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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.

2023. Vol. 24. No. 4

Full text of the journal

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

New Texts

Dmitry Rogozin
Social Capital: Prospects for Theory Development
P. 12–37

The aim of this article is to re-evaluate the significance and relevance of the conceptualization of social bonds. The next steps involve altering operational definitions and questionnaire design, which first requires a critical examination of theoretical knowledge, an attempt to construct a conceptual framework, and an understanding of research perspectives. There are five primary tasks within the article. First, it is necessary to provide a brief review of the works of four classic authors in this field: Pierre Bourdieu, Robert Putnam, James Coleman, and Mark Granovetter. This selection is based on the personal preferences of the author and does not claim to be exhaustive. The second task is to the predominance of the economic aspect of social capital in the existing social research. The third task involves highlighting the development of the concept of social capital in Russia. Despite the absence of Russian authors among the classics, it is unreasonable to only discuss the replication of theoretical approaches. The reception of the concept in Russia is both interesting and heuristic. The fourth task is to propose a dominant social conceptualization that moves beyond economic interpretations of social bonds, focusing not just on resource exchange and the symbolic dictate of reciprocal relations. Finally, the fifth task involves presenting an alternative conceptualization scheme in which the idea of the public good takes precedence over individual schemes aimed at optimizing personal social status. This scheme emphasizes the primary role of the public good in the development and growth of social capital.

Anna Feigina, Elizaveta Aguzarova, Anastasiia Korovina, Maya Rusakova
Consumer Socialization of Children and Adolescents in the Context of the Digital Society
P. 38–61

This article showcases the results of a study on the formation of consumer behavior in children and adolescents within the context of digital society. The research problem lies in the lack of information about the specificities of forming consumer behavior in the context of the digital society. The research objective is to identify the nature and extent of the influence of agents of consumer socialization on the formation of consumer behavior in children and adolescents within the digital space. Bloggers are highlighted as specific agents of consumer socialization in the digital society. The theoretical foundations of the study include social learning theory and role theory of socialization. The concept of “consumer socialization” central to the study is thoroughly examined. Data collection was conducted through semi-structured interviews with 80 children and adolescents aged 12 to 16 from 27 regions of the Russian Federation. Interviews took place in cities such as St. Petersburg, Moscow, Novosibirsk, Samara, Kazan, Perm, Sochi, Surgut, Rostov-on-Don, and others. Data analysis was conducted using one of the thematic analysis techniques—Template Analysis, which allows structuring large data sets into hierarchically organized groups. The research revealed that parents, siblings, and peers actively participate in selecting and making online purchases of various gadgets for children. Parents often impose spending limits in the digital environment. Recipients of donations are often not bloggers themselves but friends or peers trying their hand at blogging. Bloggers currently hold authority among children and adolescents: the higher the authority, the more trust there is in advertisements within blogs. The data obtained from the research is planned to be used in future studies of consumer socialization and the development of specialized scales for surveys.

New Translations

Thomas Philippon
The Great Reversal. How America Gave Up on Free Markets (excerpt)
P. 62–73

The book “The Great Reversal: How America Gave Up on Free Markets” offers a fresh perspective on competition in the USA in the first decades of the 21st century. Based on the latest research findings and international comparisons, the author demonstrates that competition has been declining in the US domestic markets. The lack of competition is attributed to political choices resulting from the lobbying and financing of political campaigns by large corporations. These choices have led to the growth of market entry barriers and regulations that protect major market players, weaken antimonopoly regulation, and hinder the growth of small and medium-sized firms. The absence of competition also results in reduced wages, investments, and economic growth rates, along with increased inequality.
The Journal of Economic Sociology publishes the first chapter titled “Why Economists Adore Competition… and Why We Must Also Embrace It,” in which the author discusses the arguments in favor of competition that exist in economic theory. Additionally, the author reviews the potential positive and negative consequences of increasing competition. This book is intended for students, lecturers, economists, and anyone interested in economic issues encountered by certain markets and antimonopoly regulation.

Insight from the Regions

Dmitriy Timoshkin, Andrey Voloshin
How Informal Intermediaries Influence the Inclusion of Cross-BorderMigrants in the Shadow Labor Market (The Case of the Construction Industry in Irkutsk and Krasnoyarsk)
P. 74–91

This article examines non-formal intermediaries providing migrant workers from North Korea and Central Asia with jobs in the construction sector of Siberia. It delves into the interactions between these intermediaries and cross-border migrant workers, Russian authorities, and entrepreneurs. Furthermore, it discusses their role in migration flows and the integration of migrants into the shadow labor market of Siberian cities. Based on 13 semistructured interviews with non-formal intermediaries and representatives from the construction industry, we have highlighted the social characteristics of these intermediaries, their position within the horizontal networks used for servicing, employing, and exploiting migrant labor. It has been established that non-formal intermediaries support the development of crossborder migration flows of migrants employed in the shadow segment of the labor market. Upon their arrival in Russia, these migrants often take on “3d” jobs (dirty, dangerous and difficult), and their well-being and security depend significantly on the social capital of the intermediary who brought them to the country. These intermediaries exchange the social capital they have acquired over years of staying in Russia, especially their contacts with local officials and security forces, for a portion of the income earned by a labor migrant. In return, they facilitate interaction between migrants and the Russian state and business. The demand for non-formal intermediaries can be easily explained by the fact that many migrants from rural areas of Central Asia have limited knowledge of the Russian language and lack familiarity with the realities of life in large cities. While they are interested in working in Russia, they often lack the information and resources that an intermediary can provide in exchange for a portion of their future income. Another factor is the complexity of Russian migration legislation, which significantly increases the costs associated with integration. Intermediaries have connections within Russian state institutions, enabling them to reduce these costs for migrants, but again, in exchange for a portion of the migrant's earnings. Meanwhile, attracting migrants to the shadow segment of the labor market turns out to be beneficial for local “municipal political regimes” and provides them with various ways to collect fees for specific administrative or law enforcement services. Therefore, the complexity of legislation and the informal employment of migrants benefit all participants in the construction sector. Intermediaries and “municipal regimes” have the opportunity to earn income from this arrangement, while migrants have the chance to reduce the costs of legality, the cost of integration, and the overall level of uncertainty in the host country.

Beyond Borders

Denis Litvintsev
There are Many Complaints, but There is Profit.Abuse of Signal Institutions in the Russian Housing and Communal Services
P. 98–111

In 2022, a correspondence discussion on the challenges related to the functioning of the complaints institute within the housing and communal services sector in Russia was initiated within the pages of this journal. The discussion involved the author of this article and Olga Bessonova, a representative of the Novosibirsk School of Economics and Sociology. In response to the article titled “Complaints are not Gifts: Dysfunctionality of the Institution of Complaints in the Field of Housing and Communal Services in Russia” (vol. 23, no 4, pp. 110–121), which critiques the effectiveness of the complaints institution from an interdisciplinary perspective, Prof. Bessonova published a response article titled “The Institutional Nature of Complaints in Market and Distributional Environments” (vol. 23, no 5, pp. 133–144). The aim of the present article is to continue the debate and broaden it to encompass a discussion of the issues related to the functioning of both signaling institutions (complaints and profit) in the context of the apartment building management market. The author provides a detailed commentary on the specifics of the methodology used to study problems in the housing sector, and conducts an analysis of several indicators from open sources that point to the existence of false complaints and, consequently, institutional abuses by apartment building owners. Concerning the institution of profit, the author presents common socio-economic practices related to profit manipulation by management companies, including strict budgeting, fictitious employment, and affiliations with contractors. These practices lead to the dysfunction of the profit institution. The primary conclusion of this article is that the institutional environment itself, along with legal and regulatory institutions, contribute to the dysfunction of signaling institutions. They do so by promoting and effectively endorsing abuses by all market participants in the absence of genuine competition, which is essential for the complaints system to function as feedback, in line with the approach of Janelle Barlow and Claus Møller.

Professional Reviews

Alexander Pavlov
Sexual Capital
P. 112–133

Academic research on sexuality spans various disciplines, including sexology, sex research, critical sexuality studies, representations of sexuality in the media, gender studies, and sexual identity studies, among others. When it comes to the sociological study of sexuality, sociologists typically either engage in anthropological or narrowly sociological studies of social communities and spaces or conduct macroanalyses, as exemplified by Anthony Giddens in The Transformation of Intimacy (1992). In the 21st century, building on the sociological theory of Pierre Bourdieu, some sociologists have begun to develop the concept of “sexual capital,” viewing sex and sexuality as integral aspects of collective social life. This paper identifies and describes three sociological theories of sexual capital: “erotic capital” (Catherine Hakim); the theory of sexual fields (Adam Isaiah Green and others), in which sexual capital operates alongside other elements such as erotic habitus and practice; and “neoliberal sexual capital” (Eva Illouz and Dana Kaplan). Particular emphasis is placed on the latter theory, as it was introduced relatively recently. In the era of neoliberalism, where the precariat is constantly searching for opportunities in a highly competitive labor market, to feel masterfully becomes crucial . “Neoliberal sexual capital” facilitates this for several reasons: firstly, it boosts self-esteem; secondly, it implies dominance; thirdly, it can serve as a means to demonstrate social competence, and fourthly, it contributes to greater job satisfaction. Recognizing that discussions about sexual capital have only recently started to gain momentum, the author of this review paper presents these theories as competitors within the academic field of sociology.

New Books

Irina Ivleva
The Concept of Touching Animals or Market?
Book Review: Krylova K. 2023. Handy Animal Market, Moscow: NLO. 408 p.
P. 134–144

For some time, pets remained relatively invisible in social sciences, despite their significant social functions. However, in recent decades, there has been a phenomenon known as the “animal turn,” marked by the development of anthrozoology. Research focusing on this subject has begun to emerge in Russia as well. The book under review aligns well with this trend. As is indicated by the title, the book has a clear economic focus. K. Krylova aims to analyze the function of pets, their work practices, and consumption patterns associated with animals within the family context. The researcher categorizes small-sized animals that require minimal time and effort for care as “convenience pets.” The market for such pets is steadily growing, with high demand. K. Krylova essentially views them as precarious workers who provide their human companions with a unique emotional environment. However, it is worth noting that the book lacks an economic analysis. The author classifies modern Russian society as a neoliberal culture that individuals must adapt to. She emphasizes the impact of stress resulting from the nature of relationships and employment in societies and economies of this type. Specifically, she highlights a group of professionals with unpredictable work hours who delay marriage or having children and are vulnerable to various psychological issues, such as insomnia, depression, and nervous breakdown. Many of them turn to pets as substitutes for family. The author takes the concept of animals as “living anti-depressants” to its logical conclusion. She also delves into the effects of fantasy monsters found in books, movies, videogames, and microformat pets and neototems. While her analysis seems plausible, there are some limitations to consider: she primarily focuses on young professionals in creative fields and exclusively on micro-animals. It's worth noting that larger dogs, for example, can serve similar functions.

Daria Lebedeva
Искать сходства, а не различия: пять архетипов экосоциальных отношений
Рецензия на книгу: Kennedy E. H. 2022. Eco-Types: Five Ways of Caringabout the Environment. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. 280 p.
P. 145–161

In the United States, the ongoing political divisions encompass a variety of issues, including environmental concerns. Environmental protection and efforts to address climate change have become central topics in political polarization. “Eco-Types: Five Ways of Caring about the Environment” by Emily Huddart Kennedy, an Associate Professor of Sociology at The University of British Columbia, aims to rectify misconceptions about people's relationships with the environment. Rather than focusing on why some individuals engage with environmental issues, Kennedy explores the place of the environment in people's lives, revealing that there is more than one way to care for the environment. She outlines a spectrum of eco-social relationships, resulting from a mixed methods research approach of the study that included two phases: qualitative interviews followed by a representative survey of the US population which was based on the insights obtained through the interviews. The empirical data allow Kennedy to describe the cultural ideal of the environmentalist and identify five archetypes of eco-social relationships: (1) Eco-Engaged; (2) The Self-Effacing; (3) The Optimists; (4) The Fatalists; (5) The Indifferent. Kennedy concludes that the challenge of environmental protection exacerbates political polarization in American society and hinders collective progress in addressing environmental issues. She emphasizes that to protect the planet and mitigate the ecological crisis, it is essential to recognize that not everyone cares about the environment in the same way, not should we be similar in our care for the environment; yet a shared concern for the environment should unite rather than separate us.

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