The Worldviews and Identities of the Mass Strata of Modern Russian Society
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The Worldviews and Identities of the Mass Strata of Modern Russian Society
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This article analyzes the worldviews and identities of the three basic strata of Russian society, identified by drawing on Max Weber’s ideas of positive and negative privileges. By analyzing data from two all-Russian surveys carried out by the Institute of Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences in 2015 and 2018, I demonstrate that these strata differ from each other not only in terms of their well-being, occupational and educational structure, but also in terms of their identities, social self, norm and value systems, as well as their attitudes and the perception of the current situation in Russia. While the lower and the middle strata are relatively similar to each other, the upper stratum (about 20% of Russians) stands out with its pronouncedly specific identities, planning horizons, the prevalence of nonconformist attitudes and the type of locus control. The life goals of the representatives of the top stratum are much more achievement-oriented, and their assessment of the situation in Russia, unlike those of the rest of Russians, is quite optimistic. This stratum is also quite specific in that it demands from the state advance breakthroughs in the areas of science and high-tech industries. Its representatives much less commonly exhibit solidarity attitudes, and more often stigmatize the poor. The specific worldviews and the norm and value systems of the upper stratum are also reflected in its behavioral strategies. I conclude that the strata identified correspond to the definition of classes in their neo-Weberian interpretation, and within this social structure model the upper stratum can be considered as the middle class with a pronounced specificity not only of its objective, but also subjective, characteristics.
social stratification, social structure, life chances, stratification model, strata, social reproduction, identities, social status
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