Bulletin of the Institute of Sociology (Vestnik instituta sotziologii)
2015, No 15
Khaliy I. A. Presenting This Issue (9-11)
The Theme of the Issue: Crimea as a New Region of Russian Federation
Khaliy I. A. Transformation Processes in Modern Crimea (12-22)
Abstract: The current events in Crimea are the obvious signs of a transition from one political and cultural system to another. The transition does not entail any radical economic changes (i.e. the emergence of a market economy), since the new economy type has already been accepted and partly established in the communities that we are studying. This might prompt a conclusion that this new transition has not been as dramatic as the transition from socialism to capitalism. However, it has still caused the “cultural trauma” described by Piotr Sztompka. Along with the trauma comes the need for recovery. Thus recovery is our main focus in this study. We base our analysis on informal observation of the Crimean community and the attitudes thereof in the post-Soviet era, as well as on the field research carried out by the center for studying the social and cultural development of Russian regions in August and September, 2015. We have employed various qualitative study methods, such as: in-depths interviews with members of the local government and representatives of educational, healthcare, and cultural institutions, as well as with ordinary community members in five cities across Crimea (84 interviews in all); and 3 focus groups with local college students. We must point out that the research did not cover the local Tatar community. Our studies show that the transformation processes are underway, and the initiative to bolster these processes is supported by the majority of the Crimean population. It is also evident that the transformation is backed by the Crimean people’s unwavering affinity towards Russia, as well as by their economic activity, which has experienced few changes over the course of many years. The analysis of Crimea’s successful reunification with Russia reveals that the modern Crimean society has all the necessary prerequisites. These include: ample economic and human resources; general consent among the society’s elite; and the state’s confidence regarding social control and the prevention of drastic confrontations and armed conflicts. Research proves that the reclamation of Crimea has a future, because the modern Crimean youth, especially students, are confident about their affiliation with the region, as they keep studying here and intend to stay in Crimea once they graduate.
Keywords: Sociology, transformation, cultural trauma, political and social practices, Crimean society, local communities, reunification with Russia.
Chigrin V. A., Kharabuga V. V. Crimean Events and the Development of Society’s Historical Memory (23-34)
Abstract. The article raises the issue of the historical memory of various age and ethnic groups as an important part of their identity. It analyzes the methodological and procedural peculiarities of studying this complex phenomenon within an ethnically diverse community, in region that is also just as diverse in terms of the climate and environment, community types, and the social and professional stratification. Independent sociological research disproves certain sociologists’ attempt to assert that the overwhelming majority of the Crimean population, young adults and students in particular, is opposed to their home region being reunited with Russia. Our studies reveal that not all of these sociologists, despite their claims of professionalism, are in fact capable of properly employing the necessary methods and procedures that are needed to plan, organize, carry out, and analyze a sociological survey. Such semi-professional research is then used by the media for political propaganda. The article lists several examples that show the level of scrupulous attention to every detail that is required from sociologists in order to collect reliable, relevant, and empirically supported data. We also establish that today, efforts must be made to fill in and turn over a new leaf in the book of historical memory, shared by the current and future generations of Crimeans, so that the local youth and students embrace the values of ethnic and religious diversity. And finally, we arrive at the general conclusion that such challenges of the modern age as the reclamation of Crimea, the Ukrainian crisis, the war in Syria, the immigration issues in the European Union, and the outbreak of xenophobia in the countries that once prided themselves on their tolerance, are symptoms of an overall decline of political and legal culture among the people, as well as a lack of balance, and outright distortions, in the way some young adults perceive socially acceptable behavior, in terms of both day-to-day interactions and social and political practices. As a result, we believe that society should do its utmost to nurture responsible citizens and patriots with an untainted historical memory.
Keywords: Sociology, Crimea, historical memory, mentality, research sampling, ethnic profile, patriotic upbringing.
Sherbina V. N. Developing Crimea’s Human Environment as a Multilateral Social and Cultural Concept (35-45)
Abstract. The article reviews the development of a holistic human environment in Crimea in its social aspect. This environment is defined as a community that has been formed over the course of history by various ethnic groups that have lived side by side for centuries. Ethnic diversity is one of Crimea’s most prominent features, and it has contributed to the emergence of an unmatched social and cultural environment. We suggest that the development of such a socially and culturally diverse human environment be reviewed as a unified complex of various social and cultural practices and behaviors, i.e. traditional, modern, and communicative ones. Having analyzed Crimea’s long and eventful history, we prove that the region has an astounding communicative potential, which it owes to the coexistence of various ethnic groups. This unique example of cross-cultural interaction is to be preserved and further developed to match the reality of today. This mission may be fulfilled through employing specific approaches that will allow us to gain an insight into these diverse cultures as a unified whole. To achieve this, we must, first and foremost, understand the peculiarities of the social environment where the various social entities interact. This article reveals that a holistic human environment in Crimea is being formed by various cultural environments that overlap with one another thanks to shared social practices. The goal of developing this environment may bring together several interested parties, such as the government, various businesses, and grassroots organizations. The issue of social responsibility may be a meeting point of agendas for the government (in terms of generating a robust social environment), business (in terms of generating a capable labor force and innovation capital) and grassroots organizations (in terms of realizing the potential for self-governance and personal growth). Religious organizations may also make quite a significant contribution to the process. Outlining the course of development for a holistic human environment shall only be successful when it brings together the individual interests of all these social entities, both on the local governance level and on the level of centralized policy-making. In conclusion, we stipulate that the Republic of Crimea has sound potential for developing human environment, based on social responsibility programs that should be developed jointly by the government, business, and grassroots.
Keywords: cultural practices, human environment, social responsibility, social development
Dracheva M. V. The Sea-Shore System and Sustainable Development of Crimea (46-56)
Abstract. The article highlights the connection between various environmental, economic, and social processes that take place within the Sea-Shore system, which constitutes a complex natural, economic, and social phenomenon. These processes stem from a high level of economic activity in the region, as well as from its specific environmental features. In addition, the Crimean Sea-Shore system is also influenced by the ethnic factor. As a result, in order to efficiently resolve the issues faced by the Crimean Peninsula, all of these components must be taken into account as a whole while developing a sustainable development plan. The purpose of this article is to justify the need for reviewing the Sea-Shore system as part of the sustainable development concept for coastal areas, using the Crimean peninsula as an example. Studies show that, as economic activity increases but the resources remain limited, various economic entities find themselves involved in an inevitable conflict over access to the natural resources of coastal areas, as well as over possible alternative uses for such resources and the arising limitations. There are several sides to such conflicts, both economic, social, political, and legal, which is why they often cause a noticeable stir among the public. We point out that in the case of Crimea, the importance of putting in place a sustainable development concept is defined by the current processes and issues that are connected with the development of the Sea-Shore system, based on the geostrategic interests of the Russian Federation. Our research validates a conclusion that, since the entire Crimean region lies within a coastal area, it is crucial to harmonize local governance in tune the sustainable development concept, while taking into account all the processes characteristic of such a complex social construct as the Sea-Shore system, which encompasses three main elements: nature, society, and economy.
Keywords: Sea-Shore system, sustainable development, coastal area, Crimean Peninsula, marine economic complex, social and economic development
Gurko T. A., Khromacheva A. Y. Sociology Students about Family, Gender, and Their Attitude to Parents (57-71)
Abstract. The article studies several trends in the development of marital and familial relationships in Russia as compared to the rest of the world, and defines the specific features of starting a family in today’s Russia. The analysis of data derived from several regional surveys among students shows that, unlike the Soviet generation, the new generation of Russians treats marriage as a rational and conscious decision; this is especially true of young people with a college education. Moreover, the age at first marriage steadily grows higher and higher with every year, among both men and women. The article draws upon the results of a survey among sociology students from Moscow, as well as those from two universities in another Russian region, which were carried out by the Institute of Sociology of the Russian Academy of Science (Familial Sociology Sector) in 2015. The main purpose of the survey was to study and compare the way students from Moscow and the Volga Federal District perceive the notions of family and gender; it was conducted, among other reasons, for teaching purposes. Most of the data was gathered by means of questionnaires, which the respondents filled in anonymously, as well as during face-to-face interviews with students from the Russian capital. The analysis of the way sociology students perceive the concept of family reveals that for the vast majority of respondents, family is first and foremost a psychological value, which implies deep affection, but not necessarily relations by blood. The respondents stress mutual support, especially in moral and financial matters, irrespective of whether or not family members live under one roof. What is more, the students do not necessarily put a sign of equality between having a family and having children, and nor do they believe that a family presupposes a certain structure. As for gender, this concept (with very few exceptions) is not fully understood by students, even those who major in sociology. The conflicts between students and their parents mostly stem from the disparity between the values of the Soviet generation (parents) and the post-Soviet generation (students). Conflicts mostly arise between mothers and daughters and between fathers and sons.
Keywords: starting a family, sociology students, family, gender, parents, concept.
Lebed’ O. L., Mishchenko V. A. Media and Public Opinion on Contemporary Images of Family and Marriage (72-92)
Abstract. The article is dedicated to two studies: content analysis of printed media (one regional and two metropolitan papers), aimed at identifying the current image of the modern family; and a nation-wide survey of Russians, with questions about the respondents’ “ideal” and actual family. An analysis of these studies’ results shows that the ideal perception of family does not match the actual reality by far; in turn, real families are fairly similar in terms of structure and role allocation to those described by the media. The most widespread family types may be described as follows: nuclear families (married couples), families with few (one or two) children, families with unstable or conflicted relations, and two-generation families (parents and children). As for traditional family perceptions, most Russians believe that a traditional family is one where both parents stay together, are officially married, and have several children; where the family elders (members of the older generation) are treated with respect, with their opinions being taken into consideration; and where either the husband is the main bread-winner and the wife is the home-maker, or both spouses share the duties of providing for the family and taking care of the children. Actual Russian families, however, are far from matching this “ideal”, “desired” model. The precise nature of the differences is determined by the region, age, and location (urban/rural). Even the very notion of a traditional family is supplied with different meaning by various social groups: some define a traditional family as something that reflects patriarchal values; others, as something typical, familiar, and widespread; and some respondents say that a traditional family is a family that follows certain traditions (national, cultural, religious, dynastic, etc.). The survey shows that the most universal consensus (i.e. the least amount of disagreements among the respondents) about which features of a family are socially acceptable is reached when selecting the following options: two-parent family, official marriage, respect towards the elders, one or two children, nuclear family. When talking about what is socially unacceptable, respondents tend to mention infidelity and same-sex marriage. However, the attitude towards such phenomena as common-law marriage, large families with a lot of relatives and several generations, families with many children, religious marriage, and marriage “till death do us part”, is far less categorical.
Keywords: family, nation-wide survey, content analysis of printed media, family structure, gender roles, familial practices.
Sociology of Mass Communication
Ivchenkova M. S. Specific Features of Television Content Consumption Among the Youth (93-107)
Abstract. The article outlines the results of a sociological study dedicated to television content consumption among the youth of Saratov. The media is often referred to as the fourth branch of government. The mechanism which the media employ to influence the public opinion comprises several elements, such as targeted search and selection of information; the extent to which this information reflects real facts; the means of preparing, interpreting, and distributing information; and the meaningful sequences of visual images and codes. At the same time, the media’s audience is also a relatively independent social entity in its own right, with a number of specific features and its own way of perceiving information. This is especially apparent in the case of young adults, which is why a sociological survey among this group was carried out in Saratov in 2014. The survey’s results facilitated a detailed description of the young adult television audience, while also allowing to reveal the peculiar features of television content consumption among the urban youth and to evaluate the significance of television media as a societal institute. A large share of the Saratov youth regularly spends their free time watching television; the content, however, is mostly selected at random. Most young adult viewers from Saratov regard television as their main source of entertainment, education, and information. They also believe that the media is a highly significant social institute and socialization agent. In terms of the factors that drive the Saratov youth’s opinion of television’s significance as a social institute, the study revealed several key variables: the viewer’s age, the number of times the viewer watches television, and the average duration of a television session. The study’s results indicate that the importance of television as a means of recreation is steadily decreasing, with fewer television sessions per week. Television as a means of entertainment is more important to those who watch television more often, and barely matters to those who hardly ever watch television. Such patterns are fairly relative, but they still should be taken into account while analyzing the way television functions; they will also help shed more light on the social mechanisms behind the media’s interaction with the public.
Keywords: television consumption, television session, the youth, television media, social functions of television.
Fadeev P. V. The Media as a Driving Factor Behind the Attitude Towards Immigrants (108-128)
Abstract. The article attempts to analyze mass media activity and to determine how it shapes the opinion on immigration issues. We review the media coverage of both immigrants themselves and of the events in relation to which the matter of immigration comes up most often. We have used Medialogia media monitoring software in order to discover whether the information distributed by media contains latent stereotypes that may bias the population against immigrants. Our research mainly concerns Uzbek immigrants living in St. Petersburg, Tajik immigrants living in Kaluga Region, Chechen immigrants living in Rostov Region, and Ukrainian immigrants living in Belgorod Region. The analysis of media mentions of Uzbek immigrants in St. Petersburg reveals that the coverage is mostly negative and perpetuates a stereotype of immigrants as a hostile force. The Tajik minority in Kaluga Region often finds itself beyond the media’s area of interest (and those rare cases when it does get mentioned are mostly in the context of illegal immigration and breaking the law, as is the case with Uzbeks in St. Petersburg). Likewise, the Rostov media barely pay any attention to the Chechen minority, which prompts a conclusion that they are unlikely to encourage a negative perception of this ethnic group. And if the media do cover the subject of Chechen immigrants, they inevitably mention the unique features of their culture, along with the similarities they share with other ethnic groups. The mentions of Ukrainians living in Belgorod, in turn, are mostly neutral statements of facts. At the same time, the news items may be accompanied by a range of contrasting opinions, from expressions of sympathy and support to complaints from the locals. In conclusion, we stipulate that over the past couple of years, immigrants have been receiving less media coverage, which, on the one hand, may be regarded as a positive trend (with the public’s attention focused on other news, the tension between various ethnic groups decreases), but on the other hand, may be a sign of neglect towards cultural diversity and the co-existence of various ethnic groups in Russia.
Keywords: mass media, immigrants, mindset, ethnic tension, content analysis
Career and Employment
Smirnov A. I. Resettlement and Employment of Discharged Military Personnel (129-148)
Abstract. The article sheds light on issues that ensure a better understanding of the way discharged members of the military cope with resettlement and job-seeking, as well as of the challenges they face and the way they handle them. The study is based on the RLMS-HSE monitoring of the Russian population’s economic status and health, which is a longitudinal study carried out among Russian households over the course of several years. Data analysis shows that the “young old” members of the military personnel that are discharged from active duty still possess high potential as a labor force, and should be regarded as valuable human assets, due to their level of education, professional skill, and qualification. However, this potential is not always put to full use. An uncertain future that comes with changing a job, and quite often, a place of residence and circle of friends as well, makes the task of getting employed increasingly more difficult. Thus, the vast majority of the military begin job-hunting before they are discharged from service, which facilitates their transition to the civilian labor system. However, the preferences of such military personnel often do not match the demands of the labor market and prospective employers. And even though the discharged members of the military are the main focus of the military social policy, they are forced to bear the burden of resettlement on their own. Most of them face great difficulties when looking for a job, and fail to properly re-train to pursue a civilian career. The majority of discharged personnel get employed without the aid of state agencies: through their relatives, friends, or acquaintances. At the same time, the overall level of job satisfaction (both in general, and concerning particular features) is higher among the military than among civilian retirees, whereas ten years ago, the situation was the polar opposite of today. A staggeringly large share of the currently employed former military personnel is satisfied with their workplace relations, and trusts both their colleagues and supervisors. In general, the discharged military display a more confident behavior in the labor market than other types of retirees.
Keywords: discharged military, human assets, re-training, resettlement, employment, job satisfaction.