Institute of Sociology
of the Russian Academy of Sciences

Bulletin of the Institute of Sociology (Vestnik instituta sotziologii)

2015, No 13

ONTENTS

 

Khaliy I. A. Presenting This Issue (9-19)

 

Theme of the issue: Urban Development and social technologies

Rabinovich E. I. Instead of Introduction to the Theme of the Issue. Forecasting Social Projection (11-16)

Abstract.  Article is devoted to comparison of the first and second edition of the collective work «Forecasting Social Projection: Theoretical and Methodological Problems».

Keywords. forecasting social projection, methodology, political regime, economic conditions, «perestroika» (reorganization)

Shnyirenkov E. A. Meeting the Interests of Various Social Groups as a Basis for Urban Development (17-29)

Abstract.The article reviews various historical and contemporary examples of creating an urban environment through interaction between various social groups that make up the urban community. We propose a division of social agents into two categories. Agents of the first category influence  the urban environment directly, by overseeing housing construction, the development of the utility infrastructure, and the improvement of the urban community’s social structure. Agents of the second category are individuals, social groups, and social organizations, which are interested in seeing the urban environment development in a particular way that fulfills their needs. These agents may shape the urban environment indirectly, through the democratic election of representative government bodies, or through a system of hearings and referenda. These two categories may have contradictory interests, but in spite of this, the representatives of social groups and high authorities (i.e. entities of the first category) are compelled to bear in mind the interests of those entities which, following the provisions of this article, may be included in the second category. The examples studied in this research reveal that, almost since the very emergence of the first cities, entities of the first category have been using the various material resources under their control to develop housing and utility projects that help meet the communities’ need for material goods and social well-being. The 20th century saw a dramatic shift in the perception of the government’s role in handling the population’s social needs; this shift, together with the transformation of the political systems, gave rise to new means of orchestrating the proper functioning of the urban environment. The 20thcentury urbanization created new opportunities for people who live in cities, which also led to the emergence of new needs, and accounting for and addressing these needs is today’s main strategy when it comes to bridging the gap between the survival needs of millions of ordinary  members of urban communities and the economic interests of the national and local elite. Doing so contributes to a peaceful social environment and makes it possible for the community to keep developing economically, culturally, socially, and politically.
Keywords. City environment formation, social needs, social functions of the city, city structure, urban development, architectural and space planning, city population.

Kapitsyn V. M. Politics of Memory and the Symbolic Design of the Urban Environment (30-42)

Abstract.This research uses the visual analysis of a number of consolidating symbols in order to analyze the politics of memory in various cities, while taking into account the differences between the various facets of life – i.e. the universal structures where the status symbols of individuals and groups either complement or contradict one another, following a certain set of values. Among these facets of life, we distinguish: the spacial and territorial facet, which creates symbols connected to the landscape, climate, environment, transportation, or street planning; the natural anthropological facet, which comprises social and demographic symbols, linked to everyday routine, health, childhood, adolescence, maturity, seniority, femininity, and masculinity; the spiritual and cultural facet, which gives rise to symbols that are part of the communities’ myths, beliefs, ethic codes (in other words, the spiritual narrative); and finally, the professional actor facet, which includes symbols of distinctive achievements (local arts and crafts, professions, or the economy). The visual analysis of symbol design was carried out as a field study in Voronezh, Rostov-on-Don, Shchyolkovo, Dubna, and Mytishchi, and as a distance study in Ekaterinburg, Volgograd, Norilsk, and Zlatoust. A significant data corpus was also derived from reviewing foreign research conducted in Budapest, Cologne, Kharkiv, Lviv, and several other cities. This research was also greatly furthered by the study of several towns in the Nizhny Novgorod region. In addition, while substantiating our points and conclusions, we make frequent references to a case study in Magnitogorsk. This article reveals that the community’s semiotics are determined by the dominance of symbols from one of the facets of life described above. For example, if the overwhelming majority of community members was involved in industrial production, this led to the rise of an industrial center (in some cases, even a so-called one-company town), where the environment was dominated by professional actor symbols. Consequently, most of the locals’ memories were connected with industrial symbols, which helped link their past to their future. Currently, this thought process does not reflect the present-day commercialized symbols. On the other hand, this study shows that politics of memory and symbol design can help turn industrialized symbols into a tool for consolidating the community and setting the city on a path towards development. It is important to note that the politics of memory cannot result in the emergence of symbols that are over-saturated with political undertones. It is also vital to develop new consolidating symbols.
Keywords. Visual analysis, industrialized characters, the politics of memory, character design, industrial city.

Tovmasyan E. O. Moscow Needs Proper Social and Urban Planning Research (43-52)

Abstract. This article sheds light on the fledgling scholarly approach to involving the community in urban territorial planning projects in the first decade of the 20th century. For instance, it reviews the work of Patrick Geddes, a Scottish biologist, sociologist, and town planner. The study shows the dramatic way in which the scope of sociological research in the West expanded over the years, from demographic statistics and crime studies to economic research, and later on, to social and cultural, in particular sociological, research. We also trace the way the vital needs of urban communities were taken into account in Russia, starting from the 1920s. We give special emphasis to the fundamental work of the movement founded by Leonid Borisovich Kogan and his school. It was Kogan who initiated and oversaw the research of urban communities, which was carried out between the 1970s and the 1990s in the Moscow metropolitan area, the capitals of the three former Soviet republics (Tallinn, Tbilisi, and Yerevan), and in various major, large, and small research centers in Russia. Our findings show that as of today, population surveys in Russia and in Moscow are carried out by 115 research companies, including 44 companies headquartered in Moscow. These are mostly marketing surveys, i.e. mass, expert, telephone, and random sampling surveys. There are some social and urban planning studies and surveys among the people living in Moscow’s Old Town, which may be described as semisocial and urban planning research. These works are few and far between. There is one exception, however: the multidisciplinary research titled “Archeology of the Periphery”, which was carried out in 2013, in the area between the Third Ring Road and the Moscow Ring Road, by the Strelka Institute of Media, Architecture, and Design, as part of the Third International Urban Forum. We arrive at the conclusion that social and urban planning studies and urban-themed population surveys are largely ignored by the policy-makers in Russia, Moscow included. The last major comprehensive social and urban planning survey in Moscow was conducted over twenty years ago. This article highlights that today, the political and economic developments in Russia are overshadowing the processes in urban environments; notably, these processes are characterized by universal features that cross the boundaries of specific regions and the local political structure. The main conclusion that we make is that the perception of urbanization’s most profound underlying patterns through the prism of city policy should serve as a basis for decision-making, both in economic, social, and regional policy.Keywords. Socio-town planning surveys, researches of the urban population life activities processes, urban policy; town-planning policy, areal planning.

Bogdanov V. S., Prosyanyuk D. V. Moscow’s Territorial Expansion: a Development Strategy or an Unjustified Necessity? (53-70)

Abstract. This article describes today’s planned projects and tangible issues concerning the prospective development of new territories, proposed by the Moscow city council. The local authorities estimate that, in the long term, the new territories will be populated by 1.5 to 2 million people, which makes it necessary to work on the development concepts, drawing upon the implementation of Moscow’s new development master plan. The local and federal government’s plans to expand Moscow’s territory havereceived extensive mass media coverage. The past three years have seen a large number of events that became major newsmakers in informative and analytical publications. This article presents the results of content analysis, spanning as many as 3,500 publications, and shows the chronological development of the issue in the context of newsmaking events that are related to the expansion of Moscow’s territory. In addition, the article covers the key issues faced by the architectural and urban planning community, which have been registered in the preliminary conceptual studies for the Moscow metropolitan area development projects. Since today’s Russia lacks a national doctrine governing urban planning, and since it would be irrational to approach urban planning from the point of view of the city’s key industries, which do not have urban planning integrated into their production development strategies, architects and town planners are faced with a large number of challenges, which are connected with the conceptual base of drawing up urban planning documentation. And if not industrial production, what should the foundation of an urban development plan be? How do the concepts in question account for individuals’ needs, and are they geared to turn the city into a comfortable place to live? These are the questions that we bear in mind when turning to case studies: the summarized analysis of the needs expressed by people living in Moscow and the vicinity, presented by the project authors and their clients during the international contest of the Moscow metropolitan area development concepts. This articlepresents a unique point of view on the way new territories should be developed, offering a sociallyresponsible approach that is based on the social planning technologies and procedures introduced by the Center for Sociology of Management and Social Technology at the RAS Sociology Institute. This method has been successfully tested and incorporated during the development and implementation of urban planning initiatives and concepts that are vital for Moscow and other cities.
Keywords. Diagnostics of a social situation, social and diagnostic research, ecoanthropocentric sociology, content–analysis, sociology of government. 
Social Activity in Modern Russia

Klimova S. G., Klimov I. A., Shcherbakova I. V. Social Enterprise Communities (71-96)

Abstract. So far there have been very few studies of social entrepreneurship in Russia. More specifically, the social implications of this phenomenon have never been analyzed. This makes it difficult for experts to agree which particular enterprises could be described as social. In the meanwhile, agreement on this matter is absolutely necessary, since financial support projects, such as grants or preferential loans, need clearly defined criteria. This article singles out two key features of a social enterprise: innovation and social character. Innovation in this context implies not only the use of groundbreaking business ideas and the introduction of technical, technological, or management know-how, but also the transformation of rules and practices that govern the lifestyle of the social group involved in the enterprise’s operations. The social character of the enterprise is determined by the following: first of all, an enterprise must have its own social and cultural project, i.e. a business strategy that is aimed at meeting a certain social goal. On the one hand, it means that the enterprise is basing its development on the creative potential of its employees as the main driver of its growth and competitiveness. On the other hand, it also means that the enterprise is striving to carry out a certain mission, and has created a new system of values and a new communication environment, by promoting new ways of working together and rendering social services. We can distinguish several different types of these social projects. Secondly, a social enterprise must have a cultural concept of interacting with its personnel. We classify these concepts depending on whether the employers base their recruitment choices on operational functions or give greater priority to an employee as a person, gearing the function to his or her capabilities and interests. And thirdly, a social enterprise must be involved in social networking. This article describes the networks that surround a social enterprise. The study helps us arrive at the conclusion that a cooperative strategy involves networking capitalization – i.e. the use of the partner’s capabilities to meet the enterprise’s goals, in a way that allows the partner to benefit as well.Keywords. Social entrepreneurship, social enterprise, innovativeness, social and cultural project, community, cooperation, ethics.
Shcherbakova I. V. Changes in Teamwork: Between Demand and Breakup (98-116)
Abstract. This article studies teamwork at an energy plant in Moscow as an example that helps analyzethe changes that have occurred in workplace relations over the past few decades. We have carried out a number of in-depth interviews, revealing the employees’ thoughts on the team’s development stages, experience sharing, and relationship structure within their workplace. By reconstructing the principles of Soviet and modern teamwork, we reveal the factors that determine whether or not the team is close-knit. Special emphasis is given to such vital teamwork elements as professionalism,  flexibility, and personal initiative. We have discovered a specific feature of teamwork: namely, the team’s active efforts to assert itself as an independent social and economic entity. Out of all the elements of teamwork, the workers’ relationship with the management has experienced the most drastic transformation; this may be chiefly explained by the shift from a centralized energy sector that is fully controlled by the state to a market that is only partially governed by the state, combined with a completely new management and legal structure of the sector. This pilot research allows the development of more precise tools for studying teamwork, based on the data collected.
Keywords.labour collective, power engineering, engineers, collectivism, collectivity, managers.

Shlykova E. V. Young People’s Protest Potential in a High-Risk Environment: Case Study (117-136) 

Abstract. This article attempts to expand the sociological perception of risk as one of the factors that build up protest potential and provoke protest activity. In this context, protest activity is reviewed from the risk sociology standpoint, as a response to unfavorable conditions, which stem from a person’s vulnerability to such conditions. The study concerns the characteristic features of protest activity and protest capacity of young people who live in a high-risk environment. The data under analysis was collected during 2012 – 2013 on-site research carried out with the help of research consultants from the RAS Sociology Institute Risk and Disaster Department, in a Russian region that was characterized by a high-risk environment and vigorous protest activity of the local youth, caused by controversy surrounding the local mining industry. This research resulted in the creation of a database, which comprises several hundred formalized interviews (501 in 2012 and 394 in 2013), with the share of young people amounting to 21% in both cases. The present study divides the youth from the aforementioned region into those who took part in protests and those who showed potential for doing so. The analysis reveals certain differences between these two groups, in terms of social and demographic traits, attitude towards the social and political environment in their region and in the country as a whole, trust towards various social entities, overall estimate of the risk level, and attitude towards the development of the local mining industry. We have managed to establish the priorities that influence young people when they decide whether to take part in protests, namely the choice between the adverse impact on the environment and the locals’ health and the economic benefits that the community will reap from exploiting mineral deposits. We have also described the factors that, on the one hand, diminish young people’s protest capacity, and on the other, turn this capacity to action. The study highlights the importance of such actions as: lowering the risk associated with the mining industry to a socially acceptable level; fulfilling the regional government’s obligation to provide the community with the promised economic benefits; and increasing the level of trust towards the authorities. The analysis helps us arrive at the conclusion that it is vital to make responsible decisions, balancing between economic benefits and socially acceptable disadvantages.
Keywords. Risk sociology, risk, protest activity, protest capacity, young people. 
To Methodology of Scientific Researches

Davydov D. A. Is Social Capital Actually Capital? Thoughts on the Theory of Social Rent (137-153)

Abstract.The article contains the conceptual analysis of the social capital theory. It reveals that most interpretations of the “social capital” phenomenon do not reflect the classical and contemporary notions of capital in economics. This leads to a confusion of concepts. Today, social capital is described as social norms, values, and connections. Economists theorize about the positive influence of these phenomena. However, this article reveals that, as a rule, the behavior of social actors cannot be described as a rational investment process. More often than not, individuals’ decisions are governed by principles other than the desire to make a profit or fulfill egocentric needs. We believe that the positive impact on economics that researchers speculate about is merely a byproduct of day-to-day social activity. This prompts a conclusion that it would be incorrect to refer to certain social phenomena as “capital”. This article attempts to bring some clarity into the matter. In our view, social capital is the return on investment. Individuals invest in social connections, hoping to profit from them in the future. That said, in most cases it is difficult to distinguish social capital investments from actions that are guided by other motives, such as love, loyalty, or empathy. We believe that some social phenomena (for instance, fatherly love, etc.) cannot be referred to as “capital” for purely ethical reasons. In this context, our research shows that some versions of the social capital theory are best described through the prism of the economic rent theory. In classical economics, the term “rent” refers to the benefits that individuals receive from sources other than labor or capital. In a way, it could be described as a “gift of nature”. After all, it is hardly surprising that the rent theory initially started out as the study of land rent: the labor and capital investments being equal, different plots of land can provide different yield. When reviewing social phenomena, we propose a new interpretation of the so-called “social rent”. We believe the social rent is determined by a favorable social environment. A given individual may be born in a comfortable environment, or they may befriend someone without thinking that this friendship could potentially be beneficial. In addition, social rent is frequently determined by the specific features of social structure (trust, social norms and values, etc.). In our opinion, the reason why certain forms of social rent are relevant is their connection to everyday social interactions. All of this means that research on the matter needs a more careful approach, with a more skeptical attitude towards individuals as economic actors and a greater emphasis on individuals as social actors.
Keywords. Investments, social capital, social rent, social connections. 
Online Appendix
Krasin U. A. Breakthrough in the Reformation Era (154-197)