Age boundaries are diminishing fast and do not influence people’s lives as much as before. Nevertheless, age remains an important factor in social interaction. Age self-identification for women is closely related to their appearances, which is why beauty remains one of the main self-investment projects for women. These are the conclusions drawn by researchers from the HSE Centre for Youth Studies (CYS) in St. Petersburg as part of a project entitled ‘Age under Construction: Age Construction by Girls and Young Women’.
Free legal services are generally available in Russia, but their quality varies widely. Court-appointed lawyers tend to be less knowledgeable and competent than those who offer their services pro bono for reasons such as social responsibility or professional reputation, according to a study by Anton Kazun, Junior Research Fellow at the HSE International Center for the Study of Institutions and Development.
The politicization and commercialization of health issues in today’s Western culture have led to growing healthism – a peremptory idea of self-preserving behaviour. This approach criticizes everything that fails to fit into the glamorous standards of a beautiful, young and slim body. In extreme forms, healthism is close to eugenics, which selects a ‘correct’ heredity. But even simple concerns about the ‘standards’ of physical condition may provoke hypercorrection, such as surgery on a healthy body, said Evgenia Golman, lecturer at the HSE Faculty of Social Sciences Department of General Sociology, in her article published in the Journal of Social Policy Studies.
Over the next 20 years, death rates among working age Russian men are expected to drop by a third due to a change in alcohol consumption preferences – namely, the decreasing popularity of vodka, according to Yevgeny Yakovlev, Assistant Professor at the HSE Department of Applied Economics, and Lorenz Kueng, Assistant Professor of Finance at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
Abusive parents, internet and TV violence, and social exclusion are all contributing to growing violence in schools, with verbal aggression being the most common type of aggressive behaviour among young people, according to Irina Sizova, Head of the Sociology Laboratory at the HSE Branch in Nizhny Novgorod.
A predominance of women on a company's boards of directors can lead to a loss of flexibility in governance. Yet in times of change, for example during periods of rapid growth or crisis, women can make better leaders than men: they are more willing to take risks and tend to find more unconventional solutions, according to a report 'The Impact of Gender Diversity of the Board and Ownership Structure on Corporate Performance: Evidence from Western Europe' by HSE researchers Tatiana Ratnikova and Dmitry Gavrilov.
Social workers tend to believe that society underestimates the complexity of their mission and fails to fully appreciate the gift of caring and compassion that they offer their clients. Experts warn that social work may lead to burnout, unless practitioners are taught the skills of managing their emotions in dealing with clients and equipped with standard algorithms facilitating their 'emotional work' and thus helping to alleviate stress, according to Olga Simonova, Deputy Head of the HSE Department of General Sociology.
There is not a single country in the world where all people share the same system of values. Every society has members focused on serving others as well as those who value personal achievement above all and rely only on themselves. Independent altruists committed to helping others, yet expecting nothing in return, are relatively rare in all European countries, particularly in post-Soviet countries, where their proportion is among the smallest, according to Vladimir Magun and Maksim Rudnev of the HSE's Laboratory for Comparative Studies in Mass Consciousness.
Russian businesses have been slow in adopting new media tools. Many companies continue to rely on official websites to reach out to customers and avoid using social media and blogs, as they are not ready for an equal dialogue with external audiences, according to Iosif Dzyaloshinsky and Maria Pilgun, professors of the HSE Faculty of Communication, Media and Design.
Once unemployed, mid-level employees suffer primarily from loss of income, while senior-level leaders mostly resent the loss of respect; of all employee categories, production and service workers are most likely to become unemployed. These are some of the findings summarized in the paper 'The dynamics of subjective social status associated with loss of employment: an analysis of occupational differences', which was presented by Anna Zudina, Junior Research Fellow of the Centre for Labour Market Studies, at the Ninth Yuri Levada Memorial Conference on Contemporary Russian Society and Sociology hosted by HSE.