In this paper, we analyze how the existence of alternative pathways to higher education, which imply different selection mechanisms, shapes social inequality in educational attainment. For this purpose, we focus on the Russian educational system, where higher education can be accessed from both academic and vocational tracks but the rules of admission in higher education from these tracks are different. Access through the academic track is highly selective due to obligatory central matriculation exams, which determine eligibility to higher education. In turn, the vocational track is generally less selective with regard to student intake and allows less restrictive access to higher education. We argue that this system has nuanced implications for social inequality. On the one hand, transitions from vocational education to higher education can promote greater social mobility by offering an affordable and risk-safe gateway to higher education for children from less advantaged families. On the other hand, they can empower more advantaged families in their ability to warrant access to higher education to their children, especially if these children face a high risk of failure in the more selective academic track. We test this conjecture and provide supportive evidence using data from the longitudinal survey Trajectories in Education and Careers.
This article maps the development of the sociology of culture in the Soviet Union and Russia from pre-Soviet to post-Soviet times. The analysis highlights the effects of two groups of factors – one cultural, the other structural – the combination of which brought about various patterns at each stage of the discipline’s development. Because of the political environment within which they worked, Soviet researchers of culture had to employ strategies of resistance to survive. The three most common were: finding niches in related, ideologically neutral disciplines; doing purely empirical work; or, in contrast, critiquing ‘bourgeois social theories’. They also opted to work in the modes of reading rather than writing, oral discussions rather than publishing, and communication with like-minded colleagues rather than debates with opponents. Contemporary Russian sociology of culture displays this inheritance in being structured by the opposition between isolation and international integration, as well as the tension between an elitist vision of culture and the economically centered worldview which has been dominant since the 1990s.
It is widely believed that higher education in Russia has become almost universal and more people go to universities compared to most European countries. In this paper we explore this issue empirically with the Russian and European census data and data from the Trajectories in Education and Careers (TREC), a longitudinal cohort study. According to the 2010 census, only 34% of people aged between 25 and 34 in Russia have university degrees, which is nearly the same as in most Eastern European countries and slightly fewer than in Western Europe. The TREC data show that only about 50% of 2012 ninthgrade graduates were university students in 2015. The expansion of higher education in Russia has been in line with the overall European trends. Similar to other countries, there have been changes to the gender composition of university students in Russia over the last two decades, with girls being more likely to attend university than boys. The analysis of social backgrounds of students with different educational trajectories reveals a considerable social inequality within the Russian education system. Eighty-four percent of school graduates with university-educated parents are admitted to university, as compared to only 32% of children from less-educated families. Graduation from ninth grade represents an educational fork that is crucial for inequality, as children from less socially advantaged families tend to opt for vocational education at this stage. Graduation from eleventh grade is a less important educational transition: at least 80% of high school students get admitted to university after graduating from 11th grade.
The structure of Russians' life course has never been studied in depth; the only exception is demographic studies regarding marital status and age at childbirth. Principles that define life trajectories should also be examined. The “adult” concept is one of a number of important concepts in the general structure of life planning. This article presents an agenda for future research based on several case studies obtained during a longitudinal study of educational and occupational trajectories. Studying the transition into adulthood is an important resource for understanding the modern times. However, another option is also possible. This concept of transition into adulthood can also be considered as a phenomenon of contemporary culture. The research perspective of cultural sociology, whose methodology is described as structural hermeneutics, can serve these purposes. Structural hermeneutics refers to an analysis of the structure of senses both intersubjective and collectively shared. It is important to analyze how the adult concept is used with regard to the structure of the life course in materials from Russian studies, with account for the ambivalence of this concept and research conducted in other countries.
Although previous studies addressed the role of school types for educational inequalities in Russia (Konstantinovskiy 2008; Roschina 2012; Prakhov 2014), they did not distinguish between the Boudon’s ‘primary’ and ‘secondary’ effects of social background in securing educational advantage. Therefore it is likely that existing research has overstated the role of social background on educational success and educational pathways of Russian students. In our study, we attempt to bridge this gap by disentangling primary and secondary effects using recent longitudinal data on educational trajectories of Russian students and their prior achievements. We focus on (1) how institutional differentiation in secondary education interacts with social inequality and (2) whether it reinforces inequality of educational opportunities, including access to (quality) higher education.
In the contemporary highly differentiated society, culture and the symbolic processes within it are becoming increasingly important. The strengthening of symbolic mechanisms effect is obvious in many social phenomena, in particular in the transition to adulthood. The process of growing up and becoming an adult, as well as the image of adulthood itself, are transforming, which demands that social researchers Павленко Е.С. Взросление как процесс формирования идентичности: возможности анализа... seek for new conceptual resources for understanding the new nuances of the transition to adulthood in the contemporary society. Cultural psychology has developed the categorical apparatus that is quite sensitive to the symbolic processes within the personality development in the course of transition to adulthood. Cultural psychologists believe that every life trajectory as a process of personal identity development should be studied as determined by narratives and narration. However, despite the claim and intention to develop an approach that would take into account social factors (such as community influence, role of collective practices, and dominant social representations of adulthood) in fact, cultural psychologists prefer to conceptualize the nowadays social reality as reduced to the political and ideological discourses. Thus, cultural sociology can provide theoretical means for analyzing narratives of transition to adulthood as mainly collective processes, therefore discovering the symbolic mechanisms of transition to adulthood through life stories. With cultural sociology as a conceptual background for the development of appropriate tools for youth studies in sociology, there is a quite new research agenda, which consists of discovering genres and categorical repertoire of becoming an adult in narratives of the younger people. This can lead to the sociological reconstruction of categories that create the meaningful space of coming of age, from which young people draw resources to create meaningful narratives about their life trajectories in the past and future.
The authors analyzed the key methods of talented students’ identification that are widely used in international and Russian practice: contests, educational outcomes, special testing and teachers’ opinions of the students. The authors note that no criterion is universal, because it is impossible to formalize talent of students, identify students with non-standard thinking and unique competences who do not possess skills of passing formal assessment in educational process. In order to enhance effectiveness of talented youth identification it is important to use all methods integrally and do not give preferences to a single one. The authors analyzed key tools of talented youth students’ support: scholarships and grants, preferences in university admission, schools for talented children under auspices of universities, classes for talented children, extra-curricular activities, summer schools, special centres for gifted children. Special attention is given to introduction of educational programs and methods of working with gifted children, parents and teachers. The article presents a retrospective analysis of measures that the RF government has taken since 1999 to identify and support gifted students. The authors make a conclusion that the present legislation that regulates these activities is quite controversial; it is not uncommon that mechanisms of program documents’ implementation are absent.
Using longitudinal data from the study Trajectories in Education and Career (TrEC) we analyse the probabilities of entering 10th grade for boys and girls as well as for students with different socio-economic backgrounds. In 2012 59% of pupils chose the academic track and continued their education in 10th grade upon completion of 9th grade, while others moved to vocational education. Girls were more likely to enter the academic track than boys. The probability of entering the academic track was considerably higher for students from more educated and wealthier families. We analyse total inequality in the educational transition as a sum of primary and secondary effects where primary effects refer to the inequalities in performance and secondary effects refer to the inequalities in making the transition controlling for performance. We find strong secondary effects of parental education and wealth on making a transition to the academic track. There is no evidence of secondary effects of gender. The paper discusses mechanisms of gender and socio-economic inequalities in the transition to 10th grade and makes policy recommendations aimed at reducing social inequality in education.
This chapter studies how horizontal gender differences and vertical inequalities at labor market entry have been changing in Russia from Soviet to post-Soviet times. On theoretical grounds, we expect the major institutional and cultural shifts to have not been gender-neutral. We relate our discussion particularly to features of educational and employment systems, family policies, and gender-specific cultural aspects. Using retrospective data from the Russian Education and Employment Survey (EES), we analyze sex segregation across industry sectors and the gender gap in job authority for labor market entrants in the Soviet period (1965–91) and the post-Soviet period (1991–2005). Our findings reveal that horizontal gender differences and conditional vertical inequalities at labor market entry were already widespread during the Soviet period despite the proclaimed principles of equality. Withal, these gender differences and inequalities even grew after liberalization reforms, and, in recent decades, they have even counteracted women’s gains in education. We argue that the rapid changes in economic and social life have been accompanied by the emergence of new forms of gender-oriented culture. These changes, in turn, have disposed male and female entrants to enter occupational fields in a more separated way than before and they have shaped employers’ and (female) employees’ preferences and decisions. This has affected the likelihood of females entering jobs with a higher status.
Using retrospective data from the Russian Education and Employment Survey, we examine labour market entry in Russia in terms of changes in horizontal gender segregation and vertical gender inequalities before and after the collapse of the Soviet regime in 1991. Our results provide evidence for horizontal gender segregation across branches of the economy among labour market entrants in Russia, which have been growing since 1991. Moreover, horizontal differences seem to be driving vertical gender inequalities in terms of entry into authoritative positions. Accounting for heterogeneity in education and the entered branch, we ﬁnd that despite gender equality principles and full-time employment for women, vertical gender inequalities had already existed under the Soviet regime. However, these increased during the liberalization reforms. These growing vertical gender inequalities can be traced back mainly to a worsening of female chances in an economic transition, whereas there was no signiﬁcant change for male entrants. Furthermore, women seem to be particularly disadvantaged among highly qualiﬁed entrants. We conclude that Russian female entrants have not fully converted their educational advantage into occupational opportunities since the transition from socialism to a liberalized market economy.
The ambiguity of the sacred combines two opposite modes, the pure and the impure, as its fundamental feature. Present in the work of Durkheim and most scholars of the sacred, as well as in actual social practice, the impure sacred is not the profane, the sphere that opposes the sacred. However, in most interpretations of Durkheim, and even in aspects of his own argument, the ambiguity of the sacred is neglected and, in several important cases, treated as if it were profane: this has negative consequences for cultural sociology and the study of culture in contemporary society. In certain cases, the impure sacred and the profane can be hard to tell apart. Yet, if the boundaries between the sacred (pure and impure) and the profane are not clearly distinguished, the overall approach to culture in terms of distinctions and boundaries loses its logical and theoretical coherence. This article elucidates the ambiguity of the sacred and reintegrates that ambiguity into cultural sociology. The model proposed here treats the impure as a transient result of violation of the sacred/profane border with no independent status of its own.
Combining job and studies is quite often the case both in Russia and in Europe. But today researchers all over the world seek to explain the increase in the number of working students and in hours they spend working. In Russia, the situation is exacerbated by a decreasing value of formal education for employers, which can make a working experience a basic prerequisite to participate in the labor market entry competition.
Today, combining academic study with employment is typical for a wide range of students. There are many reasons why students choose to work, from the need to integrate into the job market to the desire to fill spare time. The present article investigates how various study and work combinations affect the academic performance of students in their final years in Tatarstan higher education institutions. The article examines the first set of results produced by longitudinal studies commenced in 2009 by the Institute of Education, NRU HSE (National Research University, Higher School of Economics). Two factors—work schedule and correspondence between the type of work and the future profession—are used to identify five types of study and work combinations. Various combinations reveal different levels of academic performance, different plans for the future, and somewhat different reasons for having entered an institution of higher education. Regression analysis of the data showed that only one type of study and work combination—non-professional fulltime employment—has a negative effect on academic performance. Other strategies of student employment showed no statistically significant effect on academic performance. All other conditions being equal, professionally employed students perform better than their non-professionally employed counterparts, and sometimes even better than those who do not work at all. The article concludes that the optimal strategy for students is to combine study with professional part-time employment. In this case, work becomes an additional source of knowledge and skills, as well as a motivation to learn.
In this article we look at The Town’s Day holiday as a performance, as successful or failed performance of a particular message (of the unity of urban community) for a particular audience (urban community). For this we use Jeffrey Alexander’s theory of cultural pragmatics. We conclude that in the case of The Town’s Day, held in Gorokhovets in 2011, message performed during the official part of the celebration, was not performed successfully. Through the message of official scenario was declared the unity of citizens (in the form of congratulatory speeches, nominations, awards and music numbers metaphorically referencing family and home) However, it was delivered to only a segment of the town’s community. Even that small segment of community did not engage with the performance fully. In conclusion we discuss that The Town’s Day was not perceived as an authentic performance, because of the discrepancy between the message of unity and segregation of audience on the level of mise-en-scène. We suggest that such community celebrations cannot function as a ritual that brings segmented community together, although it may function as a ritual that revives existing community solidarity.
The article provides results of a sociological study of management patterns applied to secondary schools in modern Russia. Focus groups with school principals were organized in eight pilot regions of Russia in October—November 2014. The project aimed at constructing a typology of management patterns, which we regard as a configuration of relations associated with teaching process management. Four basic patterns were singled out: “authoritarian manager”, “democratic manager”, “authoritarian leader” and “democratic leader”. They were built together following the merge of two criteria: delegation regimes, i. e. steady patterns of interrelation between principals and other subjects and agents of management, as well as subjectivity of principals, i. e. their ability to independently determine and implement the organization’s mission. Each pattern is described based on the example of FGOS (Federal State Educational Standard) introduction in elementary schools. It is demonstrated that the choice of a specific management pattern is determined by a wide range of factors and is situational, i. e. depends on the goal and context of management activities. Potential of the identified management patterns is discussed in terms of efficient implementation of reforms.