Formation of the sociology of family in Russia

Formation of the sociology of family in Russia

Gurko T.A.

Dr. Sci. (Sociol.), Leader Scientific Researcher, Institute of Sociology FCTAS Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia

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Gurko T.A. Formation of the sociology of family in Russia . Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2018. No 6. P. 40-52


The backgrounds of Russian sociology of family were analyzed in several domestic works. The task of this article is to continue these historical digressions by describing dynamics of transformation of methodology and subjects of family sociology with a focus on research activities of Institute of Sociology of the Federal Center of Theoretical and Applied Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The six historical periods that differ by size and directions of theoretical and empirical works were highlighted, including period of “vacuum” of 1930–1950 years of Stalin’s dictature. In prerevolutionary period the backgrounds of family sociology at the theoretical level based mainly on the works of philosophers and writers, at the empirical level – on the ethnographic studies. The period of revival of sociology of family on the territory of former USSR, the formation of research teams in Leningrad, Moscow, Chelyabinsk, Minsk, Vilnius, Tartu, and the development of international collaborations with capitalist and socialist countries are described in greater detail. The main research themes in this time were the dynamics of ethno-national marriages and family traditions, the factors of destabilizations of young families, the role of family as a main agent of socialization, as a factor of limitation of alcohol consumption, reconciliation of professional and family roles by married women, the reasons and consequences of divorces etc. The interconnectedness of thematics of marriage and family in soviet time with demographic problems of country are analyzed: reducing of birthrate, the increasing of divorces and extramarital birthrate. The changing theoretical approaches and problematics in postSoviet time of radical transformation of marital and family relations in Russia are described. Since the beginning of 1990s, there was an active assimilation of the Western theories like gender and socioconstructivist approaches, widespreading qualitative methodology in studying the new practices in private life of Russians in fast-changing society, the development of international projects. Rather new topics of research were family violence, foster families, influence of religions on family relations, the consequences of dependency of nonworking wives, the problems of unmarried mothers in the new socioeconomic conditions etc. The institution of parenting became a new direction of study. Since 2010th, many works were practically oriented on effectiveness of family policy in Russia. In conclusion, some future directions of research are defined.

families; marriages; parenting; historical periods; theoretical approaches; methods; projects; subjects


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