Chances and Risks as Criteria for Social Stratification of Modern Russian Society
Dr. Sci. (Sociol.), Acting Head of the Center for the Study of social and cultural changes, Institute of Philosophy of RAS, Moscow, Russia email@example.com
The article presents reflections on a new book prepared by a collective of authors under the guidance of Doctor of Sciences (Sociology) Natalya E. Tikhonova. The main ideas of the book are based on the methodology of Max Weber, who proposed the use of positive and negative privilege concepts to analyze the social stratification of society. The article highlights that the attractive side of the monograph is not only the use of a solid theoretical framework, but also a rich empirical material that allowed analyzing the social stratification of approximately 90% of the Russian population, excluding the upper elite layer and the bottom of the social scale. Such comprehensive studies are quite rare in modern Russia, especially since they had no analogues in Soviet times. The empirical analysis of the 2014–2021 All–Russian surveys allowed us to identify the key factors causing the inequality of opportunities among mass groups of the Russian population, as well as to reveal the perspective for the development of three mass social strata – the upper layer, which has predominantly positive privilege; the middle layer – the most massive, representing the social norm and combining positive and negative privilege; and the lower layer with the dominance of negative privilege. A comparative analysis of the data showed that the social stratification of Russian society has a fairly high degree of stability; the middle mass layer is the largest in number and accepts immigrants from both the lower and upper layers into its ranks. With all the changes in the economic course and the current crises, it remains within the limits of small fluctuations both in quantitative terms and in terms of available life chances and risks. This mass stratum of the population maintains its stability in the context of inequality of opportunities in economic and non-economic spheres. Productive perspectives for reducing social differentiation, especially among young people and middle-aged people, are opening up with the development of the digital economy and the training and retraining of IT personnel, envisaged in the national program “Digital Economy of the Russian Federation”.
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