HSE University Collaborates with University in Southern Russia to Compare Values and Identities across Generations and Regions
Is there a system of values that is common to the whole population of Russia? Do values differ across generations? Is it possible to carry out research among refugees? HSE University researchers joined forces with their peers from Kuban State Technological University to study values and intercultural relations across Russian regions as part of a Mirror Labs project. The HSE LooK talked about this cooperation to Nadezhda Lebedeva, Director of the HSE Centre for Sociocultural Research, who heads up the Mirror Lab project, and project participant Victoria Galyapina, Leading Research Fellow at the same Centre.
Director and Chief Research Fellow at the Centre for Sociocultural Research,
head of the project on ‘Values and intercultural relations in the context of a transitive society: a cross-regional analysis’
Finding Peers to Begin the Project
As part of the internship programme for employees of Russian academic institutions at HSE University, we hosted Oksana Tuchina from KubSTU, who was very proactive and eager to cooperate and take part in joint research. Thus, when there was an open call for mirror laboratories, we offered her a chance to work with us. Although there was no laboratory at KubSTU at that time, they received support from the university administration. Victoria Galyapina, our leading research fellow at the Centre for Sociocultural Research, is curating the project, as she is from the North Caucasus herself and knows the region well.
Expanding International Experience to Russian Regions
For many years, first as a laboratory, and then as a centre, we have considered values and identities as well as their transformation, intergenerational and interregional comparisons. We are proud that one of the leading cross-cultural researchers, Shalom Schwartz, who developed his own theory of basic human values, worked with us on creating a Russian version of his methods.
Within the framework of this project, we work with values. We seek to find out whether the population of Russia share common values and, as such, we compare two federal districts—the Central and Southern Federal Districts. Another issue is how a system of values is upheld given the current situation—whether the present social and political polarisation is superficial and whether it only concerns attitudes and not core values.
In addition to values, for the current project, we research common social identities (eg, ethnic, religious, and civic identities) that influence the behaviour and intercultural attitudes of a person.
This area is of particular importance as it concerns the preservation of intercultural peace in our multicultural and multi-confessional country, especially in the south of Russia, where there are many migrants, as well as refugees from the southeast of Ukraine.
Leading Research Fellow at the Centre for Sociocultural Research
Research by Two Teams in Two Regions
Both teams are involved in data collection since research is carried out in both regions at the same time. We collect data in the Central Federal District and our colleagues gather data in the Southern Federal District. We then exchange our databases for further analysis and a cross-regional and cross-cultural comparison. While we focus on values, identities and intercultural relations, our colleagues, even though they are interested in the variables and indicators that we explore, are more into philosophical aspects, ie, who a person of culture is and how the prototypical image of a person of culture differs among various ethnic groups.
Both of our project teams include doctors and candidates of science, as well as postgrads. The involvement of younger specialists is essential as project work teaches methodology and techniques for qualitative and quantitative research.
Systems of Values: Cross-Generational Differences
One of our findings is that there does exist a system of values (at least among the Russian population of our country).
While young people tend to express such values as openness to change and self-enhancement, older generations lean towards socially focused values, such as self-transcendence and conservation (security, group harmony, and unity).
Another interesting finding is the manifestation of different identities through values. For Russians in both regions, for instance, civic, ethnic, and religious identities are equally significant. The representatives of ethnic minorities, who live in the south of Russia, cherish ethnic and religious identities that distinguish them culturally and allow them to retain their ethnic uniqueness. What our colleagues noticed while interpreting the data is that religious identity strongly influences tolerant attitudes of ethnic minorities in the south of Russia, as well as contributes to the formation of tolerance at the regional level.
One of our accomplishments is that we jointly published two articles in 2021: one about acculturation of Armenians in Russia in Central Asia and the Caucasus journal, and the other about perceived security and social identities in the context of adaptation of Central Asian migrants in Gumanizatsiya Obrazovaniya journal (Humanisation of Education). In 2022, we published a paper on the role of social identities and intercultural attitudes in psychological well-being of residents of the Krasnodar Krai in a collection of papers called ‘Positive experience in regulating ethno-social and ethno-cultural processes in the regions of the Russian Federation’.
Working with Refugees: Departing from Formalised Approaches
As a continuation of our research on values and attitudes, we would want to explore perceptions of recent events by the local population and refugees from Ukraine, and include their narratives into our analysis.
We do not want to use a formalised approach like a questionnaire, but would like to look them in the eye, support them and catch something between words.
This would require establishing close contact and more of a psychological approach.
The mirror labs project also triggered other initiatives. For instance, we were invited to provide our expertise interpreting and analysing the data (over 400 surveys and 35 in-depth interviews) for a study conducted by Victoria Mukha from KubSTU. This study concerns refugees from the southeast of Ukraine and covers the problems of their acculturation and adaptation in the Krasnodar Krai. The initial two stages of the research were devoted to cross-regional and intergenerational comparisons, as it was important to determine core values. Now, we are looking at those values that determine certain identities among different generations in various regions and how identities and values determine attitudes in terms of threat or tolerance in a multicultural context.
One million people in Russia suffer from venous diseases. The ‘Intelligent data analysis for healthcare information systems’ Mirror Lab project brings together expertise in mathematics and medicine in order to better diagnose various conditions in phlebology. Project leader Vasilii Gromov talked to The HSE LooK about its achievements and prospects.
Ilya Dolmatov, Director of the HSE Institute of Economics and Utility Regulation, heads a Mirror Lab project titled ‘Models of Energy Infrastructure Development in Russia’s Remote and Isolated Territories’ and implemented together with a university in Irkutsk. Why is energy efficiency a particularly pressing problem in remote territories? How can economics and engineering work together to solve it? Ilya Dolmatov addressed these and other issues in his interview for The HSE LooK.
What does Kaliningrad Oblast, an exclave Russian territory, have in common with Perm Krai, a region in the Urals? How do researchers use digital humanities methods to study migration? Sergei Kornienko, Leading Research Fellow at the Group for Historical Research (HSE University-Perm), heads the Mirror Lab project ‘Migration as a factor of social transformation of Soviet regions during the post-war reconstruction period: an analysis through digital humanities’. In this interview for The HSE LooK, he talks about this collaboration.
Through its Mirror Laboratories project, HSE University develops collaborations with academic institutions across the country. Today, it includes 22 ongoing projects in partnership with 20 universities in mathematics, computer science, economics, sociology, biology, history and many other fields. Marina Litvintseva, Director for Advanced Research at HSE University, coordinates international and mirror laboratory projects. In this year’s second issue of HSE LooK, she talked about the development of mirror laboratories and the future of the project.
The Mirror Labs research project competition is aimed at HSE University departments that are planning to conduct joint studies with other Russian universities and research centres. The competition is now in its third year. A total of 19 academic organisations from 14 regions of Russia submitted applications as partners of HSE University, including 9 organisations participating for the first time.
Natalia Soboleva has examined the impact of various factors on the link between job satisfaction and life satisfaction. Using data from the European Values Study, she found the association between job satisfaction and life satisfaction to vary across sociodemographic characteristics. In particular, job satisfaction contributes more significantly to life satisfaction for men compared to women, while being married weakens the association between job satisfaction and life satisfaction. The paper is published in the International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy.
Scholars from Moscow and Vladivostok Join Efforts to Study Institutes and Preferences in Economic Behaviour
Applications from HSE departments for the ‘Mirror Laboratories’ open project competition are open until May 20. One of the ‘mirror laboratories’ successfully operating today was created as a result of a similar competition in 2020 by economists from HSE University and Far Eastern Federal University (FEFU) to study institutes and preferences in economic behaviour. Alexis Belianin, Head of the HSE International Laboratory for Experimental and Behavioural Economics, talked about how peers from Moscow and Vladivostok collaborate.
HSE Vice Rector Maria Yudkevich speaks about the launch of Mirror Laboratories, the third open project competition held by HSE University. Teams from Russian universities, research organisations, and government research centres looking to collaborate with HSE research departments are invited to participate in the competition. Applications will be accepted until May 20.
‘As We Fight Climate Change and Poverty, the Focus on Personal, rather than Social Goals, may Prove Harmful over Time’
The 11th International LCSR Workshop of the HSE Ronald F. Inglehart Laboratory for Comparative Social Research, ‘Recent Advances in Comparative Study of Values’, took place as part of the XXIII Yasin (April) International Academic Conference. HSE News Service talked about the study of values and current changes in academic life with Ronald Fischer, who presented an honorary paper ‘Why We Should Aim for Systematic Non-Invariance in Cross-Cultural Research’ at the workshop.
Aleksey Kychkin, Head of the Laboratory of Interdisciplinary Empirical Studies, spoke to the HSE Look about his background, industry projects the lab has been doing, and student involvement in research.