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Making Ends Meet in Contemporary Russia

Hardback

Making Ends Meet in Contemporary Russia

Secondary Employment, Subsidiary Agriculture and Social Networks

9781840642629 Edward Elgar Publishing
Simon Clarke, Professor of Sociology, University of Warwick, UK and Scientific Director, Institute for Comparative Labour Relations Research (ISITO), Moscow, Russia
Publication Date: 2002 ISBN: 978 1 84064 262 9 Extent: 296 pp
This book reviews the available data to analyse the forms, scale and incidence of these phenomena. The author finds that so-called ‘survival strategies’ merely represent a continuation of traditional soviet practices. He demonstrates that they disproportionately benefit the better off and that they do not provide a means by which those who have suffered misfortune can compensate for a fall in their earnings. Instead, he illustrates that most Russian households have adapted simply by cutting expenditure rather than by finding new sources of income. The author concludes by arguing that the notion of a ‘household survival strategy’ is inappropriate for the study of post-soviet society

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Contents
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Throughout the 1990s, Russian households experienced a dramatic fall in their traditional sources of subsistence: wages and social benefits. Many commentators have argued that households have adopted ‘survival strategies’ that enable them to make ends meet, particularly taking second jobs, growing their own food and calling on the help of family and friends.

This book reviews the available data to analyse the forms, scale and incidence of these phenomena. The author finds that so-called ‘survival strategies’ merely represent a continuation of traditional soviet practices. He demonstrates that they disproportionately benefit the better off and that they do not provide a means by which those who have suffered misfortune can compensate for a fall in their earnings. Instead, he illustrates that most Russian households have adapted simply by cutting expenditure rather than by finding new sources of income. The author concludes by arguing that the notion of a ‘household survival strategy’ is inappropriate for the study of post-soviet society.

Based on the analysis of a wide range of qualitative and quantitative data, Making Ends Meet in Contemporary Russia provides a comprehensive analysis of the means by which Russian households have secured their subsistence in the face of a collapse in wages and employment since the end of the soviet system. It will be required reading for all students, scholars and researchers of transition studies, development studies and human geography.
Critical Acclaim
‘. . . this work represents an important contribution to the literature on socioeconomic responses and outcomes in Russia and goes some way toward setting the future agenda for social policy and research. . . and can be recommended to all with an interest in socioeconomic conditions in contemporary Russia.’
– C.J. Gerry, Slavonic and East European Review

‘The book is nicely written and contains a wealth of empirical data that makes it very interesting reading. Because of the straightforward statistical analysis used too illustrate the author’s arguments the book is also very accessible to both social scientists and the general public interested in this topic.’
– Roman Novozhilov, Progress in Development Studies

‘I believe the book would be of great interest to students and scholars of Russia. It is well documented, very well organized, and provocative. It challenges widely-held ideas about how the Russians are surviving the current economic crisis. . . Not only does the book present a fascinating analysis of the ways Russian households are dealing with everyday economic problems in a transitioning economy, but it also familiarizes the reader with numerous studies and surveys not well known outside of Russia.’
– Alya Guseva, Contemporary Sociology

‘The starting point for this impressively documented survey is taken as 1985 with employment and social needs more or less in balance.’
– Rusistika
Contents
Contents: 1. Household Subsistence in the Russian Economic Crisis 2. Secondary Employment 3. The Russian Dacha and the Myth of the Urban Peasant 4. Social Networks and Private Transfers 5. Do Russian Households Have Survival Strategies? References Index

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