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Regular version of the site

Classics in New Economic Sociology

On January 27, 2015, HSE First-Vice Rector Prof. Vadim Radaev and Dr. Greg Yudin announced the closure of Classics in New Economic Sociology — a mega translation project of the HSE Laboratory for the Studies in Economic Sociology. The project ran from 2001-2015.

The project’s aim was to translate a selected collection of the finest works in modern economic sociology around the globe into Russian and make them accessible to the Russian speaking academic community and society. A considerable level of professional academic activity in Russia is conducted in Russian, and this will continue to be the norm.

Prof. Vadim Radaev underlined three main reasons for the project’s closure. First, changes in intellectual property rights law have made the translation of foreign texts increasingly difficult. Second, the financial cost of acquiring translation permits has skyrocketed. Third, the participants’ academic workload has increased tremendously, which leaves less time for translation.

The project team faced the challenging task of translating complex sociological terminology and foreign names into Russian. Prof. Vadim Radaev explained:

'We faced the uneasy task of translating abstract sociological concepts such as “embeddedness,” foreign names with no Russian equivalent such as 'Viviana Zelizer' and 'Neil Fligstein', and extraordinary writing style and rich vocabulary such as that of David Stark.'

Some of the translated books include:

  • Dobbin, Frank. 1997. Forging Industrial Policy: The United States, Britain, and France in the Railway Age. New York: Cambridge University Press.
  • Fligstein, Neil. 2002. The Architecture of Markets: An Economic Sociology of Twenty-First-Century Capitalist Societies. NJ: Princeton: Princeton University Press.
  • Guseva, A. 2008. Into the Red: The Birth of the Credit Card Market in Postcommunist Russia. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

The editorial team also translated numerous seminal articles and published them in three edited volumes:

  • Economic Sociology: Self-Portraits. [Ekonomicheskaya Sociologia: Avtoportrety]. 2006. Edited by Vadim Radaev and Maria S. Dobryakova. Russia, Moscow: National Research University Higher School of Economics.
  • Market Analysis in Modern Economic Sociology. [Analiz Rynkov v Sovremennoy Ekonomicheskoy Sociologii]. 2008. Edited by Vadim Radaev and Maria S. Dobryakova. Russia, Moscow: National Research University Higher School of Economics.
  • Classics in New Economic Sociology. [Klassika Novoy Ekonomicheskoy Sociologii]. 2014. Edited by Vadim Radaev and Greg B. Yudin. Russia, Moscow: National Research University Higher School of Economics.

The translation project has been a challenging but truly rewarding experience, since he had the pleasure to work on original texts with exceptionally talented and professional editors and translators.

Vadim Radaev
First Vice Rector

In the second part of the seminar, Dr. Greg Yudin presented the book Classics in New Economic Sociology. He explained the book’s motivation and historical context. New Economic Sociology is considered to have begun with Mark Granovetter and Harrison White’s works. Granovetter’s article ‘The Strength of Weak Ties’ is a paradigm in sociology, which has inspired many further studies. There are many sociological approaches, but none of them is fundamental or sufficient. Previous works fail to answer questions relevant to modern sociologists. However, they made an important contribution to the development of sociological theory. To improve this weak point, the editors included articles just before and after Granovetter’s article from 1970-1980. The volume illustrates nine major sociological approaches: organizational ecology (Hannan and Freeman 1977), rational choice theory (Coleman 1992), social networks (Granovetter 1973; White 1981), neoinstitutionalism (Meyer and Rowan 1977; DiMaggio and Powell 1983), political economy (Rueschemeyer and Evans 1985), culture and history (Zelizer 1978), anthropology (Geertz 1978), poststructuralism (Bourdieu 1986), and performative approaches (Garcia 1986).

Prof. Vadim Radaev and Dr. Greg Yudin’s presentation provoked a heated discussion. Russian professors pointed out that the translated works have proven useful not only for sociologists, but also for economists and other social scientists. The professors stressed that they have already integrated the texts into the university curricula and argued that the project has been a crucial step towards institutionalizing new economic sociology in Russia through the creation of an adequate and an accessible scientific terminology. They also proposed the creation of online courses in economic sociology.

Prof. Alexander Chepurenko, HSE Dean of the School of Sociology, offered great praise for the work of Prof. Vadim Radaev and his team for laying the foundations of new economic sociology in Russia. Prof. Chepurenko said that he had the exceptional opportunity to learn from Prof. Radaev’s exemplary managerial skills and academic abilities.

Dr. Maria Yudkevich, HSE First-Vice Rector for Research, also highly praised the editors and translators’ diligence, explaining:

'Nowadays, everybody can freely access almost all kinds of information on the internet. There is so much information available, that sometimes we do not know how to approach it. Therefore, the books within the HSE translation project are tremendously important. Such books serve as a true gateway to the world of knowledge. people who enter the academic world through the wrong gate will be lost. This project is not over! It continues with the translation of your work in English.'

Prof. Vadim Radaev concluded that the translation project has been a challenging but truly rewarding experience, since he had the pleasure to work on original texts with exceptionally talented and professional editors and translators.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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