Russian Youth: Mobilities, Inequalities and Life Chances

Saturday, July 19, 2014: 11:15 AM
Room: 418
Oral Presentation
Elena KUZMINA , MGIMO University, Russia
Due to the influence of the global social transformations of XXI century there have appeared new forms of inequality (access to mobilities, networks, education, spare time and information, guarantees of security) as well as the “old” inequalities concerning income, wealth, prestige are being changed in the direction of increasing uncertainties. Russian youth has been particularly affected by the rapid social, political, economic and cultural changes and discrepancies. Furthermore, the breakdown of the USSR has led to the drastic social conversion. These multiple structural factors not only determine but shape the life of youth in Russia. Faced with these uncertainties and turbulences the young people have to make their own decisions and to pattern their behavior on the current “liquid modernity” (Z. Bauman) which possess a lot of seeming life chances and choices.

Our paper addresses the growing phenomenon of social mobility which has become a core motif of the modern society and numerous “new” and “old” inequalities forming the social structure of the Russian society. The theoretical grounds of the research are the classical and the modern social theories concerning social inequality and mobility. We elaborate the “integral” approach to the social inequality which appeals simultaneously the objective characteristics and to the person’s perception of his social position and the inequality phenomenon. The paper is based on the desk study of the Russian youth, its problems, choices, social identification, ways of life and on the data of the author’s sociological on-line survey of 400 young people at the age of 18-35 years old. I’ll present the results of the research showing the influence of the becoming of non-linear inequality on the social mobility and life chances of youth in Russia.