Social Classes of the New Russia: Unequal and Different

Publication type Article
Status Published
Occupation: Associate Professor; Senior Research Fellow
National Research University Higher School of Economics
Institute of Sociology of FCTAS RAS
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow
Journal nameSotsiologicheskie issledovaniya
EditionIssue 2

The given paper aims to present results of the posterior multidimensional approach to social stratification of contemporary Russian society. The proposed model of social structure employs the Weberian concept of life chances which has been operationalised over the map of 24 binary items measuring positive and negative privileges of individuals and their households in four major domains of life: economic stability and security, industrial relations, educational and medical opportunities, and economic consumption. Drawing from the Monitoring data conducted by the Federal Center of Theoretical and Applied Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences in 2015 and 2019, the study offers a 5-class model. The predictive validity of the final model has been proved by cross-validation procedures which returned 96.2% of correctly predicted posterior probability of class membership for individuals; standard errors for items’ probabilities did not exceed 0.05. The detected five socioeconomic classes seem to be vertically integrated and include non-working population normally excluded from the relation-based approach to class analysis. These are as follows (2015 and 2018): disadvantaged (lower) non-economic class (23 and 22%, correspondingly), unprivileged (lower) property class (19 and 17%), two semi-privileged classes – lower middle class (16 and 14%) and true middle class (29 and 34%) – and advantaged (upper middle) class (13%). The obtained results reassess the popular viewpoint that big classes no longer exist in industrially advanced societies (Grusky & Weeden, 2008) and highlight importance of noneconomic forces for multidimensional stratification of Russian society in the post-transition era.

Keywordssocial inequality, social structure, social classes, life chances, lower classes, precariat, pensioners, salariat, middle class, the new Russia
AcknowledgmentThis study was funded by the Russian Science Foundation, project No. 17-78-20125.
Publication date16.03.2020
Number of characters27265
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