Russian)
P. 96–109

The book review considers ideas and contemporary trends related to the sensual sphere of the individual and romantic relationships. In this book, Illouz writes about the consequences of modernism and the social conditioning of love, which is reflected in the romantic sphere. Her idea is that the institutions of modernism have led to the dominance of ideology of individualism, self-realization, political emancipation, independence, and free choice, and have changed personal ideas about what love should be and what romantic relationships can be. New forms of life have given rise to a “new ecology of choice” where choices are made based on culture and the sexualized discourse rather than personal preferences. In addition to using the works of well-known sociologists, Illouz’s argumentation is also based on empirical material. She analyses English novels of the XVIII-XIX centuries and modern novels about love and relationships, as well as self-help books and dating sites, soap operas, Internet blogs, and data coming from 70 interviews with men and women, aged 25 to 67, all of them with post-secondary degrees and living in three metropolitan areas in Europe, USA, and Israel. The sample included single people divided by three parameters: never married; married, but now divorced and currently single; and married people. Comparing these worlds, she tries to reconstruct the image of romantic relationships from the point of view of traditional culture and modernity. The purpose of the author is to show how the attitude of modern society to love, marriage, “love suffering”, and the relationship in general, have changed. Illouz problematizes the idea of marriage markets by Gary Becker, and writes about the crisis of family relations and the changing nature of marital obligations caused by the deinstitutionalization of marriage and the proliferation of individualized lifestyles.


Denis Litvintsev
Complaints are not Gifts. Dysfunctionality of the Institution of Complaints in the Field of Housing and Communal Services in Russia
P. 110–121

Complaints, their forms, and their functions, as well as their institutionalization in various sectors of the economy, attract increasing interest among scientists around the world. According to O. S. Sukharev, ideas about the socio-psychological nature of complaints suggest a certain dysfunction of the relevant institution, which reduces its effectiveness but does not lead to its collapse. This article reflects the result of correspondence with a representative of the Novosibirsk economic and sociological school Prof. O. E. Bessonova, the author of a series of articles on the benefits of complaints as a signaling institution of a non-market type. The discussion concerned the controversy regarding the effectiveness and functionality of complaints in the field of housing and communal services in Russia. The author’s position is that the institution under consideration is not fully effective due to various circumstances. The dysfunctionality of complaints is demonstrated in various cases of institutional abuse, with one of the results being the mimicry of the institution as defined by E. V. Balatsky (a complaint as a denunciation). Special attention is paid to the phenomenon of vacuous, perfunctory bureaucratic replies to complaints, considered an institutional trap by V. M. Polterovich. The problem of false signals of complaints and their consequences is analyzed. The advantages of a personal appeal as an informal way of solving a problem are compared to a formal written complaint. At the same time, the role of transaction costs in the choice of one or another method of filing a complaint is noted. In conclusion, a forecast is given about the decrease in the functionality of the institution of complaints in modern Russian conditions in relation to the housing and communal services.

Supplements (in English)

Polina Zhidkova
Determinants of Reasons for Financial Disagreements in Married or Cohabiting Couples in Russia: Relational Sociology Approach
P. 122–141

At present, research on financial disagreements is extensive but general. There are no studies of financial conflicts in Russian families. Taking into consideration the values of partners in dyadic relationships by utilizing relational sociology framework, the study explores five types of financial disagreements: (i) value conflict, (ii) conflict over price, (iii) conflict over necessity, (iv) goal conflict, and (v) conflict over income, in order to detail the structure and the various reasons behind conflicts about money in Russian families; and aims to understand the determinants behind each type.
The analysis was built on the 2018 wave of the Survey of Consumer Finance that presents dyadic data for 3,503 Russian couples. Regression models were calculated for men and women separately to identify gender effects.
All the considered reasons for financial disagreements are caused in part by partners’ different attitudes towards money. In addition, the increase in women’s share of family income increases the likelihood of conflict over price; traditionalist attitudes correlate with an increase in goal conflict; and conflict over income is connected with dissatisfaction with the decision-making process. The study shows the significance of considering partners’ values for the analysis of a family’s financial situation.

Ahmet Mert
The Ontological Disunity of Money in Sociological Theory
P. 141–153

This article examines the ontological question concerning the mode of existence of money in its various conceptualisations in sociology, namely in the theories of Marx, Simmel, Moss and Zelizer. It is argued that money is considered in sociological theory at three ontological levels, namely, (1) Determinate being of money, or concrete money stuff, which is immediately experienced and singularly represented, (2) the representation of money on which the perception of money stuff as money is grounded and (3) the objectivity of money, that is, the objective reality, either material or sui generis, which stands behind money as such. The first level, represented by Zelizer’s theory of monies, contains objects to which a subjective meaning is attached according to the concrete social relations. The second level takes money regardless of its substance and treats the essence of money not as the subjective meaning attached to things but as the idea of money, i.e., the universal form of representing things. The third level points at the reality that mediates the first two as subjective conditions of ultimate reality. It is shown that in all these theories the consistent account of money seems to be possible only due to the negation of the other ontological planes of money and that creates ontological disunity within all these theories.

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