Changing Approaches to the Studying of Labor Relations in Russian Sociology

Changing Approaches to the Studying of Labor Relations in Russian Sociology

Bocharov V.Yu.

Cand. Sci. (Sociol.), Assoc. Prof., Department of Sociology and Cultural Studies, Samara National Research University named after Academician S.P. Korolev, Samara, Russia; Assoc. Re‑ searcher, Sociological Institute of FCTAS RAS, St. Petersburg, Russia; Scientific Researcher, Tyumen Industrial University, Tyumen, Russia

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The article was assisted by RSF, grant No. 17-78-20062.

For citation:

Bocharov V.Yu. Changing Approaches to the Studying of Labor Relations in Russian Sociology. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2022. No 7. P. 41-52


The article is devoted to the analysis of various theoretical approaches to the study of labor relations formed in the post-Soviet Russian sociology of labor. The need to study new market labor relations that arose in the late 1980s, as well as the discussion in this regard about their subject and priority areas of research, were implemented within the concepts of sociological realism and nominalism in the first 20 post-Soviet years. In the 1990s, systemic and conflict approaches (including Marxist and pluralist paradigms) dominated alongside studies carried out using the “case study” strategy (biographical, ethnographic and monographic methods). Since the beginning of the 2000s, neoinstitutional and cultural (including civilizational) approaches that are close to each other have been formed. The shift of the research focus from the study of stable labor relations in industry to the study of their precarious forms in organizations of the non-industrial sector, which occurred in the mid-2010s, was accompanied by the formation of resource and neo-Marxist approaches, as well as their synthetic forms (interdisciplinary approach called “new working class studies”). These synthetic forms are close to the methodology of sociological constructivism. Based on the results of the analysis, conclusions are drawn about the need to revise existing interpretations of labor relations and develop a new approach, based on the domestic methodology of the sociology of life. This new methodology can make it possible to study the real meanings of labor relations and the world of work for each of the groups of hired workers.

post-Soviet sociology of labor; Russian labor relations; theoretical approaches; sociology of life


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