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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.

2024. Vol. 25. No. 3

Full text of the journal

Editor’s Foreword (Vadim Radaev)
P. 9–12

New Texts

Sergey Korotaev
Historical Semantics of the Class Concept in Academic Literature: The Experience of Quantitative Analysis
P. 13–50

The paper is devoted to the quantitative analysis of semantic changes in the meaning of a concept of “class” in the sociological texts from the second third of the twentieth century to the present. The relevance of the study is conditioned by the lack of clarity and multiple meanings of the concept in question. This ambiguity has led to numerous fruitless discussions about definitions, exemplified by the famous debate on the “death of class”. In contrast to existing works on the history of “class” concept based on close engagement with a limited number of specialized sources, the focus of this paper is to explicate the term's common usage across a wide range of topics in sociological publications. The analysis is based on a corpus of abstracts from the leading sociological journals using quantitative methods. A key question is to what extent the well-known discussions of experts on class analysis have influenced the widespread use of the concept by sociologists. A number of additional questions aimed at identifying the factors determining the dynamics of the term's use were also considered: to what extent the word “class” has retained the conflict connotations derived from Marxism; and whether there is a connection between this concept and terminology denoting statistical methods. Proceeding from the fact that the concept can be expressed by different words in different periods of time in different texts, we examined the semantic field which included, in addition to “class”, a number of related terms such as “stratification” and “mobility”. According to the analysis, most of the examined terms have remained relatively stable in their semantics. Nevertheless, a few changes of the class definition, known from the core literature, have affected its practical usage. However, as one can assume, the general “disciplining” effect of numerous publications by major authors is fading, which allows us to formulate the hypothesis that “class” is losing its conceptual content, turning into a metaphor, and its use in sociological texts is getting closer to non-academic.

Olga Kuzina, Darya Moiseeva
Is There a Relationship Between Household Saving Behavior, Trust in Financial Institutions and Saving Attitudes in Contemporary Russia?
P. 51–100

The paper examines household savings as one of the indicators of household financial fragility/resilience in Russia. The main goal is to reveal the relationship between people’s trust in financial institutions, their saving behavior and their savings attitudes. The study of financial fragility/resilience is important for the development of economic and social policies, especially in relation to those conditions upon which state can work. The study contributes to the existing literature by using Russian micro data and the inclusion of trust in institutions and savings attitudes among the covariates of household savings. The empirical basis of the study is cross-sectional data from all-Russian population surveys collected in 2009–2023. The financial resilience is low due to the fact that only about one third of Russians have savings which amount is rather small. The data also show high levels of distrust towards most socio-political and financial institutions. Based on the principal components method, two latent factors of trust were identified. The first one was related to trust in socio-political institutions, Sberbank and Bank of Russia, Deposit Insurance Agency (DIA) and state-owned banks, the second one included trust in all non-state financial institutions. Regression analysis showed that saving attitudes and both components of trust are positively correlated with savings. Associative rule learning method showed that even in presence of the positive attitude towards savings the most common non-random combinations of answers were lack of savings, distrust towards banks (with the exception of Sberbank), distrust to the Deposit Insurance Agency. Thus, distrust of socio-political and financial institutions is an obstacle to the increase in the amount of savings and financial resilience of Russian households.

New Translations

Sabine Pfeiffer
Digital Capitalism and Distributive Forces (excerpt)
P. 101–122

In her book Digital Capitalism and Distributive Forces, sociology professor Sabina Pfeiffer questions the idea that digitalization is a technology that replaces human labor. In her analysis of the novelties brought by digitalization and digital capitalism, the author introduces the concept of distributive powers by analogy with Marx’s concept of productive power. Pfeiffer shows that digital capitalism is aimed not so much at the efficient production of value, but rather at its rapid, risk-free and permanently guaranteed implementation in the markets. Studying this dynamic and its consequences also leads to the question of how destructive the distributional forces of digital capitalism can be.
The Journal of Economic Sociology publishes an Introduction where Pfeiffer formulates the main assumption, which she develops on a theoretical and empirical level in the presented book. The hypothesis is related to the problem of modern capitalism, where economic value is provided only by successful sales. Additionally, Pfeiffer discusses what constitutes the novelty of digital capitalism and what its immanent diagnoses are. Finally, the author provides a detailed overview of the book’s structure and its main ideas.

Insight from the Regions

Dmitry Fedotov, Svetlana Inkizhinova, Denis Shkurin

P. 123–159

The article examines the problems of corruption in the Irkutsk region, an industrial area located in Siberia. The Irkutsk region was chosen as the object of the study. The objective of the study is to identify the factors influencing the level of corruption in the Irkutsk region. As a hypothesis of the study, the assumption is put forward that the institutionalization of corruption processes within Russian society is currently taking place. To measure the level of corruption in the Irkutsk region, a methodology of sociological research of the level and characteristics of corruption in the region has been developed and applied. The study employed a survey method on an online panel. As a result of the study, it was found that the level of domestic corruption in the Irkutsk region, measured at 13.0% in 2022, is slightly lower compared to other Russian regions. Most often, the population faces domestic corruption when receiving free medical care and due to the need for additional payments in secondary schools. During the study, risk groups were identified among respondents with a higher probability of getting into a corrupt situation. Also, a number of characteristics were identified that increase the propensity to engage in corrupt actions, including: being male, older (55–64 years) or of retirement age (65 years +), having a high financial status, and working as an individual entrepreneur, farmer or manager. It was found that the amount of business corruption in the Irkutsk region was 21.4% among the respondents representing business. The study reveals the purposes behind corruption actions committed by business representatives. It shows that corruption in the Irkutsk region is deeply entrenched in the form of a social institution, characterized by institutional components such as informal norms and mechanisms of coercion that compel adherence to corrupt practices. The obtained scientific results can be used to inform the implementation of the state anti-corruption policies.

Debut Studies

Valeria Kalinina
Charisma and Everyday Life in the Economic Field
P. 160–182

Much of the discussion surrounding Max Weber's category of charisma focuses on the processes of routinization and objectification, which result in depersonalization and the loss of revolutionary character in the originally personal quality. However, there are examples where personal and routinized types overlap. In such cases, the proclaimed ideas are extraordinary and innovative, but are limited to an isolated sphere of influence and do not claim the status of comprehensive revolutionary principles. On the other hand, the personal character is preserved, avoiding the depersonalization typical of routinized forms. A number of questions arise: Is there a place for charisma in such cases? Is it appropriate to speak of an everyday version of the phenomenon while avoiding a “benevolent” character?
In order to distinguish those cases when, in contrast to the fabricated character, the use of the category is permissible and appropriate, it is necessary to turn to the genesis of everyday charisma. For this purpose, the central argument of the article is grounded in the modified classical content of the term proposed by K. Kremer in the context of market constellations analysis. As a consequence, based on the proposed approach in combination with the works of N. Biggart, W. Bachmann, R. Sennett, S. N. Eisenstadt, P. Bourdieu, S. Turner, A. Bienfais and E. Horn, the paper systematizes the idea of the process in constructing everyday charisma, the mechanism of imitation and subordination and the ways of strengthening the legitimacy of everyday charisma. The examples of K. Kremer's “economic actor” and retail strategies of luxury brands demonstrate the possibilities of applying the category of charisma to the cases when the blending of economic and social foundations leads to a shift away from rational motivations of economic actors to maximize their utility.

Professional Reviews

Stanislav Pashkov
Non-Economic Structure of Consumer Sentiments: The Role of Social Embeddedness in Variability of Consumer Expectations
P. 183–212

The review is devoted to the discussion around research on consumer expectations, with a focus on the methodological aspects and current problems of measuring the Consumer Sentiment Index (CSI) from a sociological perspective. The need to discuss the role of non-economic factors in the formation of consumer expectations is substantiated by sociological (socio-demographic) foundations, the influence of social environment (institutions), and the entrenched role of mass media. This approach allows us to explain “anomalies” that emerge in time series models, especially during periods of economic turbulence. As part of the study, the history of psychological economics (the theoretical basis of PPI) is provided, and key approaches, theses and studies are considered. Most studies of consumer sentiment before the 1990s were descriptive in nature, based on economic data without deep reflection. Since the 1990s, new directions and studies have emerged, aiming to find meaningful explanation for changes in the index during periods of economic change. However, the findings are often disjointed and fail to establish systematic connections between consumer expectations, social factors and macroeconomics. One option for developing a “middle-range theory” involves constructing a conceptual framework based on the concept of embeddedness proposed by S. Zukin and P. DiMaggio. It has been shown that some forms of embeddedness make it possible to explain deviations and stable trends in the analysis of time series at a meaningful level. In this case, mass media can not only methodically complement the analysis of the IPI, but also plays a role in the rootedness of economic action. An important result of the work is the development of an updated conceptual framework that includes embeddedness as a significant variable in the construction of econometric models, indicating the specifics and possible limitations of this approach. The article contributes to the expansion of the utilization of CSI in sociological longitudinal studies, including the incorporation of mass media as an additional variable.

New Books

Daria Petrova
On Rumors and Their Debunking: How to Deal with Misinformation?
Book Review: Berinsky A. J. (2023) Political Rumors: Why We Accept Misinformation and How to Fight It, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. 240 p.
P. 213–228

“Political Rumors: Why We Accept Misinformation and How to Fight It” is the result of Adam Berinsky's long-term research, which analyses different aspects of rumors as a form of inaccurate information. It examines how rumors spread and persist in media space due to their virality, repetition and social transmission. Factors related to the belief in misinformation are highlighted, among them the tendency to conspiracy thinking and dogmatism, as well as political non-involvement. Combining psychological and political science approaches, the author focuses on the peculiarities of perception of rumors and their refutations. Although the effect is short-term, a productive strategy is to correct rumors that resonate with an individual's political orientation. Through a series of experiments, the book proves the propensity of people to confirm their beliefs, whereby sources whose party identity matches the person's perceptions have greater credibility. In contrast, in the case of refutations, information broadcast by sources that benefit from the rumor, respectively, come into opposition with one's political attitudes and partisanship. The book offers a new way of considering the possibilities of unmasking rumors by employing psychological and heuristic mechanisms of information perception and shifting attention from neutral sources of debunking to those with distinct political biases.

Supplements (in English)

Adrianus Kabubu Hudang, Yulia Setyarini
Do Subsidized Rice and Conditional Cash Transfer Programs Affect Poor Households’ Food Consumption Expenditures? A Difference-inDifferences Approach
P. 229–246

Raskin (Subsidized Rice) and PKH (Conditional Cash Transfers for Low-Income Families) are social protection programs aimed at mitigating poverty in Indonesia. Using the difference-in-differences method, this study scrutinizes the impacts of Raskin and PKH on poor Indonesian households’ food consumption expenditures. The analysis utilized data from the 2007 and 2014 Indonesia Family Life Survey (IFLS). The findings show that the implementation of the Raskin programme has a significant impact on the consumption expenditure of poor households. This is because most poor households receive Raskin as their main food to fulfil their household consumption needs, especially during periods of crisis, climate change or crop failure. Other factors that also influence the amount of food consumption expenditure of poor households include the age of the household head, the number of household members and the location of the household. On the other hand, PKH does not have a significant impact on consumption expenditure due to the lack of valid data of target recipients as its implementation requires behavioural compliance related to children’s school attendance and antenatal health check-up. It is therefore, programme improvements for both Raskin and PKH are carried out by always updating the target data of poor households so that the assistance provided can be received by the right target. In addition, it is very important to promote understanding and raise awareness in order to encourage children to attend school and pregnant women to use health services with intensive socialization and assistance especially for poor households.

Anna Tikhomirova
The Future We Live In
Book Review: Bäckström K., Egan-Wyer C., Samsioe E. (eds) (2024) The Future of Consumption: How Technology, Sustainability and Wellbeing will Transform Retail and Customer Experience, Cham: Palgrave Macmillan. 383 p.
P. 247–257

The book “The Future of Consumption” offers the readers to take a look at the trends in the modern retail industry and their impact on the future of consumption. The editors, Kristina Bäckström, Carys Egan-Wyer, and Emma Samsioe, present the material in a deductive manner by first outlining the general topic of each part that provides the reader with the general idea. They guide the reader through technological, sustainable, wellbeing, and customer experience factors, all of which are closely interlinked and shape consumption practices. They further divide parts into smaller elements, with each reflecting on the crucial tendencies within the modern consumption practices, which are to determine the future of consumption. In each chapter, the authors unpack the integral elements of modern consumption discourse that by the end of the book helps the reader assemble the jigsaw puzzle and get a complete understanding of the future of consumption.
Even though the book presents a purely marketing standpoint and manifests itself as a guide for market researchers and practitioners, the reader can find a lot of evidence that the factors described have a much deeper societal nature beyond just consumption patterns. Modern consumption is no longer only about obtaining and utilizing goods and services. It is about self-identity and self-definition, when through consumption people tell who they are, what social stand they represent, and what values and beliefs they reflect. The role of the retailer is also undergoing certain transformations. Modern retailers and brands are seen as the transmitters of social and political ideas, those who are able to shape public opinion and significantly alter consumption behavior. All the players of modern retail are interconnected and affect one another.

Sergey Korotaev

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