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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.

2024. Vol. 25. No. 1

Full text of the journal

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

New Texts

Yana Roshchina, Yuliya Belova
Who Stops Drinking Alcohol in Russia?
P. 11–57

This paper, based on a longitudinal study, examines the factors of the transition to abstinence in Russia in the period from 2006 to 2020. The study draws on the database of the Russian Longitudinal Monitoring Survey, a series of representative surveys conducted by the Higher School of Economics for 20062020. Based on the results of binary logistic regression, several groups of factors were identified that influence the transition of Russians to abstinence in the year T + 1: older age, female gender, belonging to “Muslim ethnic groups”, living in cities of regional subordination and rural areas, pregnancy and childbirth by women, a decrease in per capita income for women, loss of employment status, self-assessment of health as deteriorating if the initial health assessment was as poor and very poor, self-assessment of health as improving compared to the initial health assessment as average, the presence of teetotalers in the family. Higher alcohol prices, other things being equal, increase the likelihood of men becoming abstainers more than twice. The most important factors for refusing to drink alcohol are natural - age and poor health. The presence of non-drinking family members contributes to the rejection of alcohol consumption, while excessive drinkers can have the opposite effect. An increase in the proportion of non-drinkers in the family and in society can set patterns for a sober lifestyle as a social norm. Promoting the value of health in society will help reduce alcohol consumption in the future.

Alexandr Maksimenko, Olga Deyneka, Darya Yurinova, Elena Charushina, Konstantin Boyarkin
Correlations of Compulsive Shopping with Anxiety and Depression in Russia
P. 58–84

The article is devoted to compulsive behavior among Russians during the period of economic sanctions. It argues that, unlike impulsive, compulsive purchases include not only and not so much purchases from the category of goods from the "checkout zone" of supermarkets, but also various manifestations of obsessive and auto-therapeutic consumption. The aim of the study was to search for correlations between the propensity to compulsive purchases with the severity of depression and the level of anxiety. 524 individuals (men  47%, women  53%, the average age of the respondents, M = 45 years) took part in an online research using the services anketolog.ru and yandex.toloka.ru. The following methods were used: "The scale of compulsive purchases" (E. Edwards), the Russian version of the "New scale of monetary behavior" by A. Furnham and S. Grover (adapted by T. A. Nestik, M. A. Gagarina), "The scale of depression, anxiety and stress" (DASS-21) and "The scale of sensitivity to anxiety" (ASI-3), and demographic indicators are also taken into account. The results of the survey showed that the tendency to compulsive purchases was associated with the age and gender of the respondents, as well as with their level of income and degree of religiosity. An analysis of the links between compulsive purchases, depression, anxiety and stress showed that people tend to engage in "binge" shopping when they are upset, feel irrational fear, panic, and a sense of emptiness and meaninglessness in life. The propensity for impulsive shopping therapy was found to be closely related to a person's sensitivity to anxiety (somatic, cognitive and social). The methodological problem of adopting the "Scale of compulsive purchases" to the Russian sample has been solved.

New Translations

Bernd C. Stahl, Doris Schroeder, Rowena Rodrigues
Ethics of Artificial Intelligence: Case Studies and Options for Addressing Ethical Challenge (excerpt)
P. 85–95

Ethics of Artificial Intelligence: Case Studies and Options for Addressing Ethical Challenges is based on the work that Prof. B. C. Stahl, Prof. D. Schroeder and R. Rodrigues were engaged in within the framework in a number of different projects. The main project that brought the authors together and demonstrated the need for case studies addressing ethical AI problems and ways to solve them was the EU-funded Shaping the Ethical Dimensions of Smart Information System (SHERPA; 2018–2021). This book provides real-life examples of ethical issues, along with discussions and coping strategies. The book is based on the case study method. Case studies are one of the best ways to learn about ethical dilemmas and gain insights into the various complexities and perspectives of stakeholders.
The Journal of Economic Sociology publishes the first chapter of the book “Ethics of Artificial Intelligence: An Introduction”, where the authors present their problem statement and outline the structure of their book.

Beyond Borders

Aleksandra Getman, Kseniya Adamovich
Regional Differences in the Access of Russian School Students to Distance Learning in 2016-2022
P. 96–116

Distance learning is one of the most discussed educational technologies in the world. While some researchers suggest that distance education contributes to reducing socio-economic inequality, other works show its consequences in the form of increased segregation. However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the transition to this form of education turned out to be an alternative to traditional education, despite all the disputes about its effectiveness and consequences.
The aim of this study is to analyze the regional differences in students’ access to distance learning in 20162022, carried out in the paradigm of N. Hillman’s Geography of Opportunities. Using the quasi-experimental method of interrupted time series, the dynamics of differences in the coverage of students with distance learning in 20162022 were estimated on the basis of regional statistical reporting forms. Then, using the Pearson correlation method, the relationship of students' access to distance learning with socio-economic and demographic characteristics of the regions was analyzed. Further, the fixed effects of the pandemic period on students’ access to distance learning in schools in different regions were evaluated.
The obtained results allow us to apply the concept of the geography of opportunities to the Russian context and confirm N. Hillman’s thesis about the existence of educational «deserts», where the educational opportunities of students are largely explained by a less prosperous context. The COVID-19 pandemic has served as a catalyst for the growth of existing differences. At the time of the lockdown in 2020, the readiness of schools to switch to distance learning varied greatly depending on the subject of the Russian Federation. In the most advantageous position were the regions described as educational «oases», where the growth of students’ access to distance learning was maximal during the pandemic. At the same time, some growth of this indicator in the regions that we describe as educational «deserts» was insufficient to reduce inequality. Thus, the application of the concept of the geography of opportunities to the Russian context highlights the potential of a decentralized system to reduce social inequality.

Debut Studies

Vera Potapova
Reassembling Economic Sociology: Methodological Traces of Actor-Network Theory
P. 117–136

Actor-network theory (ANT), originating as a methodology within Science and Technology Studies (STS), has provided a new theoretical impetus to other fields of social sciences in the 21st century. It has significantly influenced contemporary economic sociology, as well as urban studies, sociology of art and culture. In the first part of the article, the author traces the genesis of the ideas of actor-network theory developed by the French sociologist Bruno Latour as described in his book ‘Reassembling the Social: An Introduction to Actor-Network Theory’. In contrast to conventional critical sociology which adjusts social interactions under overarching theory, the sociology of associations closely examines actors’ autonomous contributions to organising human and non-human assemblages. Following the structure of the book, the author describes the uncertainties faced by the sociologist and the subsequent steps to overcome them which altogether form the methodological approach of actor-network theory. The second part of the article provides an overview of contemporary works in the field of economic sociology that incorporate the theoretical insights of ANT’s. It includes Michel Callon’s perspective on the performative effect of economics as well as his heuristic concept of ‘market devices’. Consequently, the article discusses ANT’s impact on the research of markets material conditions developed by economic sociologists Donald MacKenzie, Fabian Muniesa and others within the emerging domains of Social Studies of Finance and Sociology of Valuation.

Professional Reviews

Pavel Lisitsyn, Andrey Rezaev, Alexander Stepanov
Balances in the Migration Theories
P. 137–160

The paper aims to explore how the principles of the neoclassical approach, transformed into meta-theoretical foundations, have changed migration studies. The authors aim to evaluate the extent to which these changes have influenced the theory and practice of migration studies. Focusing its analysis on the works of authors often characterized as representatives of the “economic”/ “neoclassical” approaches, the paper aims to test the thesis that migration theories are characterized by fragmentation and inconsistency. In particular, turning to the analysis of the neoclassical theory, the authors will consider whether the transition from the classical approach in migration studies really laid the foundation for insurmountable contradictions between migration studies and theories of the distant past (late XIX - early XX century), the recent past (mid - late XX century), and the present (XXI century).
The current analysis includes the works of A. Lewis, D. Harris and M. Todaro, V. Zelinsky, M. Piore, O. Stark and D. Bloom. The key questions of the analysis will be: Is there a connection between the works of these authors and their predecessors? What contribution have the analyzed studies made to the modern perception of migration? What was the engine of migration studies of this period, often hailed as a breakthrough by most critics (and is it truly a breakthrough)? The authors will be interested in whether something distinguishes the so-called "economic stage of migration research" (the works of representatives of which are presented in the analysis) from other historical stages of migration research? In addition, this analysis offers an assessment of the relevance of the results of migration studies at the end of the XX century for today’s research.

New Books

Stanislav Pashkov
“Performative Decisions in Conditions of Systemic Uncertainty”: How the US Federal Reserve Solved the Crisis During the Global Financial Crisis of 2007-2008 Book Review: Abolafia M. Y. (2020) Stewards of the Market: How the Federal Reserve Made Sense of the Financial Crisis, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. 224 p
P. 161–175

Mitchell Abolafia's book offers an in-depth analysis of the famous Global Financial Crisis of 20072008. The book examines how the critical decisions made by officials of the US Federal Reserve System affected the operation of markets, the understanding of its participants of the full depth of the crisis, and the search for a way out of the current problem. The book delves into the history of the meetings of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) and the US Federal Reserve, at which its permanent representatives tried to anticipate the conditions of the impending financial crisis and find a favorable solution. A systematic analysis of the ethnographic materials collected by Abolafia allows the reader to trace how the “managed” exit from the crisis was carried out by “market managers”, and how this process ultimately turned out to be deeply political, social and cultural. The book places a significant emphasis on the process of “searching for solutions,” which is defined by M. Abolafia as “sensemaking.” It is this, coupled with the mechanisms for creating and reproducing performative conclusions and decisions, that characterizes how the FOMC had from the very beginning to find new solutions to a situation that at first was considered as typical, based on the experience of past financial crises. The book pays special attention to mechanisms for coping with uncertainty, formulated in terms of “improvisation,” something that becomes uncharacteristic of the FOMC. In general, the book focuses on the logic of understanding of the market situation, the role of “signals” and “effects,” and the development of a system of argumentation by officials when making decisions. The main conclusion of the book is that the technocratic control that was traced in the work of the FOMC, over a number of events and “behind-the-scenes” actions, was largely ambivalent in nature, since the FOMC experts did not have a factual understanding of the financial crisis. The book argues that stable cultural patterns served as interpretations of economic changes, which in turn slowed down the process of rapid response. Thus, the successful navigation of the crisis and the implementation of positive policy measures were possible thanks to the overcoming by the members of the FOMC and the Federal Reserve of their entrenched ideas about the economy, as well as their willingness to respond to market expectations.


Ivan Naumov, Marina Alieva
Scientific Conference “Nature-Based Solutions: What Russia Can Offer to the World?”, November 16, 2023, Moscow, Russia
P. 176–181

On 16 November 2023, European University at St. Petersburg, with the support of the Andrey Melnichenko Foundation, organised a scientific conference entitled "Nature-Based Solutions: What Russia Can Offer to the World?" More than twenty leading Russian and foreign climate change experts from natural and social science shared their views on the potential of using nature-based solutions (NBS) as a means of countering the negative effects of global warming.
The conference outlined the main areas in which NBS can be realised. The focus was on scientific research on present and past ecosystems, as well as models that offer scenarios of future climate development. Russian NBS initiatives, both current and potential, were discussed through the prism of historical experience and international practices.
The conference consisted of five thematic panels and ended with a general discussion involving young scientists and graduate students specialising on various components of the Earth system. The first panel was devoted to discussing the role of climate science in building climate policy, as well as the place of the NBS among other measures to deal with global warming. In the second panel, participants discussed the existing tools needed for successful implementation of NBS. The third panel focused on the presentation and discussion of NBS already being implemented in Russia: Pleistocene Park and the Carboniferous polygon network. Finally, the fourth and fifth panels were devoted to discussing potential mitigation and adaptation of NBS that could be implemented in Russia in the near future.

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