Modernization Revisited: Searching for a New Conceptual Scheme

Publication type Article
Status Published
Affiliation: Federal Center of Theoretical and Applied Sociology, RAS
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow
Journal nameSotsiologicheskie issledovaniya
EditionIssue 8

The author reviews a monograph recently published abroad on issues of modernization in post-Soviet Russia. The book Russian Modernization, A New Paradigm indeed offers a new paradigm of research targeting social change in Russian society. The paradigm is based on the theory of structuration by Anthony Giddens furthered by Finnish sociologist M. Kivinen. The theory enables researchers to expand the number of actors who can influence the situation in the country. The theory incorporates three levels of analysis, the general one, reflecting on the basic structural characteristics of society, the local one that aims at theorizing in the medium-term context, and the empirical one that amasses and analyzes data attempting thereby to confirm or refute the hypotheses related to reproduction and change. The prospects of Russian society are presented as an inevitable choice between several scenarios of further evolution. The structuration theory approach has both strengths and obvious weaknesses. It overlooks the matter of the social-change actors’ presence understood as modernization. In the current situation, there is a consensus in Russian society between elites and the bulk of the population that guarantees relative stability of the existing social order and social system. Therefore, modernization, having no obvious advocates in the ruling elite, will most likely assume the form of gradual cultural, as it were, evolution that includes gradual transformation of the fundamental values and behavior standards.

KeywordsModernization, reforms, social structure, ruling elite, social institutions
AcknowledgmentThis article is a translation of: Черныш М.Ф. И снова модернизация: в поисках концептуальной схемы // Sotsiologicheskie Issledovaniia. 2021. No 7: 3–13. DOI: 10.31857/S013216250014946-3
Publication date27.09.2021
Number of characters37808
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