Trends of moral development of rural people in Belgorod Region (an institutional analysis)

Trends of moral development of rural people in Belgorod Region (an institutional analysis)

Efendiev A.G.

Dr. Sci. (Philos.), Prof., National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia

Gogoleva A.S.

Cand. Sci. (Sociol.), Assist. Prof., National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia.

Balabanova E.S.

Dr. Sci. (Sociol.), Prof., National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia.

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Efendiev A.G., Gogoleva A.S., Balabanova E.S. Trends of moral development of rural people in Belgorod Region (an institutional analysis). Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2017. No 12. P. 99-109


The paper continues analysis of the results of panel study in Belgorod region’s rural areas conducted in 2000 and 2013. Both papers are integrated in institutional theoretical and methodological approach to the scientific analysis of social transformations. We underline the conceptualization of social institute as a system of social actors’ interactions. This system provides the sustained self-perpetuating satisfaction of the most important needs and interests of the actors. We differentiate institute as a social phenomenon, superindividual in its nature, from institutionalization as a process providing sustainability of social interactions. We give particular attention to the fact that human behavior is based on the institutionally determined logic thus being shaped by institutional demands, compelled, instead of voluntary, motives, and control. The basic condition of institutes’ efficient functioning is their guaranteed ability to enforce desirable behaviors. Taken together, social institutes regulate basic interactions in the most important spheres of life such as exchange and distribution of economic resources as well as power relations thus composing social organization of the society as a whole. The purpose of this paper is to take a more nuanced view of social institutions while highlighting inconsistencies and contradictions in the process of their change. An empirical observation of the transitional institutions’ development is presented. It is argued that these institutions are internally inconsistent and contradictory. Transitional institutions’ inconsistencies are manifested, first, in oppositions between “old” (traditionalistic and paternalistic) and “new” (competitive and achievement-oriented) social practices. Second, confrontation between “positive” (independence and personal responsibility) and “negative” (moral and legal nihilism) social norms underlying these practices is observed. We conclude by suggesting a theoretical model and propositions that will address unanswered questions and should provide a more complete understanding of transformative social institutions and their development.

social institutions; institutional changes; social interactions; social practices; Russian rural community; panel empirical studies


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Content No 12, 2017