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Social and psychological analysis of consequences of economic and cultural change

Priority areas of development: humanitarian

Goal of research: to study the socio-psychological consequences of economic and cultural changes.

Methodology: socio-psychological survey, semi-structured interviews. To analyze our data, we used contemporary statistical methods: confirmatory factor analysis, structural equation modeling, multi-group confirmatory factor analysis, dispersion analysis of variance (ANOVA)

Empirical base of research:

а) The results of a survey conducted in 2014-2015 among three generation families (grandparents, parents and children) members of the Russians in Central Federal District and the Russian population and ethnic majorities living in the Kabardino-Balkar Republic and in the Republic of North Ossetia – Alania;

b) The results of a survey conducted in 2014-2016 among three generation families (grandparents, parents and children) members of the Russian population and ethnic majorities living in Latvia and Azerbaijan;

c) Online data (“Qualtrics” Online Survey Software) survey among the inhabitants of Russia, Latvia, Germany, France and Ghana conducted between 2014 and 2016;

d)  Survey data from poor people recruited in social welfare centers in Moscow and Moscow region (2015);

e) Data from a survey conducted in 2015 at Moscow and Seoul Universities among Russian and Korean students;

f) Data from a survey (semi-structured interviews) conducted in the villages of Belgorod region and in the community of Russian volunteers in Novorossiya;

g) data from the last census [National Population Census, 2010], statistical data in certain regions of the Russian Federation, Latvia and Azerbaijan [Rosstat, 2012] were used as an additional resource

Results of research: due to the breadth and complexity of the chosen topic, a number of relatively independent studies were conducted to address the subject of the project from different sides.

1) Intrafamily transmission of values ​​in different cultural contexts. We use new mathematical and statistical methods to identify intergenerational similarities/differences in values and obtained data on intergenerational, cross-country and inter-regional similarities/differences in the values of Russians, as well as representatives of the host population (ethnic majority) living in different regions of Russia and former Soviet countries. Thus, we expanded the theoretical concepts of culturally universal features of intergenerational transmission of values ​​in the post-Soviet space as well as those dependent on the socio-cultural context. We revealed the general trends of value similarities and differences: the younger generation, in comparison to the older generation, is characterized by more pronounced values ​​of Openness to change and less pronounced values of Conservation. At the same time representatives of the younger generation in different socio-cultural contexts have significant similarities in values which are caused by the influence of a common youth subculture and age peculiarities. Russian residents in North Caucasus are closer in their value orientations to representatives of the ethnic majority groups than to the Russians of the Central Federal District. On the other hand, in Azerbaijan there is an opposite trend – the values of Russians in that region are closer to the values ​​of Russians living in Russia than to Azerbaijanis. Differences caused by group status (ethnic majority/minority) were also revealed: among Russians, who represent an ethnic minority in the republics of North Caucasus, Latvia and Azerbaijan, values ​​that serve the interests of an individual (i.e. Openness to change and Self-Enhancement) in the middle and older generations are higher than those among Russian residents in the Central Federal District. This may be the effect of "ethnic minority", which finds expression in a greater personal activity of members of ethnic groups living in a different cultural context: migrants and ethnic minorities must make bigger efforts to achieve successful acculturation and promotion than those who live in their own culture.

2) Attitude towards corruption. We audited the invariance of the developed ACS technique (Acceptability of Corruption Scale) and built empirical models of the connection between values and corrupt behavior and attitude to corruption in Russia, France, Germany, Latvia and Ghana. This is meant to contribute to the development of theoretical concepts concerning psychological mechanisms which are determining the influence of values on the attitude towards corruption and their cultural universality. Among the values ​​that have a limiting effect on the acceptability of corruption, Conformity-rules and Universalism-care should be noted first. However, the importance of the influence of values​ is culturally specific: in some cultures (in our study Germany and Latvia should be considered) the value that shows the greatest effect serves as external motivation (values of Conformity-rules), while in other countries (in our study, that is true for Russia and France) we observed a greater impact of internal motivation (values of Universalism). The Values ​​of Power are positively connected in our study to the acceptability of corruption (for instance, in Russia and Ghana). Most likely, such a relationship exists in countries with a perceived big distance between population and power bodies. The Value of Security Personal has no effect on the acceptability of corruption in any of the five countries, so it is possible to assume that tougher anti-corruption legislation bears low efficiency.

3) Individual psychological characteristics of people who are in poverty. We clarified the content of the theoretical construct (poverty), identified and described different types of poverty, improved research tools, tested the invariance of the techniques (self-esteem, self-efficacy, self-control, confidence, life satisfaction, individual values, dispositional greed) on samples of poor and non-poor people. The empirical data we obtained made it possible to reveal the differences in individual psychological characteristics of poor and non-poor people, as well as the relationship between poverty rates and individual psychological characteristics, which generally gave us the opportunity to describe the psychological aspects of poverty in Russia at a wider extent.

4) Moral emotions and social integration. Research in this area included mainly a theoretical analysis of the phenomenon of social cohesion and the variety of its forms and mechanisms - i.e. problems that theoretically and empirically are not studied enough. Among the mechanisms of cohesion, we highlighted the social nature of negative moral emotions. Based on the theoretical analysis, a guide was developed and a series of interviews were conducted in two communities with fundamentally different purposes, mechanisms and effects of cohesion: among the inhabitants of Russian villages and members of paramilitary volunteer corps in Novorossiya. The results empirically demonstrated the rallying potential of acute and chronic shame and anger.

5) The development of eco-cultural approach. We made a theoretical analysis considering the results of many studies which have been conducted over the last fifty years: the previous research was investigating the behavioral changes in a changing environment, socio-cultural and economic contexts, achieving a better understanding of the processes underlying the interaction between the individuals and the environment. The basic tenets of eco-cultural approach to understanding human behavior are as follows: cultural peculiarities of human population interaction with the ecological (environmental) conditions in which they thrive and live, as well as their adapting mechanisms; development and expression of how individual human behavior adapts to these environmental and cultural contexts. The resulting approach informs about the opportunities for empirical analysis at two levels: inter-layer (classic ethnographic research and study of individual differences) and at a cultural level (the main advantage lies in predicting individual and group behavioral similarities and differences). Thus, an eco-cultural paradigm may be seen as the theoretical and methodological basis for both "cultural" and "comparative" research, which allows to create "cross-cultural" understanding of human diversity.

Thus, for the first time in the Russian and global science, a comprehensive analysis of the phenomenon of value transmission ​​was carried out taking into account the combination of the factors of socio-cultural contexts; we identified the cultural specifics of the influence of values ​​on the attitude towards corruption among representatives of different countries, including non-European cultures; we considered typical individual psychological characteristics of people who are in poverty; we demonstrated on empirical level the role of negative moral emotions in shaping social solidarity and different social communities’ protest activities. Inclusion of various ethnic and cultural groups in Russia, Europe, and – what brings a significant novelty - non-European countries in the research sample, giving the opportunity to obtain comparable data in different cultures, brings cross-cultural research of Soviet authors on a level akin to the most reputed works within the international scientific community’s representatives. Elaboration and development of an eco-cultural approach that is sensitive to the effects of biological, social and cultural contexts forms a new theoretical and methodological framework in the research of social and cultural phenomena, and thus becomes a reference point for the further progression of social sciences on a global scale.

Level of implementation,  recommendations on implementation or outcomes of the implementation of the results

The results of the research can be applied in predicting the effects of social and economic reforms, development of optimization programs within inter-group (inter-ethnic) relations, development of recommendations referring to economic policy formation. It may also be extremely important for supporting the socio-economic adaptation of a person to a different socio-cultural and economic environment in these countries: in the ​​social policy sphere - to assess the impact of reforms on vulnerable groups of population; in the legal and legislative sphere - to forecast people’s attitude towards the measures implemented in order to fight against corruption and poverty, and to assess their effectiveness.


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