Social Justice in a Changing Society

Monday, July 14, 2014: 1:30 PM
Room: 503
Oral Presentation
Mikhail CHERNYSH , Social structure and stratification, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia
Valeriy MANSUROV , Sociology of Professions and Professional Groups, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia
The BRICS states have different recent histories. Some of them, like Brazil, have been developing as market-based economies and emergent societies. Others, like Russia or China, came to development from the incipient stage of state socialism. The supposed difference between them underlies the main hypothesis of the study of social justice: former socialist societies tend to embrace the idea of distributive justice, the market-based are habituated in a market environment and therefore are more tolerant towards meritocratic forms of inequality. The results of the survey based on an All-Russia sample show tend to put the above hypothesis in doubt. The Russian population tends to endorse the idea of equity as the primary principle of social justice rather than the idea of equal distribution. In later stage of their evolution the socialist societies stressed the idea of equity and procedure much more strongly than the idea of equality. The Russian society is inclined towards the logic of accepting the difference in income if it relates to education, skills, work input and entrepreneurial skills. Procedural justice is viewed as an important guarantee of the equity principle. The difference in income must be linked to the measurable criteria such as the level of education credentialed by education institutions, the quantified amount of work, or skills confirmed officially as the grades or other occupational standards.

The perception of justice varies according to class or other social conditions. While evaluating their income as just or unjust the Russians tend to rely on the standards of their community or their social group rather than on some general principles. The general principles of equity are more salient in the groups dependent on the macro-context such as pensioners or students.