Research Projects on Gender in Transition

Our research programme on gender relations in Russia comprises a number of linked projects.

Gender identity and the collapse of the Soviet system

This project was funded by the Nuffield Foundation and directed by Elain Bowers from June 1996 to June 1997. You can read the Project Application and Final Report

Cultural and political consequences of the crisis of gender identity following the collapse of the Soviet system

Thisl project was funded from December 1996 to December 1998 under INTAS-95. The project was co-ordinated by Simon Clarke and directed by Sarah Ashwin in collaboration with the Interdisciplinary Women's Studies Centre at Bielefeld University. Sarah Ashwin is currently editing an English version of the papers produced under these projects, which will be published as a book by UCL Press. You can read the original Application and Work Programme, the Progress Report to December 1996 and the Progress Report to December 1997.

Gender differences in employment strategies during economic transition

Sarah Ashwin is now at the London School of Economics, from where she is co-ordinating an INTAS97 project, in collaboration with Birgit Pfau-Effinger and her colleagues in Berlin, and the ISITO groups in Samara, Ulyanovsk, Moscow and Syktyvkar on Gender Differences in Employment Strategies During Economic Transition in Russia. For more information you can contact Sarah at S.Ashwin@lse.ac.uk

Survival strategies of female-headed single-parent families in Russia.

Marina Kiblitskaya, of the ISITO Moscow group,is conducting research with a grant from the McArthur Foundation for a project on the survival strategies of female-headed single-parent families in Russia. Contact Marina at markib@glasnet.ru.

Gender dimensions of employment restructuring

In addition to these projects, we have focused on gender dimensions of employment within our research on employment restructuring and the formation of a labour market and in our work on household survival strategies. You may download files and reports based on this research or consult the list of publications.


The following is the work programme originally submitted as our INTAS application. This has subsequently been modified as a result of budget cuts to omit the questionnaire survey. Marina Kiblitskaya has replaced Irina Aristakhova, who has been living in Singapore.

INTAS-95: Cultural and political consequences of the crisis of gender identity following the collapse of the Soviet system.

OBJECTIVES AND BACKGROUND

Background to the Research

The proposed project develops out of a programme of research collaboration involving teams of Russian sociologists which has been under way continuously since 1990, using qualitative and ethnographic research methods. This programme has involved a number of sub-projects, one of which, on the restructuring of management, labour relations and labour organisation, has been supported by INTAS-93 (a one-year extension for the latter has been applied for: only one of those participating in the INTAS-93 project has been nominated to receive support under the project proposed here, and she will transfer at the end of the INTAS-93 project, if there is an overlap).

The issue of gender relations in employment in Russia confronted us at an early stage of our research programme, and has developed into an independent area of research. Since 1993 this work has been developed particularly within the framework of a Tempus/TACIS Pre-JEP and Joint European Project on 'the development of sociology in Russia', involving the universities of Warwick, Manchester and Bielefeld, within which a series of intensive postgraduate courses are being developed in key substantive areas of sociology. Four of these courses concern gender issues: Elena Mescherkina (Institute of Sociology, RAN) is developing a course on life history methods of research, with particular reference to research into the issue of masculinity; Irina Aristarkhova (Centre for Gender Studies, Institute of the Social and Economic Problems of Population, RAN) is developing a course on sexuality and gender identity; Irina Tartakovskaya (Sociology Laboratory, Samara Pedagogical University) is developing a course on gender relations and the family; Elena Omelchenko (Sociology Laboratory, Ulyanovsk filial of MGU) is developing a course on youth and youth culture, which highlights gender issues. In addition, the Moscow co-ordinator of the Tempus programme, Sergei Kukhterin (Institute of Sociology, RAN), has had a long-standing research interest in the issue of social identity, working under Professor Vladimir Yadov, and has more recently been developing research in the field of masculinity. All the Tempus participants spent a period of at least three months during 1995 studying and preparing their courses in the West, Elena Mescherkina working with colleagues at the Interdisciplinary Women's Research Centre at Bielefeld, the other three in Sociology and Women's Studies at Warwick. The teaching of the courses begins in January 1996, and textbooks and readers will be published in Russia during 1996 and 1997.

This work on gender relations carried out within the framework of the Tempus project has been complemented by research into gender relations in Russia carried out by Simon Clarke's colleagues and doctoral students based at the University of Warwick, in collaboration with the Centre for the Study of Women and Gender at the University of Warwick. This work includes research of Elain Bowers on gender stereotypes and work in Russia, of Sarah Ashwin on gender differences in trade union activity in Russia, Annette Robertson on the gender division of labour in the coal-mining industry, and Marina Kiblitskaya on informal relations in male and female work collectives.

The research and Tempus programmes have given the Russian collaborators the opportunity to spend some time in Britain, Germany and (in two cases) France to familiarise themselves with the relevant Western literature, to meet with leading Western scholars in the field and to participate in, and in some cases present papers to, Western academic conferences. On the basis of the growing international reputation of our research group, the Soros Foundation has asked Irina Tartakovskaya to organise a research seminar, bringing together researchers into gender relations from all the countries of the Former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. This research seminar will be held in Samara in May 1996.

On the basis of the growing volume of work in this field, a gender research seminar was established, which has been meeting regularly in Moscow since September 1994, with participation of Western collaborators approximately every three months. This seminar soon came to focus on the issue of sexuality and gender identity, which has barely been researched in Russia. The Soviet ideological tradition was not conducive to researching such problems. Although the Centre for Gender Studies in Moscow has established a high profile internationally, its activity in Russia has been mainly focused on attempts to engage in political and ideological debate and to introduce the ideas of Western feminism, but it has conducted little sociological research in the field of gender relations and gender identity in Russia. The small amount of research on the issue conducted by Westerners in Russia has been informed primarily by the concerns of Western feminism, which has tended to conceal from view the distinctiveness of gender identity and gender relations in Russia.

The two Western centres, Bielefeld and Warwick, offer the strongest possible support for the Russian researchers, with two of the strongest Sociology Departments and two of the strongest Centres for Women's Studies in Europe, with extensive and deep interest in the issues which provide the focus for the proposed research, at the centre of international research networks, and with an existing record of collaboration.

The proposed research has developed out of the discussions in the Moscow seminar. The aim of the research is to address the issue of gender identity, with a particular focus on the almost entirely neglected issue of masculinity, and the cultural and political consequences of the challenge to male identity presented by the collapse of the Soviet system, but within the wider framework of the constitution and crisis of gender identity in Russia.

The Research Problem

The research programme initially focused on the paradoxical position of Russian women. The contrast between the formal rights of Soviet women and the reality of their unequal and subordinate position is particularly striking to Western observers. However, while Western feminists see this as clear evidence of the patriarchal subordination of Russian women, this is not a view which is shared by many Russians, male or female, including social scientists. Russian social scientists certainly recognise the significance of gender differences, but are reluctant to explain such differences in terms of the patriarchal subordination of women to men, pointing to the strength and independence of many Russian women, which is not easily reconciled with an analysis of their position as victims of male domination.

The paradoxical combination of the power and subordination of women carries over into their own activity. The overwhelming majority of women do not overtly challenge the gender division of labour or the inequalities between men and women. But at the same time Russian women are by no means passive. Although women play a much reduced role in politics, they remain economically and socially very active, and such active women have a strength and self-confidence that is much more rarely found among men. Russian women have a strong sense of their difference from men, of the separation of their world from the world of men, and of their moral superiority to men, which underlies both their accommodation and their resistance to their apparent economic, social and political subordination.

Although women have been the first victims of the collapse of the Soviet system, losing many of their rights and privileges, being the first in line for redundancy and the vast majority of those plunged into abject poverty, and although many older women look back nostalgically to the security of the past, many younger women welcome the changes taking place, even when they appear to be victims, drawing strength from their liberation from the constraint of gender identities imposed by the state. At the same time there is evidence that many men have suffered much greater disorientation than women, experiencing the changes as a challenge to their gender identity to which they were unable to adjust. Many aspects of the 'moral crisis' of post-Soviet society (alcoholism, aggression, nihilism and ultra-nationalism), which have very dangerous political implications, can be traced back to this challenge to male identity. A simple evaluative comparison between the position of women in Russia and those in the West does not make any sense, because the relationships between men and women, between work and home, between generations, take on qualitatively different forms in Russia from those in the West, for structural, cultural and ideological reasons, rooted in the Soviet experience.

These considerations led the research group to consider not only the role of women in Soviet society, but also the conception of masculinity, and to develop a series of hypotheses concerning the role of the Soviet state in defining the gender identity of men and women and the social relations not only between men and women, but also between men and men, and between women and women. These hypotheses are not only of scientific interest, but have very important implications for understanding the changing patterns of gender relations and gender conflict in the wake of the erosion and collapse of the Soviet system. Meanwhile, the state does not stand idly by, but is appropriating the interventionist methods of Western social policy in an attempt to remould gender relations around a Western family model. It is these implications which the groups are particularly anxious to explore and which provide the focus of the proposed research.

3.3 SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL DESCRIPTION

3.3.1 RESEARCH ACTIVITIES

The research will be carried out collaboratively by the two Russian-based groups, with regular support and international contacts being maintained by the Western participants. The two Russian groups are based in the Institute of Sociology, RAN, Moscow, headed by Elena Mescherkina, and the Sociology Laboratory of the Ulyanovsk filial of Moscow State University, headed by Elena Omelchenko. In addition to the researchers who will take primary responsibility for the research, for which they will receive individual grants, other researchers and advanced students will be involved in the project on an occasional basis without financial compensation through INTAS.

Research Hypotheses

The research activities are determined by the hypotheses that guide the research.

The central hypothesis of the research programme is that the distinctive form and representation of gender identities in Russia are closely related to the very different historical legacy of Russian gender relations, in which the role of the traditional Russian patriarch was taken over by the Soviet state. Irina Aristarkhova's research has focused on the ways in which the Soviet state and official ideology redefined gender roles not in relation to one another, but in relation to the state and the socialist future, defining the responsibilities of Soviet men as workers and Soviet women as worker-mothers. Our research group has developed this analysis to explore the ways in which the Soviet state played the decisive role in defining the gender identities which constitute the different worlds inhabited by men and women.

The term 'gender identity' is used here in two overlapping senses: on the one hand, the dominant conceptions of what it is to be a man or a woman; on the other hand, gender differences in the constitution of identity, which includes not only gender differences in the values held by men and women, but also differences in the basis of the self-identification of men and women, including different orientations to work/home/family/state/nation, to past/present/future, etc.

The concept of patriarchy enters the equation at two different levels. On the one hand, the official ideology was constituted on the basis of traditional patriarchal assumptions about the nature and appropriate roles of men and women. On the other hand, men sought to enforce the subordination of women in the everyday world of work and home. However, contradictions arose within the system as a result of the different values held by men and women, which meant that men and women had very different ideas about the relative importance of their roles. While women recognised their difference from men, they appropriated the values of motherhood and of the subordination of the present to the future, which were the focus of the official ideology of the building of socialism, as the basis of their own self-confidence and of their often silent resistance - if not to the position to which they were assigned, at least to the definition of that position as subordinate. In that sense the state, while confining women to a restricted social role, was at the same time their silent ally in defending the identity to which they had been assigned.

These contradictions had important implications for the gender identity of men, since the value of women's role was reinforced not only ideologically, but also materially in the legal protection accorded to women and in the whole welfare infrastructure which defined the rights, role and responsibilities of women as worker-mothers not in relation to the man, but in relation to the state. Thus, in the Soviet period the dependence of and responsibility for women was transferred from men to the (gendered) state. In this sense masculinity was socialised and embodied in the state, the masculinity of the individual man being defined by his position in the service of the state. Gender was appropriated as an organising principle of state power. Moreover, from the perspective of the policies and ideology of the state, gender relations were reduced to biology as the duty of men was merely to inseminate women to produce children as fodder for the state.

It is our hypothesis that this contradiction between the 'public' gender order defined by the state, in which men and women were officially different but equal (in their subordination to the state), and the 'private' gender order expressed in personal relations, in which men sought to reassert their superiority, underlay the combination of bombastic chauvinism and extreme insecurity that marks the typical relation of men to women and that is expressed in the high incidence of physical and sexual aggression of men in their relations to women. At the same time the two spheres were linked by the role of the state in defining masculinity and male identity.

This hypothesis has considerable significance for understanding gender relations and gender conflict in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet system, as women have lost the public affirmation of the importance of their role, as the relation between present and future has been inverted, and as men have seen the focus of their masculinity, the state, destroyed. On the one hand, women have to find a new basis for their self-identification, which may be through their children, through the family, or through work (in which the importance of traditionally female specialisms (e.g. finance, economics) and spheres (e.g. services, consumer goods) has been increased in relation to traditionally male specialisms of engineering and the male sphere of heavy industry). On the other hand, men expect and are expected to reassume the traditional 'male' responsibilities which have now been abandoned by the state, but in a context in which the underpinning of their gender identity has been destroyed, with the collapse of the Soviet state depriving masculinity of its ideological support and with falling real wages and increasing job insecurity depriving it of its economic basis. As a result gender has become a key aspect of social restructuring and gender politics of critical importance, as men attempt to recapture their masculinity by asserting their domination over women both at home and at work. At the same time the homogeneity of a state-defined masculinity is replaced by the emergence of heterogeneity as different patterns of masculinity develop, and hierarchical relations are established between these different masculinities, with perhaps the predominant popular ideal now being that of 'mafia man', the antithesis of socialist man. This 'crisis of masculine identity' has very important cultural and political implications.

This crisis also has implications for state policy. If our hypothesis is correct, gender relations in Russia cannot be seen as being in transition from a 'patriarchal traditionalism' to a more modern 'Western model', as most Western commentators, feminists and policy advisers suggest. This implies in turn that the current attempts of the state to appropriate the interventionist methods of Western social policy in an attempt to remould gender relations around a Western family model at best are unlikely to succeed and, at worst, are likely to provoke a destructive reaction.

Research methods

The research includes both qualitative and quantitative dimensions. The first phase of the research will concentrate on the elaboration of the research hypotheses outlined above through the use of qualitative research methods. The first phase of the research includes both an historical and a contemporary dimension. Both the historical and the contemporary dimensions will be approached by two complementary methods: one, the analysis of cultural representations of gender; the other, the use of life history methods of interviewing. The research team based in Ulyanovsk is specialised in the use of the former methods, the research team based in Moscow is specialised in the latter. These methods are relatively unfamiliar in Russia, although their use is well-established in the West, and all the Russian researchers have been trained in the use of such methods in Western universities and have developed their application to the Russian context in previous research projects in which they have been involved.

On the basis of the results of this phase of the research, the second phase will involve the conduct of a questionnaire survey, drawn up on the basis of the findings achieved and hypotheses elaborated in the first phase of the research. This survey will seek to establish a typology of stereotypes of male and female gender identity, and to investigate the relationship between gender stereotypes, personality types and cultural and political values. This survey will complement the existing research of Professor Yadov's team into social identity. The execution of the survey will be subcontracted on the basis of tendering, most likely through the networks of the Institute of Sociology or VTsIOM. The budgeted sum of 10,000 ECU is based on the expectation is that the survey would involve a stratified sample of approximately 1,000 respondents drawn from about four locations with an interview taking approximately one hour to complete.

The second phase would begin with questionnaire design approximately twelve months into the project, with the survey being conducted after eighteen months, with the emphasis of the final six months being on data analysis and writing up of results.

Each research group will hold formal research meetings at least once each month to report on progress and discuss evolving hypotheses. The research group as a whole will meet approximately once every three months in Moscow to discuss more formal presentations of research findings. As far as possible, each of these quarterly meetings will be attended by Western participants, for which partial allowance is made in the budget. A three day seminar involving all participants at the end of the first year will draft the questionnaire.

Elaboration of hypotheses on the basis of qualitative research.

Moscow Research Team.

The Moscow research team will approach the research problem of gender identity primarily by means of life history interviews. The research will focus on masculinity in two specific groups, 'new Russians' and older conservatives, which represent the two polar responses to change and so give the most acute insight into the impact of change on conceptions of masculinity. In addition Olga Issoupova will research changing conceptions of motherhood.

Elena Mescherkina (Institute of Sociology, RAN), director of the Moscow team, has been conducting life-history research for several years, initially within the framework of a Franco-Russian project directed by Professor Daniel Bertaux (Paris), and has studied in France and Germany. Her research interest in masculinity developed in the course of her research on the 'new Russians', when it became clear that a re-definition of masculinity was a central feature of the self-identification of the new elite, which conditions social relations within the elite and differentiates it from non-elite groups. This redefinition of masculinity questioned traditional Soviet stereotypes of masculinity not only in relations between men and women, but also between men and men. Although it borrows heavily from Western images, it does not simply adopt Western gender stereotypes, but is distinctively (and often aggressively) Russian.

Her specific research contribution will be to develop her own research into 'forms and images of masculinity among new Russians' by re-analysing existing research data, carrying out in-depth life history interviews with approximately 30 'new Russians', and analysing cultural representations directed at new Russians (magazines, advertising, etc).

Irina Aristarkhova (Centre for Gender Studies, Institute of Population, RAN) will collaborate with Elena Mescherkina in her research on the new Russians, her own research focus being 'family relationships and family values among new Russias'. Aristarkhova has researched gender identity and values of a sample of 'new Russian' families, and has also researched geneder identity in the new professions. Her contribution will be to re-analyse the wealth of existing data in the light of the present research focus, supplemented with additional interviews as necessary. The secondary focus of her research will be the role of the state in the restructuring of gender relations, building on her historical research with a study of recent changes in family legislation and social policy.

Sergei Kukhterin (Institute of Sociology, RAN) will focus his research on the connection between masculinity, personality and political values, based on thirty life-history interviews with a sample of men identified as holding national-chauvinistic political values in an earlier survey. Kukhterin, who is a social psychologist and an experienced survey researcher, will also carry out secondary analysis of previous surveys of social identity and political values, and will take primary responsibility for the development of the questionnaire and conduct of the survey in the second phase of the research.

Olga Issoupova (Institute of Sociology, RAN) will complement the work on masculinity, as well as that of the Ulyanovsk team, by focusing her research on the theme of representations of motherhood, using life history interviews and analysis of media and artistic representations of motherhood. Issoupova has trained in qualitative research methods at the CEU in Prague, and conducted research on contemporary representations of motherhood with colleages from Manchester University, where she has also studied.

Ulyanovsk Research Team

The second Russian research team is based in Ulyanovsk, but will also include researchers in neighbouring Samara. In addition to the named researchers, advanced students will participate in the research as part of their diploma work. The focus of the work of the Ulyanovsk group will be cultural representations of gender identity, based on the content analysis of historical and contemporary propaganda materials, literary and artistic sources, media representations and advertising. Lena Omelchenko will research youth and popular culture, complementing the focus of the Moscow group on the 'new Russians' and the older generation. Irina Tartakovskaya's research will focus on literary and artistic representations of gender, including popular media of television and cinema.

Lena Omelchenko (Head of Sociology Laboratory, Ulyanovsk banch of MGU) has been studying youth culture in Russia for many years, with a particular emphasis on cultural representations of youth, including the media and advertising, and the appropriation of such images by young people as the basis of their self-identification. She has collaborated closely with researchers in Britain, where she has spent six months studying her research field. The focus of her research will be the analysis of gender imagery in youth culture, comparing the imagery of the Soviet period with that of contemporary youth, based on the content analysis of cultural representations, together with observation and group interviews with different categories of young people.

Irina Tartakovskaya (Sociology Laboratory, Samara Pedagogical Institute) completed her candidate's dissertation for the Institute of Culture, Russian Academy of Sciences, with a qualitative analysis of cultural representations, and has also researched gender relations at work. She has visited Britain and Germany for study on several occasions, presented papers to international conferences, and published her work on gender in English. She will bring together the two past foci of her work to carry out research into historical and contemporary representations of gender in artistic and literary media.


Nuffield Foundation: Gender identity and the collapse of the Soviet system. Directed by Elain Bowers.

Background to the Research

The proposed project develops out of a programme of research which Simon Clarke has been conducting with teams of Russian collaborators since 1990, using qualitative and ethnographic research methods. This project has been funded by a small grant from the Nuffield Foundation, by the East-West programme of the ESRC until April 1994, and by INTAS until June 1995. Simon Clarke is continuing his research into the restructuring of the Russian coal-mining industry with support from the ESRC and the Westminster Foundation. In addition, he has five doctoral students researching in Russia and is co-ordinating a Tempus TACIS programme developing the postgraduate teaching of sociology in Russia. Elain Bowers is just completing her PhD on gender stereotypes and work in Russia, and from February 1996 will be based in Moscow for eighteen months as co-ordinator of the Tempus programme.

The issue of gender relations in employment in Russia was one which confronted us from the beginning of the research, and has become the principal focus for the work of four of our Russian collaborators and of two of our doctoral students. In addition three of the participants in the Tempus programme will be teaching courses on gender: Irina Tartakovskaya on gender and the family, Irina Aristarkhova on sexuality and gender identity, and Elena Mishcherkina on masculinity. Finally, the Moscow co-ordinator of the Tempus programme, Sergei Khukhterin, is a social psychologist who has worked for many years on the issue of identity, and is now developing research on masculinity. This research has already produced a series of conference and working papers, some of which are in press or published in English and Russian, and the Tempus programme will generate three textbooks and readers.

The proposed research has developed through discussions in a gender research seminar which we established in Moscow in September 1994, which soon came to focus on the issue of sexuality and gender identity, which has barely been researched in Russia. The Soviet ideological tradition was not conducive to researching such problems. Although the Centre for Gender Studies in Moscow has established a high profile internationally, its activity in Russia has been mainly focused on the political and ideological struggle to introduce the ideas of Western feminism, but has conducted little sociological research in the field of gender relations and gender identity in Russia. The small amount of research conducted by Westerners has been informed primarily by the concerns of Western feminism, which has tended to conceal from view the distinctiveness of gender identity in Russia.

The proposed research is to address the issue of gender identity, with a particular focus on the almost entirely neglected issue of masculinity and the challenge to male identity presented by the collapse of the Soviet system. The research will be carried out collectively by a group of researchers based in Moscow, drawing on existing data as well as conducting further research, co-ordinated by Elain Bowers, whose salary costs and expenses will be covered by her job as Tempus co-ordinator. The proposed research will dovetail closely with her work developing the teaching of the Tempus programme, particularly in the area of gender.

The Research Problem

Our research initially focused on the paradoxical position of Russian women. The contrast between the formal rights of Soviet women and the reality of their unequal and subordinate position is particularly striking. However, while our Russian collaborators recognised the significance of gender differences, they were all, men and women alike, reluctant to explain such differences in terms of the patriarchal subordination of women to men. What has struck the Western participants in our project most particularly has been the strength and independence of many Russian women, which is not easily reconciled with an analysis of their position as victims of male domination.

The paradoxical combination of the power and subordination of women carries over into their own activity. The overwhelming majority of women do not overtly challenge the gender division of labour or the inequalities between men and women. But at the same time Russian women are by no means passive. Although women play a much reduced role in politics, they remain economically and socially very active, and such active women have a strength and self-confidence that is much more rarely found among men. Russian women have a strong sense of their difference from men, of the separation of their world from the world of men, and of their moral superiority to men, which underlies both their accommodation and their resistance to their apparent economic, social and political subordination.

Although women have been the first victims of the collapse of the Soviet system, losing many of their rights and privileges, being the first in line for redundancy and the vast majority of those plunged into abject poverty, and although many older women look back nostalgically to the security of the past, many younger women welcome the changes taking place, even when they appear to be victims, drawing strength from their liberation from the former state-imposed gender identity. At the same time many men suffered much greater disorientation than women, experiencing the changes as a challenge to their gender identity to which they were unable to adjust. Many aspects of the 'moral crisis' of post-Soviet society (alcoholism, aggression, nihilism and ultra-nationalism), which have very dangerous political implications, can be traced back to this challenge to male identity. A simple evaluative comparison between the position of women in Russia and those in the West does not make any sense, because the relationships between men and women, between work and home, between generations, take on qualitatively different forms in Russia from those in the West, for structural, cultural and ideological reasons.

These differences are closely related to the very different historical legacy of Russian gender relations, in which the role of the traditional Russian patriarch was taken over by the Soviet state. Irina Aristarkhova's research, building on her work for her MA in Sociology at Warwick in 1993-4, has focused on the ways in which the Soviet state and official ideology redefined gender roles not in relation to one another, but in relation to the state and the socialist future, defining the responsibilities of Soviet men as workers and Soviet women as worker-mothers. Our research group has developed this analysis to explore the ways in which the Soviet state played the decisive role in defining the gender identities which constitute the different worlds inhabited by men and women.

The term 'gender identity' is used here in two overlapping senses: on the one hand, the dominant conceptions of what it is to be a man or a woman; on the other hand, gender differences in the constitution of identity, which includes not only gender differences in the values held by men and women, but also differences in the basis of the self-identification of men and women, including different orientations to work/home/family/state/nation, to past/present/future, etc.

The concept of patriarchy enters the equation at two different levels. On the one hand, the official ideology was constituted on the basis of traditional patriarchal assumptions about the nature and appropriate roles of men and women. On the other hand, men sought to enforce the subordination of women in the everyday world of work and home. However, contradictions arose within the system as a result of the different values held by men and women, which meant that men and women had very different ideas about the relative importance of their roles. While women recognised their difference from men, they appropriated the values of motherhood and of the subordination of the present to the future, which were the focus of the official ideology of the building of socialism, as the basis of their own self-confidence and of their often silent resistance - if not to the position to which they were assigned, at least to the definition of that position as subordinate. In that sense the state, while confining women to a restricted social role, was at the same time their silent ally in defending the identity to which they had been assigned.

These contradictions had important implications for the gender identity of men, since the value of women's role was reinforced not only ideologically, but also materially in the legal protection accorded to women and in the whole welfare infrastructure which defined the rights, role and responsibilities of women as mothers not in relation to the man, but in relation to the state. Thus, in the Soviet period the dependence of and responsibility for women was transferred from men to the (gendered) state. In this sense masculinity was socialised and embodied in the state, the masculinity of the individual man being defined by his position in the service of the state. Gender was appropriated as an organising principle of state power. Moreover, from the perspective of the policies and ideology of the state, gender relations were reduced to biology as the duty of men was merely to inseminate women to produce children as fodder for the state.

It is our hypothesis that this contradiction between the 'public' gender order defined by the state, in which men and women were officially different but equal (in their subordination to the state), and the 'private' gender order expressed in personal relations, in which men sought to reassert their superiority, underlay the combination of bombastic chauvinism and extreme insecurity that marks the typical relation of men to women and that is expressed in the high incidence of physical and sexual aggression of men in their relations to women. At the same time the two spheres were linked by the role of the state in defining masculinity and male identity.

If the hypotheses outlined above are correct they have very important implications for understanding the changing patterns of gender relations and gender conflict in the wake of the erosion and collapse of the Soviet as women have lost the public affirmation of the importance of their role, as the relation between present and future has been inverted, and as men have seen the focus of their masculinity, the state, destroyed. On the one hand, women have to find a new basis for their self-identification, which may be through their children, through the family, or through work (in which the importance of traditionally female specialisms (e.g. finance, economics) and spheres (e.g. services, consumer goods) has been increased in relation to traditionally male specialisms of engineering and the male sphere of heavy industry). On the other hand, men expect and are expected to reassume the traditional 'male' responsibilities which have now been abandoned by the state, but in a context in which the underpinning of their gender identity has been destroyed, with the collapse of the Soviet state depriving masculinity of its ideological support and with falling real wages and increasing job insecurity depriving it of its economic basis. As a result gender has become a key aspect of social restructuring and gender politics of critical importance, as men attempt to recapture their masculinity by asserting their domination over women both at home and at work. At the same time the homogeneity of a state-defined masculinity is replaced by the emergence of heterogeneity as different patterns of masculinity develop, and hierarchical relations are established between these different masculinities, with perhaps the predominant popular ideal now being that of 'mafia man', the antithesis of socialist man. Meanwhile, the state does not stand idly by, but is appropriating the interventionist methods of Western social policy in an attempt to remould gender relations around a Western family model. It is these implications which we are particularly anxious to explore and which provide the focus of the proposed research.

Research Programme

The research theme is a complex one which we plan to address through a series of concrete studies prepared by individual researchers, building on their existing research, which will be thematically linked and collectively elaborated. The main research method will be that of the qualitative analysis of extended open-ended interviews. The result will be a collection of papers with a thematic introduction which should be suitable for English and Russian publication in book form. The research will also lay the foundation for possible subsequent research to add a quantitative dimension using survey methods. The project will be directed by Simon Clarke, and will be co-ordinated by Elain Bowers. The following will be involved in the research:

Elena Mishcherkina (Institute of Sociology, RAN) has been conducting life-history research, initially with Daniel Bertaux. Her research will be based on a re-analysis of earlier data and she will conduct an additional 30 life history interviews with 'new Russians', focusing on masculinity and gender identity in the new elite.

Galina Monousova (Institute of World Economy and International Relations, RAN) will build on her research on gender in industrial relations, re-analysing an extensive body of interview and observational material and conducting additional interviews with male and female shop-floor workers and line managers.

Irina Tartakovskaya (Sociology Laboratory, Samara Pedagogical Institute) will build on the research for her candidate's degree for the Institute of Culture by researching gender stereotypes in contemporary popular culture (literature, cinema and advertising).

Sergei Kukhterin (Institute of Sociology, RAN) will focus his research on the connection between male gender identity and political values, based on the secondary analysis of previous surveys of political values, supplemented by thirty extended interviews with a sample of men identified as holding national-chauvinistic political values in an earlier survey.

Lena Omelchenko (Head of Sociology Laboratory, Ulyanovsk banch of MGU) will build on her research on youth culture to develop the analysis of gender imagery in youth culture, which will also link with Irina Tartakovskaya's research on popular culture.

Irina Aristarkhova (Centre for Gender Studies, Institute of Population, RAN) will focus on the role of the state in the restructuring of gender relations, building on her historical research with a study of recent changes in family legislation and social policy. She will also contribute to Elena Mishcherkina's research on the basis of her own earlier work on the families of 'new Russians'.

 



Nuffield Final Report, August 1997

Gender Identity and the Collapse of the Soviet System

Research aims

The objective of the research was to assess the changes in, and challenges to, male and female gender identities presented by the collapse of the Soviet state, using qualitative research techniques such as life history interviews, focus groups, and content analysis of cultural representations. The central hypothesis of the project was that the Soviet state promoted and institutionalised a distinctive form of gender relations and gender identities which are now being reformulated in the present period of rapid change. The central feature of the Soviet gender order was that conceptions of masculinity and femininity were defined in terms of service to the state: both men and women were supposed to serve the state through work outside the home, while women also had a duty to produce future generations of workers. Within this model, women’s emancipation was supposed to be secured by their participation in work outside the home, but essentialist conceptions of sexual difference were incorporated into the Soviet gender order rather than challenged by it, so that the domestic sphere continued to be defined as female. Thus, Soviet female gender identity was formed around the twin conceptions of work and of responsibility to the family, while the masculinity of the individual Soviet man was defined by his position in the service of the state rather than his role within the family.

The collapse of the Soviet state has disrupted this gender order. Within this project, the analysis of the nature of the changes taking place was organised around three themes. Galina Monousova and Marina Kiblitskaya considered the future of women’s employment now that full female labour participation is no longer an object of state policy. Irina Tartakovskaya and Elena Omel’chenko analysed the changes in media representations of gender now that the press is no longer required to promote the Soviet model of gender relations. Finally, Elena Meshcherkina and Sergei Kukhterin considered the response of men to the collapse of the Soviet state.

Research organisation

Each researcher was responsible for the completion of her own project, but during the course of the research three seminars were conducted in Moscow in order to discuss individual research findings and develop a collective approach to the research problem. The first meeting took place in December 1996 to discuss work in progress. This meeting reviewed the hypothesis put forward in the grant application about the form of Soviet gender relations and developed a common conception of the nature of the changes in gender identity and gender relations taking place in contemporary Russia. In addition, each researcher gave an account of her findings and hypotheses which were then discussed by the group as a whole.

By the end of April 1997 the draft papers were prepared and a seminar was held at which all the researchers presented their papers. On the basis of the discussion at this seminar the papers were then revised. A further seminar was then held at the end of June 1997 at which final papers were exchanged and plans to publish them as an edited collection of essays were discussed.

Individual research findings

Galina Monousova’s research has considered the changes in women’s employment in Russia between 1992 and 1996. First, using official statistics such as the Labour Force Survey and the statistics of the Federal Employment Service, Monousova analysed the scale and composition of female unemployment. Secondly, using her own qualitative data from a range of enterprises in Moscow, Kaluga, Krasnoyarsk and Kursk regions she analysed occupational and sectoral shifts in female employment. Finally, using the data produced by the Russian Longitudinal Monitoring Service she analysed relative changes in wages and wage arrears.

The picture derived from Monousova’s research is mixed. On one hand, there are more unemployed men than women and the proportion of men among the unemployed is growing. But the proportion of women employed in the most depressed sectors, in particular the budget sector of health and education, is rising. Meanwhile, in industry women are likely to get stuck in relatively low paid positions. If relative wages go up jobs traditionally held by women may be filled by men, while, by contrast, wage arrears or decline may lead to the feminisation of jobs. Monousova does stress that the data is contradictory and that the picture is not entirely clear cut. At the same time, however, she argues that women themselves tend to have pessimistic assumptions about their chances in the labour market, something which in turn influences their behaviour.

The focus of Marina Kiblitskaya’s research has been female breadwinners in Soviet society. Although the stereotype of the male breadwinner persisted during the Soviet period, the vast majority of Soviet women worked. Moreover, although men generally earned more than women, Kiblitskaya’s research highlights the fact that it was often the woman’s wage which was crucial for the family because, unlike men, women could be relied upon to contribute their wages to the family budget. Thus, the fact that women retained the primary responsibility for the domestic sphere in the Soviet period only increased the importance they attached to their paid work outside the home.

Kiblitskaya’s study, which is based on a series of deep interview with female breadwinners, focuses on the changing values and motivation of different generations of breadwinners and the implications of this for the organisation of their work and family life. On the basis of her interviews, Kiblitskaya characterises the generation of women who began their working lives in the Stalin era as ‘married to the state’: they neglected their personal lives in favour of serving the state through their work outside the home. Later generations of Soviet women placed more emphasis on their family lives, but work was still crucial to them as a means of providing for the family, as well as a form of self realisation and service to society. Kiblitskaya shows that women themselves subscribed to the idea that it was their duty to both run and provide for the household, and judged themselves and other women by this criteria. This ideal of self-reliance remains a major component of the modern Russian woman’s gender identity. Although Kiblitskaya sees such women as ‘divorced from the state’ and ‘devoted to the family’, the importance of work in their lives has not declined because their earnings are even more vital for the survival of the family in the present period. The importance of Kiblitskaya’s work is that, unlike earlier studies of Soviet women, it focuses on the subjective perceptions of women and is therefore better able to explain their relationship to work and to the family, and, crucially, the nature of their response to the challenges of the transition period.

Irina Tartakovskaya’s research consists of a study of the construction of masculinity and femininity in Soviet and post-Soviet newspapers. She has taken three of the most significant Russian newspapers - Izvestia, Komsomol’skaya pravda and Sovetskaya Rossiya - and analysed the representation of gender in a parallel selection of issues in 1984 and 1997. While the state-controlled newspapers of 1984 confidently articulated Soviet ideas regarding the proper role of men and women in articles constructed as exemplars of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ behaviour, the material of the now pluralist press of 1997 reflects uncertainty about gender identity in post-Soviet Russia.

Tartakovskaya’s analysis of the 1984 papers highlights the main features of the Soviet approach to gender, but it also reveals the tensions within the official position. In particular, she highlights the ambivalence regarding the nature of the Soviet family. On the one hand, in articles detailing the heroism of worker-mothers devoted to the their work, and by inference to the state, men are often completely absent: it is as if, Tartakovskaya argues, the state will not allow competition for female devotion from the side of men. But elsewhere, especially in the conservative paper Sovetskaya Rossiya, the model of the ‘traditional’ family, with a man at its head, is portrayed as the ideal to which all should aspire. The uncertainty regarding this question which Tartakovskaya highlights was not, as the other research conducted within the framework of the project reveals, confined to the pages of Soviet newspapers and has significant implications for gender relations in contemporary Russia. As far as the contemporary newspapers are concerned, the particular preoccupations of the Communist authorities - such as encouraging child bearing and heroism at work - are no longer evident, and neither is the assumption that the individual exists to serve the state in a way appropriate to her sex. But although the ideology of the past has apparently been replaced by a new pluralism, what has remained unchalleged are the patriarchal assumptions which underlay the preservation of ideas of innate sexual difference within Soviet ideology and society. Thus, instead of the peculiarly Soviet ‘state-patriarchal’ discourse of the past, Russians are now treated to a varied diet of patriarchal discourses: they have yet to taste the fruits of feminism.

Elena Omel’chenko’s work focuses on the portrayal of sexuality in contemporary youth magazines. Based on the analysis of two such publications - Om and Ptyuch - Omel’chenko’s research looks at the interaction of Western and Russian youth culture in the transition period. Both of the magazines she considers are strongly influenced by British youth culture and the representations of sexuality they contain are a million miles away from those which were sanctioned during the Soviet period. But although a distinctly new plurality has emerged in which, for example, homosexuality and androgeny are accepted and even celebrated, traditional assumptions are not directly challenged by the way in which such phenomena are presented as just one among a range of fashion accessories in a post-modern supermarket of style. Meanwhile, though some of the imported images and ideas serve to blur gender distinctions, others highlight them along conservative lines: for example, Omel’chenko identifies ‘Barbie-style’ as one of the main female fashions presented in the magazines. This analysis of the emerging youth culture of post-Communist Russia highlights the speed with which the limits of acceptability are being redefined, but also emphasises that the implications of this for youth culture are not clear cut.

Elena Meshcherkina’s focus is the redefinition of masculinity in contemporary Russian culture. Her main interest is in the new elite of ‘New Russian’ men, since the forms of masculine identity they are forging are likely to be influential in wider society. Meshcherkina has conducted a series of life history interviews with ‘New Russian’ men, through which she has sought to understand their attitudes to work, women, marriage and children. Her main finding is that New Russian men, liberated from the constraints of the Soviet past, are (re-)establishing patriarchal norms of behaviour. For example, the men she interviewed generally wanted their wives to stay at home, and had very traditional conceptions of the role of women. Moreover, several of them were effectively living as polygamists, retaining several families at the same time, and were proud of their ability to afford to be able to do so. These men do not play a role in child rearing, although a concern with inheritance seems to be increasing: a typical ambition is to ‘buy’ their children a future. The main continuity with the past is the identification of the domestic sphere as a female responsibility - which underlines the failure of the Soviet model of female emancipation to challenge male perceptions of ‘natural’ sexual difference. Indeed, New Russian men, who are one of the few groups of men in Russian society free to live as they choose, are rejecting the Soviet model of working womanhood with a vengeance: they want to be sole breadwinners; they want their women to be beautiful housewives, rather than the feisty factory workers of Soviet propaganda and they want to leave domestic organisation to women while maintaining, as their Soviet forebears failed to, their position as head of the family.

Sergei Kukhterin, meanwhile, has analysed changing attitudes towards fatherhood. While motherhood was glorified in the Soviet period, the role of fathers was accorded very little significance in official discourse. On a symbolic level the state arrogated to itself the role of father: it took responsibility for providing for women and their children. The role and status of men was thus defined by their work in the service of the state rather than by their position in the family. The old work-defined hierarchies of the past are being redefined during the transition from communism and as a result many men in formerly prestigious professions and sectors, such as miners and workers in heavy industry, have experienced a dramatic drop in status. But what of men’s position in the family and their role as fathers?

Khuterin has interviewed make and female representatives of three generations from four families as well as a selection of young fathers. He has noticed a distinct change in the conception of the role of fathers (if not a dramatic transformation of their behaviour) among those raised during the late Soviet and transition period. The older generation (born between 1909 and 1927) were socialised during a period when the ideal of what Khuterin terms the ‘state-man’ was emerging, and hence they have diverse conceptions of masculinity drawn both from Tsarist society and the new Bolshevik culture. The middle generation, however, unequivocally evaluate men in terms of their position in the service of the state - at work, in the army, in Party organisations - rather than their role in the family: among the men and women of this generation it is neither an ideal and nor was it common practice for men to assert themselves as heads of the family. By contrast, the man of the younger generation ‘is dreaming of being the head of the family’, while his attitude to work is more instrumental. Correspondingly, younger men are taking their responsibilities as fathers more seriously - they do see the need to spend time with their children in a way that was not the case in the past. Nevertheless, the home is still seen as a feminine domain to which men are primarily bound by duty rather than inclination. Thus, although the retreat of the state has been accompanied by a growing pressure on men to provide for and participate in the family, this has certainly not led to a transformation of their behaviour.


Research plans: Cultural and political consequences of the crisis of gender identity following the collapse of the Soviet system

Summary

The central hypothesis of the project is that the collapse of the Soviet system has had profound implications for the gender identity of both men and women in Russia. The project emphasises the distinctiveness of gender relations in the Soviet Union, in which the role of the traditional Russian patriarch was taken over by the Soviet state. The state defined gender roles not in relation to each other, but in relation to the state and the socialist future, men being assigned the role of workers, and Soviet women the role of worker-mothers.

The objective of the research is to formulate more precisely the changes in, and challenges to, male and female gender identities which are presented by the collapse of the Soviet state. It will do this using qualitative techniques such as life history interviews, focus groups, and content analysis of cultural representations.

A shared conception of the nature of the gender order established by the Soviet state has been elaborated in group discussion and all the individual research plans proceed from this analysis. Each researcher will examine a separate aspect of the changes set in train by the collapse of the Soviet state and the project as a whole will thus provide a multi-faceted analysis of the complex and often contradictory processes which are re-shaping gender relations and identity in the new Russia.

Moscow research team:

Olga Issoupova: ‘The social meaning of motherhood in the contemporary Russian transition’

This study looks at the changing meaning of motherhood during the transition from Communism. In order to highlight the social processes at work the study is divided into two parts:

  1. A historical analysis of the significance of motherhood in Russian and Soviet culture. This will highlight the dominant conceptions of motherhood in the Russian Orthodox tradition and in Russian literature, before moving on to examine the social construction of motherhood in the Soviet and particularly the Stalinist period. The study of this period will be focused on an analysis of the magazine Materinstvo i mladenchestvo (Motherhood and Infancy) in the years 1926 - 1941.
  2. In the early Soviet period, the Bolsheviks experimented with the idea of placing children under the direct guardianship of the state, thus appropriating the role of both parents. Problems such as the high mortality rate in state nursery institutions and concern over the ‘low quality’ of the future generation of labourers produced by such establishments, however, led the state authorities to reinstate motherhood as a legitimate institution. Nevertheless, the state appropriated the role of fathers claiming, ‘the woman-mother is under the direct protection and guardianship of the state’; ‘the father is not significant’. The mother thus became the mediator between the state and the child, with the father banished from the realm of child care. This model persisted for the whole of the Soviet period.
  3. In the post-Soviet period, the official attitude to motherhood is changing. It is increasingly being presented as a private affair rather than a service to the state recompensed through material and ideological support: the dominant refrain of contemporary professionals in the obstetric sphere is ‘only you need your child’. This shift in the official status of motherhood raises questions about the changing attitude of women themselves to their role as mothers. Issoupova will investigate this question through a series of deep interviews with mothers born between 1960 and 1970, focusing on the contrast between the small group of materi-otkaznitsy (women who give their children away at birth) with other types of mother. Since this is the group that deviates most strongly from the Soviet ideal of motherhood, analysis of their attitudes in relation to those of other groups will highlight the changes taking place in the meaning that women ascribe to motherhood. This study will also call into question the changing role of fathers in the post-communist period, since the existing statistical data on materi-otkaznitsy shows that mothers more often give up their children at birth because of lack of a husband or partner, than because of a lack of money, housing, the right to claim benefits or other such factors. Otkaznitsy very rarely claim that they never want to bring up their own children, but say that they want to do so in more favourable conditions.

 

Marina Kiblitskaya: Female breadwinners in Russia: The view through three generations

 

This project will analyse three generations of ‘female breadwinners’, who Kiblitskaya defines as either single women, women with dependents but no partner, or women who earn more than their partners. Kiblitskaya will conduct life history interviews with 30 women from three different generations, aiming to highlight changes in values, forms of career and family life among three very different types of breadwinner. Although each group is not ‘representative’ of its generation, the three types of female breadwinner have been carefully chosen to reflect certain key elements of the experience of the generation to which they belong.

The groups to be analysed are:

Sergei Kukhterin: Masculinity in Russia

Sergei Kukhterin’s project has both a historical and a contemporary compotent. He will examine conceptions of masculinity in Russian and Soviet history, drawing attention to those elements which have retained a relatively constant currency over time, as well as highlighting the changes which have occurred in the dominant forms of masculinity. For while in the Soviet period the state defined an official, homogenous form of masculinity in which the masculinity of individual men was defined by their position in the service of the state, alternative, ‘illegitimate’ forms of masculine identity, such as that of the criminal (ugolovnik), continued to exist. In the transition period this heterogeneity has become more pronounced: different patterns of masculinity are developing and hierarchies are being established between them.

In order to examine this process, Kukhterin will conduct 30 deep interviews with a wide range of Russian men. The interviews will deal with both their work and their family lives. Kukhterin’s aim is to analyse the way his respondent’s seek to define their masculine identity, and thus to determine which elements of the Soviet and earlier Russian constructions of masculinity are being incorporated into the new patterns of masculine identity. For example, the new ideal of the ‘mafia man’ obviously has some links with the romanticised conception of the ugolovnik in Soviet culture. He also plans to examine how his respondents’ ideals of masculine behaviour match up with their everyday practice, thus highlighting contradictions and possible sources of change or tension within different masculine identities.

Elena Meshcherkina

Ulyanovsk Research Team

Lena Omel’chenko: ‘Generational differences in systems of gender representations: Reactions to television advertising’

This study investigates the different, and often contradictory, forms of gender relations which co-exist in post-Soviet Russia, and aims:

The study will be based on an analysis of the reactions of different generations to gender representations in television advertising.

The study will use adverts shown on Russian TV in December 1996 and January 1997, divided into the three types: Western adverts, Western adverts adapted for Russian audiences and Russian adverts. Eight single-sex focus groups will be conducted, parallel groups of men and women from four generations:

The adverts chosen and the discussions following them will focus on issues of family roles, sexuality, and the meaning of a career and success for men and women.

Such discussions will not only highlight differences in male and female conceptions of gender roles, they will also help to identify the dynamics of change in the social construction of gender roles in the contemporary Russia. Western adverts often employ conceptions of gender which differ either subtly or starkly from Russian norms (or the norms of particular generations of Russians). These can produce strong reactions in viewers which reveal a great deal about their normative perceptions of gender roles. The convening of separate generational groups will thus identify the way in which younger Russians differ from older, more ‘Soviet’ Russians.

The discussions will not remain at the level of perceptions and attitudes, however. Respondents will also be encouraged to talk about their own ‘life practices’ and to employ examples from their own experience. Thus, the focus groups should also draw attention to gulfs or contradictions between norms and practice in the sphere of gender relations.

Irina Tartakovskaya: Constructions of Gender Roles in Russian Newspapers

This study will consider representations of masculinity and femininity in Russian newspapers. On the basis of a content analysis of a selection of contrasting popular newspapers, the study aims to:

The study will the consider newspapers’ treatment of a variety of themes such as the family, work, sexuality and so on, and the study will be organised around this set of central themes.

Tartakovskaya will examine the newspapers in three different periods (to be decided), and in this way will highlight shifts in the media’s preoccupations and ideas with regard to gender during the transition period.

Tartarkovskaya also hopes to run focus groups to analyse readers’ reactions to selected material.

 



INTAS 95 - 0290

Annual Report. December 1997

Title:

Cultural and political consequences of the crisis of gender identity following the collapse of the Soviet system.

RESEARCH ACTIVITIES

The research has been conducted over the first year of the project almost completely in accordance with the original work programme, as revised following the reduction in funding to drop the survey originally proposed and to concentrate on qualitative research. The first year has been devoted primarily to field work and the refinement of hypotheses, although most of the researchers were already in a position to report preliminary results by the end of the year. The second year of the project will be devoted to writing up the results, conducting supplementary fieldwork, and arranging and preparing the resulting papers for publication in Russian, German and English.

Sarah Ashwin, from Warwick, and Elena Meshcherkina, from Moscow, participated in a conference on gender issues at Bielefeld in December 1996, for which INTAS funding was not required, at which the grounding hypotheses and the first year’s work was planned in detail. This was followed by a seminar in Moscow attended by Simon Clarke, Sarah Ashwin and all of the Russian participants in the project later in December 1996 where the research methods were discussed in detail and the timetable for the research was confirmed. Further seminars were held in Moscow in July and December 1997, both attended by all the Russian participants, the former by Simon Clarke and Sarah Ashwin from Warwick, the latter by Simon Clarke and Marlen Stein-Hilbers from Bielefeld. At the July seminar participants presented their preliminary hypotheses and discussed their detailed fieldwork plans. At the December seminar half of the participants were able to present the first draft of their results in written form, the other half presenting oral reports as their basic fieldwork was still in progress. There will be a further seminar in Britain in February 1998, at which the participants will discuss in more detail the drafts of their final papers so that they can be presented in a consistent and coherent form for publication, allowance for which has been made from the first year’s budget.

In between the international seminars in Moscow, the Russian participants met in their regional groups and in Moscow on a regular basis to discuss the progress of their research. All the participants have communicated regularly by electronic mail. Most of the participants have also visited Britain and/or Germany in the course of the year, with other funding, where they have continued discussions with the EU partners.

The division of tasks and project management have been in accordance with the original work programme.

PROJECTED RESEARCH RESULTS

Each participant will write up his or her research in the form of a paper which can serve as a chapter in a book and/or can be published independently as a journal article. Negotiations with UCL Press for the publication of an English language book are in an advanced stage and we are confident that a contract will be signed in the near future. The papers for this book will be translated and edited by Sarah Ashwin, who will also write an introduction.

Bielefeld anticipates being able to arrange for the translation of at least some of the papers into German and is currently exploring the possibility of German publication either of the collection of papers in book form, or of a selection in independent journal articles.

The Making of Post-Soviet Men and Women: Gender Identity and the Collapse of the Soviet System

Sarah Ashwin (ed.)

Overview

This edited collection presents the findings of a collaborative research project investigating the implications of the collapse of the Soviet state for male and female gender identities. The starting point of the book is the idea that the Soviet state promoted and institutionalised a distinctive ‘gender order’, which is now being reformulated in the present period of rapid change. Although no coherent alternative model is being imposed from above, economic and political reforms have undermined the material and institutional basis of the gender relations and identities which comprised the Soviet gender order. The book analyses the changing character of these gender relations and identities as post-Soviet men and women respond to the transformation of their environment wrought by the collapse of communism.

The book comprises the individual studies of sociologists involved in a collaborative research project, which analyses different dimensions of the changes on the basis of qualitative research carried out over a period of two years. The introduction links the themes of the individual studies, setting them in a wider context and highlighting the general conclusions of the research group. Although the different chapters of the book are written by individual researchers, all the papers proceed from a jointly elaborated conception of the Soviet gender order (presented in the introduction) and all have been discussed at seminars of the research group - thus the book very much forms an integrated whole rather than a disparate selection of studies. As well as being informed by a distinct theoretical conception, the book also breaks new ground in considering the neglected issue men and masculinity in the Soviet and post-Soviet context.

The central feature of the Soviet gender order was that conceptions of masculinity and femininity were officially defined in terms of service to the Soviet state. In the case of women, their role was defined as worker-mothers who had a duty to work and to produce future generations of workers, in return for which the state replaced the individual man in the role of provider. Thus, masculinity became socialised and embodied in the Soviet state, the masculinity of individual men being officially defined by their position in the service of that state.

The collapse of the Soviet state has removed the institutional underpinning from the gender identities forged in the Soviet era. Women are no longer guaranteed work outside the home, while social benefits are being eroded and motherhood is being redefined as a private institution and responsibility. The corollary of this is that men are expected to reassume the traditional ‘male’ responsibilities which have now been abandoned by the state, but in a context in which real wages are falling and traditionally high-status male industries, such as mining, metallurgy and the military-industrial complex, have been particularly badly hit by the economic crisis.

The erosion of the material and institutional basis of old norms has been combined with a dramatic limitation of the prescriptive capacities and ambitions of the state in the post-communist era. This has enshrined a new pluralism in which competing visions of the desirable form of gender relations can be expressed, but the implications of this are far from clear cut. Many men and women, rather than feeling ‘liberated’ from the prescribed roles of the past, feel disoriented and depressed by the difficulty of living up to old norms within the new environment. Meanwhile, for those who do not mourn the passing of the ‘Soviet Way of Life’, liberation may have very different meanings: one of the features of the Soviet gender order, for example, was a pronounced difference between the values of women and those of men which may be expressed in a more acute form now that social life is no longer so strongly regulated by the authorities. This book aims to identify and analyse the key dynamics amid this diversity.

The analysis of the nature of the changes taking place is organised around three main themes. The first section at the book focuses on the institution of the ‘worker-mother’, examining both the nature of the model as prescribed and women’s subjective experience of fulfilling their dual duty to the state. This then forms the basis for an analysis of women’s responses to the changes of the transition era. Marina Kiblitskaya and Sarah Ashwin look at the issue of women’s employment in the post-communist era, while Olga Isupova examines motherhood in Soviet and post-Soviet Russia. In the second section, Elena Meshcherkina, Sergei Kukhterin and Marina Kiblitskaya consider the response of men to the collapse of the Soviet state, Meshcherkina focusing on ‘New Russian’ men, Kukhterin on the changing construction of fatherhood, and Kiblitskaya on the experience of men whose status is challenged by the loss of employment or a dramatic fall in earnings. In the third section, Irina Tartakovskaya and Elena Omel’chenko analyse the changes in media representations of gender now that the press is no longer required to promote the Soviet model of gender relations.

Chapter Outlines

Sarah Ashwin: Introduction

The introduction will present the research group’s conception of the Soviet gender order, and highlight the links between the findings of the individual researchers. It will also set the book in a comparative perspective, explaining the way in which the research relates to the wider literature on gender relations and identity.

Marina Kiblitskaya: Soviet and Post-Soviet Women Breadwinners

Kiblitskaya’s study is based on a series of life history interviews with three generations of female breadwinners. Although the stereotype of the male breadwinner persisted during the Soviet period, the vast majority of Soviet women worked. Moreover, although men generally earned more than women, Kiblitskaya’s research highlights the fact that it was often the woman’s wage which was crucial for the family: the fact that they took primary responsibility for the domestic sphere meant that, unlike men, they could be relied upon to contribute their wages to the family budget. Thus, women’s role within the family reinforced rather than detracted from the importance they attached to their paid work outside the home. Indeed, paradoxically, success as a provider was a more important component of women’s gender identity in the Soviet period than it was of men’s.

The chapter focuses on the changing values and motivation of the different generations of breadwinners, and the implications of the changes for the organisation of work and family life. On the basis of her interviews, Kiblitskaya characterises the generation of women who began their working lives in the Stalin era as ‘married to the state’: they neglected their personal lives in favour of serving the state through their work outside the home. Later generations of Soviet women placed more emphasis on their family lives, but work was still crucial to them as a means of providing for the family, as well as a form of self realisation and service to society. Kiblitskaya shows that women themselves subscribed to the idea that it was their duty to both run and provide for the household, and judged themselves and other women by this criterion. The ideal of matriarchal provision remains a major component of the modern Russian woman’s gender identity. Although Kiblitskaya sees modern women as ‘divorced from the state’ and ‘devoted to the family’, the importance of work in their lives has not declined because their earnings are even more vital for the survival of the family in the present period - a 1994 survey found 42% of women described themselves as the main breadwinner in their family The importance of Kiblitskaya’s work is that, unlike earlier studies of Soviet women, it focuses on the subjective perceptions of women and is therefore better able to explain their relationship to work and to the family, and, crucially, the nature of their response to the challenges of the transition period.

Olga Isupova: Motherhood: From Duty to Pleasure?

This chapter is divided into two sections. The first part consists of a historical analysis of the significance of motherhood in Soviet culture. This will briefly highlight the dominant conceptions of motherhood in the Russian Orthodox tradition and in Russian literature, before moving on to examine the social construction of motherhood in the Stalinist period. The study of this period will be focused on an analysis of the magazine Materinstvo i mladenchestvo (Motherhood and Infancy) in the years 1926 - 1941 which was a mouthpiece for official policy on motherhood in the period in question. The second half of the chapter considers the changes both in the official attitude to motherhood and the aspirations and expectations of women themselves.

In the early Soviet period, the Bolsheviks experimented with the idea of placing children under the direct guardianship of the state, thus appropriating the role of both parents. Problems such as the high mortality rate in state nursery institutions and concern over the ‘low quality’ of the future generation of labourers produced by such establishments, however, led the state authorities to reinstate motherhood as a legitimate institution. Nevertheless, the state symbolically and materially appropriated the role of father, something which was celebrated by writers in Materinstvo i mladenchestvo who triumphantly proclaimed that ‘the woman-mother is under the direct protection and guardianship of the state’ and that ‘the father is not significant’. The mother thus became the mediator between the state and the child, with the father banished from the realm of child care. This model persisted, with minor modifications, for the whole of the Soviet period.

In the post-Soviet period, the official attitude to motherhood is changing. It is increasingly being presented as a private affair rather than a service to the state recompensed through material and ideological support: the dominant refrain of contemporary professionals in the obstetric sphere is ‘only you need your child’. This shift in the official status of motherhood raises questions about the changing attitude of women themselves to their role as mothers. Isupova will investigate this question through a series of deep interviews with mothers born between 1960 and 1970, focusing on the contrast between the small group of materi-otkaznitsy (women who give their children away at birth, or refusnik mothers) with other types of mother. Since this is the group that deviates most strongly from the Soviet ideal of motherhood, analysis of their attitudes in relation to those of other groups will highlight the changes taking place in the meaning that women ascribe to motherhood. This study will also call into question the changing role of fathers in the post-communist period, since the existing statistical data on materi-otkaznitsy shows that mothers more often give up their children at birth because of lack of a husband or partner, than because of a lack of money, housing, the right to claim benefits or other such factors. Otkaznitsy very rarely claim that they never want to bring up their own children, but say that they want to do so in more favourable conditions.

Elena Meshcherkina: New Russians, Not So New Men

Elena Meshcherkina’s focus is the redefinition of masculinity in contemporary Russian culture. Her main interest is in the new elite of ‘New Russian’ men, since the forms of masculine identity they are forging are likely to be influential in wider society. Meshcherkina has conducted a series of life history interviews with ‘New Russian’ men through which she has sought to understand their attitudes to work, women, marriage and children. Her main finding is that New Russian men, liberated from the constraints of the Soviet past, are (re-)establishing patriarchal norms of behaviour. For example, the men she interviewed generally wanted their wives to stay at home, and had very traditional conceptions of the role of women. Moreover, several of them were effectively living as polygamists, retaining several families at the same time, and were proud of their ability to afford to be able to do so. These men do not play a role in child rearing, although a concern with inheritance seems to be increasing: a typical ambition is to ‘buy’ their children a future. The main continuity with the past is the identification of the domestic sphere as a female responsibility - which underlines the failure of the Soviet model of female emancipation to challenge male perceptions of ‘natural’ sexual difference. Indeed, New Russian men, who are one of the few groups of men in Russian society free to live as they choose, are rejecting the Soviet model of working womanhood with a vengeance: they want to be sole breadwinners; they want their women to be beautiful housewives, rather than the feisty factory workers of Soviet propaganda and they want to leave domestic organisation to women while retaining, as their Soviet forebears failed to, their position as head of the family.

Sergei Kukhterin: The Changing Construction of Fatherhood

This chapter considers changing attitudes towards fatherhood. While motherhood was glorified in the Soviet period, the role of fathers was accorded very little significance in official discourse. On a symbolic level the state arrogated to itself the role of father: it took responsibility for providing for women and their children. The role and status of men was thus defined by their work in the service of the state rather than by their position in the family. The old work-defined hierarchies of the past are being redefined during the transition from communism and as a result many men in formerly prestigious professions and sectors, such as miners and workers in heavy industry, have experienced a dramatic drop in status. But what of men’s position in the family and their role as fathers?

Kukhterin has interviewed male and female representatives of three generations from four families as well as a selection of young fathers. He has noticed a distinct change in the conception of the role of fathers (if not a dramatic transformation of their behaviour) among those raised during the late Soviet and transition period. The older generation (born between 1909 and 1927) were socialised during a period when the ideal of what Kukhterin terms the ‘state-man’ was emerging, and hence they have diverse conceptions of masculinity drawn both from Tsarist society and the new Bolshevik culture. The middle generation, however, unequivocally evaluate men in terms of their position in the service of the state - at work, in the army, in Party organisations - rather than their role in the family: among the men and women of this generation it is neither an ideal and nor was it common practice for men to assert themselves as heads of the family. By contrast, the man of the younger generation ‘is dreaming of being the head of the family’, while his attitude to work is more instrumental, reflecting the fact that the retreat of the state has been accompanied by a growing pressure on men to provide for the family. In addition to this, Kukhterin argues that younger men are taking their responsibilities as fathers more seriously and do see the need to spend time with their children in a way that was not the case in the past. Nevertheless, the home is still seen as a feminine domain to which men are primarily bound by duty rather than inclination: although the role of fathers may be changing, gender roles within the family remain strongly differentiated.

Marina Kiblitskaya: Once We Were Kings: Male Industrial Workers after the Fall of Communism

Kiblitskaya’s study of female breadwinners shows that women’s position at work and within the family pushes them to be flexible and resourceful when things get tough. Her study of male workers shows that men’s relationship to work and the family does exactly the opposite. Many men are very active in attempting to ensure the well-being of their families during the transition, and men are generally better placed than women to do so because they have access to more highly paid work and have more opportunity to gain well remunerated secondary employment. But in extreme circumstances the social role and position of men may induce paralysis rather than the frantic activity of women. Kiblitskaya argues that this is because men feel the need to provide for the family less keenly than women, and are more concerned with preserving their independence and status. While the women she studied were most concerned about their ability to obtain resources for their families, men who had fallen on hard times tended to be most troubled by the fact that they no longer had money in their own pockets. A very characteristic lament was that in the past ‘I lived like a king [Ya khodil korolem]’ whereas ‘now I don’t open my mouth’: that is, men regret the passing of the power and freedom that money gave them, and leave their wives to sort out how to make ends meet. Similarly, the fact that men are used to having access to well paid work of a reasonable status means that it is far more difficult for them to ‘stoop’ to the level that may be required to attain secondary employment or a new job after a period of unemployment. It seems that a significant proportion would rather retain the status as a former manager, miner, railway worker or whatever, than submit to the indignity of becoming a caretaker or having to take a ‘woman’s job’. Of course, as already noted, not all men behave in this way. But male defeatism is a noticeable feature of the transition which can be understood in relation to men’s position within the Soviet family and labour force.

 

Irina Tartakovskaya: The Construction of Gender Roles in Russian Newspapers

Irina Tartakovskaya’s study focuses on the construction of masculinity and femininity in Soviet and post-Soviet newspapers. She has taken three of the most significant Russian newspapers - Izvestia, Komsomol’skaya pravda and Sovetskaya Rossiya - and analysed the representation of gender in a parallel selection of issues in 1984 and 1997. While the state-controlled newspapers of 1984 confidently articulated Soviet ideas regarding the proper role of men and women in articles constructed as exemplars of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ behaviour, the material of the now pluralist press of 1997 reflects uncertainty about gender identity in post-Soviet Russia.

Tartakovskaya’s analysis of the 1984 papers highlights the main features of the Soviet approach to gender, but it also reveals the tensions within the official position. In particular, she highlights the ambivalence regarding the nature of the Soviet family. On the one hand, in articles detailing the heroism of worker-mothers devoted to the their work, and by inference to the state, men are often completely absent: it is as if, Tartakovskaya argues, the state will not allow competition for female devotion from the side of men. But elsewhere, especially in the conservative paper Sovetskaya Rossiya, the model of the ‘traditional’ family, with a man at its head, is portrayed as the ideal to which all should aspire. The uncertainty regarding this question which Tartakovskaya highlights was not, as the other research conducted within the framework of the project reveals, confined to the pages of Soviet newspapers and has significant implications for gender relations in contemporary Russia. As far as the contemporary newspapers are concerned, the particular preoccupations of the Communist authorities - such as encouraging child bearing and heroism at work - are no longer evident, and neither is the assumption that the individual exists to serve the state in a way appropriate to her sex. But although the ideology of the past has apparently been replaced by a new pluralism, what has remained unchalleged are the patriarchal assumptions which underlay the preservation of ideas of innate sexual difference within Soviet ideology and society. Thus, instead of the peculiarly Soviet ‘state-patriarchal’ discourse of the past, Russians are now treated to a varied diet of patriarchal discourses: they have yet to taste the fruits of feminism.

Elena Omel’chenko: Warriors on the Sexual Front: Gender and Sexuality in Contemporary Russian Youth Magazines

This chapter focuses on the portrayal of sexuality in contemporary youth magazines. Based on the analysis of two such publications - Om and Ptyuch - Omel’chenko’s research looks at the interaction of Western and Russian youth culture in the transition period. Both of the magazines she considers are strongly influenced by British youth culture and the representations of sexuality they contain are a million miles away from those which were sanctioned during the Soviet period. But although a distinctly new plurality has emerged in which, for example, homosexuality and androgeny are accepted and even celebrated, traditional assumptions are not directly challenged by the way in which such phenomena are presented as just one among a range of fashion accessories in a post-modern supermarket of style. Meanwhile, though some of the imported images and ideas serve to blur gender distinctions, others highlight them along conservative lines: for example, Omel’chenko identifies ‘Barbie-style’ as one of the main female fashions presented in the magazines. This analysis of the emerging youth culture of post-Communist Russia highlights the speed with which the limits of acceptability are being redefined, but also emphasises that the implications of this for youth culture are not clear cut.



INTAS 97 APPLICATION Gender Differences in Employment Strategies During Economic Transition in Russia

3. WORK PROGRAMME

3.1.1 Title

Gender Differences in Employment Strategies During Economic Transition in Russia

3.1.2 Objectives

3.1.3 Background and Justification

The aim of the research is to examine gender differences in employment strategies through longitudinal qualitative research which traces the labour market activity of specially selected groups of men and women through a consecutive series of deep interviews. The four groups chosen all have reasons to be mobile, and have contrasting ages and statuses: graduates from university and technical training institutes; applicants to the employment service; those in receipt of state benefits and those working for depressed enterprises and institutes. Following the progress of equal numbers of men and women from these groups over a three-year period will provide the basis for an analysis of the different factors, which shape the labour market behaviour of men and women during economic transition. Attention will be paid equally to objective and subjective factors — for example, the domestic division of labour is an ‘objective’ influence on employment behaviour, but it is also related to the ‘subjective’ factor of sex role expectations.

Most of the existing research on gender and employment in Russia has concentrated on the changing character of occupational segregation after the collapse of communism, with a heavy reliance on a limited range of official, and often somewhat dubious, statistical data and a small amount of survey research. This research focus has implied a concentration on the impact of the policy of the state and employers on individuals and a relative neglect of the role of men and women as active agents in the labour market. The proposed research will be innovative in applying established qualitative methods of sociological research to these issues and in focusing on the employment strategies of men and women as agents in the shaping the labour market.

Within the international literature on gender and employment the role of individual preferences has received increasing attention. Recent interest has been generated by the controversial arguments of Catherine Hakim, who emphasises the importance of the divergent choices made by men and women in explaining the persistence of occupational segregation and the pay gap across a contrasting range of societies. Hakim’s work has provoked debates regarding how far the behaviour of men and women in the labour market is still shaped by the different constraints that they face (in terms of domestic responsibilities, access to employment and so on), and how far it is determined by their divergent preferences. The proposed research into gender differences in employment strategies will therefore not only make an important contribution to our understanding of the gender dynamics of employment restructuring in Russia which will assist policy formation, but will also feed into on-going debates regarding the way in which gender influences behaviour in the labour market by providing a broader comparative perspective, in particular comparing the experience of Russia with the contrasting experiences of Britain and Germany, including former East Germany.

All of the collaborators in the project have been working on various aspects of these problems for a number of years, have published in the field, and most have worked together within the framework of INTAS and other projects involving research on employment, on the one hand, and aspects of gender identity, on the other. The proposed project builds on past research results to bring together these two different strands. The particular contribution of each group is defined by their specialist interests and experience. The Syktyvkar group specialises in research in poverty and the labour market; the Samara group specialises in research on local labour market institutions; the Ulyanovsk group specialises in the study of youth and the Moscow group on enterprise case studies. The specific contributions of Dr. Sarah Ashwin and Dr. Birgit Pfau-Effinger to the project will be to develop the comparative dimension of the research indicated above. Dr Ashwin has conducted extensive research on gender dimensions of employment in Russia, while the Bremen group and Dr Ashwin’s colleagues at LSE have extensive experience of comparative research in the field.

As far as the implications for our understanding of gender and employment in contemporary Russia are concerned, the research aims to provide answers to a number of questions. First, contrary to the expectations of both policy makers and academic commentators, the unemployment associated with structural adjustment has not become primarily a women’s problem. Indeed, there are more unemployed men than women, while economic inactivity rates for men and women do not differ significantly after controlling for age. There is ample evidence that women face extensive discrimination in the labour market, while much of the apparatus that protected women’s rights has been dismantled. It is therefore clear that it has been the women’s own employment strategies that have been crucial in allowing them to remain in work. This project will identify these strategies, and examine the main factors which influence women’s behaviour within the labour market. Particular attention will be paid to the interaction between the role of women within the household and their employment strategies since there is evidence that the primary responsibility which women assume for the survival of their households in Russia actually promotes their active participation in the labour market.

Secondly, the project will examine the employment strategies of men and aim to identify different types of male behaviour. For, while large numbers of men are clearly active in their pursuit of opportunities and income, certain groups of men are experiencing serious difficulties in adjusting to the uncertainty of the post-Soviet environment and it will be important to explain the differences between these groups. The examination of men will also ensure that the behaviour of women will not be contrasted with an assumed male norm, but with the actual behaviour of men. Male behaviour in the labour market has generally not been considered from a gendered perspective, and thus the ways in which the key determinants of women’s behaviour differ from those of men are inadequately understood with regard to Russia and other societies. Since the literature on gender and employment has a tendency to formulate propositions which are either implicitly or explicitly universalistic, this investigation into male behaviour will make an important contribution to the wider literature.

Thirdly, the research will analyse generational differences in men’s and women’s employment strategies. The groups chosen for examination span different age groups (for example, students finishing courses and those working in depressed enterprises), and within the different groups respondents will be stratified by age. One important question that the research will consider is whether younger women who have not been inculcated with the Soviet work ethic have a lower, or more instrumental, commitment to work than older women. But again the behaviour and attitudes of these young women will not be compared with an assumed male norm of commitment and activity, but with the actual behaviour and attitudes of young men.

Work on gender as a factor in labour market behaviour tends either to emphasise the different structural constraints faced by men and women, or to stress the role of individual preferences. It is our hypothesis that this dichotomy between structure and agency is misconceived. Rather, research needs to highlight the interaction between individuals and their environment: the external environment both constrains and shapes the aspirations of individuals, while this environment is also transformed by the activity of individuals. Russia is in a period of rapid change in which old norms are being challenged, established institutions reformed or destroyed and state policy transformed. Conducting longitudinal research in this environment provides a unique opportunity to examine a complex series of inter-relations. In particular, the research will analyse the way in which not only state and employer policy and provision, but also changing conceptions of gender roles, influence the behaviour of men and women. It is our hypothesis that male and female employment strategies are not shaped by stable sex-specific preferences, but by gender roles which are socially defined and hence mutable; conducting research in a society in flux provides an excellent opportunity to examine this. Similarly, the labour market itself is a dynamic entity and the research will provide an indication of the way in which the employment strategies of men and women are shaping its evolution in Russia.

 

3.1.4 Scientific and Technical Description

3.1.4.1 Research Programme

The core of the research programme will be a series of deep interviews conducted at six-monthly intervals over the period of the project with respondents who are active in the labour market at the beginning of the research. The activism of these individuals is defined by their location at certain fixed and specific points in their work histories. These will be new entrants to the labour market, graduating from a university and a technical training institute; those confronting the labour market involuntarily as a result of the acute financial difficulties of their employer; those who are unemployed and seeking work through the employment service and those whose incomes are so low that they are applicants for social assistance.

The purpose of the research is to relate the aspirations, intentions and expectations of those who are on the margins of employment or who are actively seeking employment at the beginning of the research to the subsequent labour market outcomes, in particular the experience of employment and, if appropriate, subsequent job changes and periods of unemployment. These differences will be related to gender, age, educational qualifications, initial labour market situation, initial aspirations and orientations, and household structure to assess the typologies proposed by Hakim and others and to develop a typology specific to the Russian experience as a basis for cross-cultural comparison.

The appropriate methodology for such a project is the method of repeated semi-structured deep interviews, which make it possible to explore subjective orientations and to establish complex relationships, using a carefully structured interview guide to ensure that all respondents cover the same ground. This method is very time consuming so that, with limited resources, it is possible to interview only a relatively small number of respondents, making it impossible to aspire to a representative sample. For this reason the respondents will be selected purposively, with each local group focusing on the study of a particular category of respondents and then selecting individuals for interview to ensure that they are diversified in terms of the key variables (as appropriate) of gender, age, educational level, employment history and household situation.

The focus of the interviews will develop over time as the project unfolds. The first interview will be oriented primarily to the current employment orientation and labour market strategy of the respondent; and the following interviews primarily to subsequent experience of the labour market and, where appropriate, employment, in order to identify factors underlying further labour market activity, which will be related to the demographic, subjective and social structural factors indicated above. One particularly important issue to explore over the second year of the project is the distinction between what have been called ‘stickers’ and ‘movers’ - those who find a job and stay in it and those who repeatedly change their jobs, a distinction which appears to be very sharp in Russia, where at least one in two new employees quit within a year.

Each of the Russian research teams will be responsible for the selection, interviewing and monitoring of a particular group of respondents within the project according to a common schedule. The division of types of respondent between the teams will be:

All of the chosen groups of respondents have reasons for mobility within the labour market, although whether and why their situation induces activity is one of the issues that the research will address. In order to trace the evolving employment strategies in the different groups the following procedure will be adopted by all teams.

Selecting and Initial Interviewing of Respondents

The first stage of the research will involve the formulation of the interview guide and selection of respondents over the first three months of the project. The interview guide will be formulated at a meeting of all the participants in the project to be held in the first month. It will then be piloted by each group and amendments discussed via electronic mail to devise a final version.

Respondents will be selected by conducting a two-stage selection process. In the first stage the whole of the relevant cohort will be asked to complete a short questionnaire covering socio-demographic characteristics and employment status, and including a question about willingness to participate in the project. On the basis of this initial survey, equal numbers of men and women will be selected within each category and respondents will be stratified according to the relevant variables indicated above. Each team will select a total of 60 respondents. In the case of the Moscow and Ul’yanovsk teams these will be equally divided between the sub-groups (depressed enterprise and institution; university and technical training college).

The first interview with each respondent will be detailed and semi-structured, and will proceed according to a common interview guide. The aim of the first interview is to obtain a work and personal history of the respondent and an account of their future employment plans. It is anticipated that the first interview will take a minimum of one hour, but in most cases will be considerably longer and may extend over a series of meetings. It is expected that the process of interviewing will take place over a period of three months. All interviews will be tape recorded. Each participant will produce typed transcripts of all interviews, which will be circulated among the research teams. Each group will be responsible for preparing brief research reports on their findings after each stage of interviewing.

The Research Cycle

After the first round of interviews all of the participants in the project will meet to consider the research reports and findings at the end of the first stage and to define research priorities for the interviews at the next stage of the project. These priorities will be embodied in an interview guide to be used for the next round of interviews. This will necessarily be more open-ended than the guide for the first round.

All respondents will be contacted and interviewed every six months. These follow-up interviews will examine the evolving work histories and strategies of the respondents: whether they were able to realise any plans they had; which factors promoted or inhibited this; any unexpected changes in their employment; changes in their expectations or aspirations and so on. The aim of these interviews is to chart the way in which different factors (such as domestic responsibilities and employment opportunities) influence the labour market behaviour of men and women. This will provide the basis for the evaluation of the nature of gender differences in employment strategy.

The cycle will be continued through four rounds of interviews, which we would expect to extend over a period of approximately two years. Allowing for delays, this will leave approximately six months to concentrate on final data analysis, the preparation and presentation of research reports and dissemination of findings.

Data Analysis

Data analysis will be continuous throughout the project, based on the circulation of interview transcripts and regular research reports and the presentation of preliminary hypotheses to the regular research seminars to be held in Moscow. Thematic issues for analysis will be defined which cut across the specific group foci, and particular individuals will take responsibility for preparing research reports and scientific papers on their chosen themes. The UK and German teams will base their own contributions on these thematic papers, reviewing the relevant literature and providing comparative theoretical, methodological and substantive inputs to locate the project within a comparative framework.

Sarah Ashwin will be responsible for overseeing and co-ordinating the preparation of the conclusions of the project, which will be developed on a collaborative basis, and for editing scientific papers for English language publication.

Management and Co-operation

Sarah Ashwin already has considerable experience of project management, having worked for two years co-ordinating the activities of the ICFTU in Central and Eastern Europe before resuming her academic career. She has specific experience of managing an INTAS project, having been responsible for the academic management and co-ordination of the INTAS-95 project co-ordinated by Professor Simon Clarke. Sarah Ashwin will take overall responsibility for the administration and co-ordination of the project, working closely with Svetlana Yaroshenko who will be the Principal Investigator responsible for academic co-ordination in Russia. Birgit Pfau-Effinger will maintain communications with other European researchers on the basis of her extensive networks with researchers in the field. Olga Issoupova will be responsible for making arrangements for the conduct of seminars in Moscow.

Co-operation between the teams will be fostered through seminars convened in Russia every six months. These will take place after each successive stage of interviewing has been completed and the reports produced. The meetings will elaborate collective hypotheses, discuss the interview schedules and results and formulate research tasks for the subsequent phase of research.

An initial seminar will be held before fieldwork begins to formulate the first interview guide, discuss the selection of respondents and determine a common approach to the conduct and recording of interviews.

In addition to this the teams will be in regular e-mail contact.

Risks

The main risk involved in the project is of respondents dropping out. In calculating the number of interviews required a 30 per cent drop out rate has been allowed for. All of the participants are highly committed to the research and to remaining in Russia so we do not expect any drop-out of researchers. In such an eventuality we will have no trouble finding replacements

 

Research Programme: Summary Work Programme

 

Team involved Task Objective Inputs Outputs Schedule Methodologies Evaluation criteria
All Russian groups Selection of respondents To select appropriate respondents Labour, paper etc. Stratified Sample of respondents First three months Questionnaire survey Selection of 60 respondents in each region
All Preparation of interview guide To prepare a guide to be used for each round of deep interviews Labour, travel and subsistence to Moscow, email Interview guides for each round of interviews Meetings in first month, ninth month, then every six months Review of results, discussion of drafts Preparation of interview guides
All Russian groups Conduct of deep interviews To conduct deep interviews with a panel of 240 respondents every six months Labour, cassettes and recorders Recorded deep interviews with panel of 240 respondents (160 expected to remain by end of fourth round) Six-monthly cycle from months 3 to 27 Semi-structured deep interviews Completion of interviews on schedule (160 expected to remain by end of the project)
All Russian groups Transcription of interviews and reports To transcribe interviews and prepare and circulate six-monthly summary reports Labour, Computers, email Transcripts and reports of deep interviews Six-monthly cycle from months 3 to 27 Transcription Preparation and circulation of transcripts and reports
All Analysis of results, development of hypotheses, preparation of thematic papers To produce a series of thematic scholarly papers reporting and analysing the results of the research Labour, travel and subsistence, email Scholarly papers for publication in Russian, English and possibly German Continuous process from ninth month, with six-monthly meetings and email contact Qualitative data analysis; comparative methodology. Preparation, dissemination and publication of scientific papers and possibly a final book

 

3.1.4.2 Research results

Results will be disseminated through academic publications and conference papers.

3.1.5 Management Information

The proposed project has developed out of a convergence of the research interests of a number of individuals who have been involved in two previous INTAS-sponsored research projects, both co-ordinated by Professor Simon Clarke at the University of Warwick and involving German collaborators at Bremen and Bielefeld respectively. The first was a project on ‘The Restructuring of Management and Industrial Relations in Russia’ (INTAS93-1227 and extension), which was completed in April 1997. The second was on ‘Cultural and Political Consequences of the Crisis of Gender Identity following the Collapse of the Soviet System’ (INTAS95-290), which will be completed in December 1998. Dr Ashwin was centrally involved in both of these projects as a core member of the Warwick research team before she moved to her present post at the London School of Economics. Contact was first established with Dr Pfau-Effinger at a conference at Bielefeld in December 1996, attended by a number of participants in the previous INTAS project, and the present proposal has developed out of subsequent discussions. Although the theme has developed out of previous collaboration, the present proposal is quite distinct from both of the previous projects in its focus, personnel and collaborating institutions. However, the experience of previous collaboration has established the basis of trust and co-operative methods of work which is essential for successful joint research.

The proposed research has been discussed between the participants at meetings in Russia and Britain over the past few months, with further e-mail communication. It is a fully collaborative project, but with a division of tasks between the groups to reflect their areas of expertise, interests and research experience as described in 3.1.5.1.

Dr Sarah Ashwin will be responsible for the overall administration of the project, in close collaboration with Dr Svetlana Yaroshenko, who will be responsible for the academic co-ordination of the research programme in Russia. Each team will be responsible for the administration of its own finances, reporting to Sarah Ashwin on expenditure. Most of the participants know each other well and have long experience of collaborating in joint research projects on an egalitarian basis, so it is expected that the principal role of the co-ordinator and principal investigator will be to maintain co-ordination. Regular communications will be maintained between all the groups by electronic mail and by regular six-monthly meetings of the whole project.

3.1.6 Scientific References

London School of Economics

S. Ashwin, Forms of Collectivity in a Non-Monetary Society, Sociology, 30, 1, Feb. 1996, pp. 21-39.

S. Ashwin and E. Bowers, (1997) Do Russian Women Want to Work? in M. Buckley (ed.) Post-Soviet Women, Cambridge University Press, pp. 21-37.

S. Ashwin, Endless Patience: Explaining Soviet and Post-Soviet Social Stability, Journal of Communist and Post-Communist Studies, June 1998, in press.

S. Ashwin, Redefining the Collective: Russian Mineworkers in Transition, in Michael Burawoy and Katherine Verdery, eds, Ethnographies of Transition, Rowan and Littlefield, in press, 1998.

S. Ashwin, Russia's Saviours? Women Workers in Russia during the Transition from Communism, d in Mike Neary (ed.) Global Humanisation: Studies in the Manufacture of Labour, Mansell, in press, 1998.

Bremen

Birgit Pfau-Effinger, Erwerbsverlauf und Risiko, Weinheim, 1990

Birgit Pfau-Effinger, Modernisation, Culture and Part-time Employment: The Example of Finland and Germany, Work Employment and Society, 3, 1993.

Birgit Pfau-Effinger, Analyse Internationaler Differenzen in der Erwerbsbeteiligung von Frauen – theoretischer Rahmen und empirische Ergebnisse, Kolner Zeitschrift fur Soziologie, 3, 1996.

Birgit Pfau-Effinger, Gender Cultures and the Gender Arrangement – a theoretical framework for cross-national comparisons on gender, Innovation, 1, 1998.

Birgit Pfau-Effinger, (et al. eds), FrauenArbeitsMarkt. Der Beitrag der Frauenforschung zur soziokonomischen Theorieentwicklung, Berlin, Sigma, 1998.

Moscow

Marina Kiblitskaya, 1997, 'Russkii chastnyi biznes: vzglyad iznutri', Rubezh, 10-11.

Marina Kiblitskaya, 1995, We Didn't Make the Plan, in Simon Clarke, ed, Management and Industry in Russia, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham.

Olga Issoupova, Brutman, Rodionova and Varga: The Case of Ludmila K.: an attempt at comparative interdisciplinary investigation, Questions of Psychology, 1997, N3, Moscow (in Russian)

Olga Issoupova, Telephone interviews from the point of view of survey organiser, Sociology-4M, N 5-6, 1996, Moscow (in Russian)

Olga Issoupova, Symbolic Representations about Gender Roles in Contemporary Russian Society, Working papers of Central European University, Prague, 1995 (in English)

Syktyvkar

Marina Ilyina, 1996, Foremen: An ethnographic study, in Labour Relations in Transition.

Marina Ilyina and Vladimir Ilyin, 1996, On the Buses, in The Russian Enterprise in Transition.

Svetlana Yaroshenko, 1996, 'Teoreticheskie modeli bednosti', Rubezh, 8-9, 124-140.

Svetlana Yaroshenko, 1994, Conceptual approaches to the study of social inequality. Syktyvkar. Rubezh. ? 6-7.

Svetlana Yaroshenko, Syndrome of poverty. Moscow. Journal of sociology, ? 2, 1994.

Samara

Irina Kozina, 1997, Osobennosti strategii case-study pri izuchenii proizvodstvennykh otnoshenii na promyshlennykh predpriyatiyakh Rossii', in Predpriyatie i rynok: dinamika upravleniya i trudovykh otnoshenii v perekhodnyi period, Veronika Kabalina ed., Moscow

Irina Kozina, 1996. 'Kak segodnya nakhodyat rabotu', Chelovek i trud. N 12. pp.33-35.

Irina Kozina, 1996, Changes in the social organisation of industrial enterprises, in Labour Relations in Transition.

Irina Tartakovskaya, 1996, Women's Careers in Industry, in Hilary Pilkington, ed. Gender, Generation and Identity in Contemporary Russia. London, Routledge.

Lena Lapshova and Irina Tartakovskaya, 1995, The Position of Women in Production, in Management and Industry in Russia.

Ulyanovsk

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4. Summary

4.1 Title

Gender Differences in Employment Strategies During Economic Transition in Russia

4.2 Summary

The proposed project has developed out of a convergence of the research interests of a number of individuals, most of whom have been involved in two previous INTAS-sponsored research projects, one on labour and employment and the other on gender identity. The present proposal is quite distinct from both of the previous projects in its focus, personnel and collaborating institutions, but the experience of previous collaboration has established the basis of trust and co-operative methods of work which is essential for successful joint research.

The aim of the research is to examine gender differences in employment strategies through longitudinal qualitative research which traces the labour market activity of specially selected groups of men and women through a consecutive series of deep interviews. The method of repeated semi-structured deep interviews enables us to explore subjective orientations and to establish complex relationships, using a carefully structured interview guide to ensure that all respondents cover the same ground. The groups selected for study will be defined by a series of distinct labour market transitions at the beginning of the research: new entrants to the labour market, graduating from a university and a technical training institute; those confronting the labour market involuntarily as a result of the acute financial difficulties of their employer; those who are unemployed and seeking work through the employment service and those whose incomes are so low that they are applicants for social assistance. Following the progress of equal numbers of men and women from these groups over a three-year period will provide the basis for an analysis of the different factors which shape the labour market behaviour of men and women during economic transition. Attention will be paid equally to objective and subjective factors — for example, the domestic division of labour is an ‘objective’ influence on employment behaviour, but it is also related to the ‘subjective’ factor of sex role expectations.

The purpose of the research is to relate the aspirations, intentions and expectations of those who are on the margins of employment or who are actively seeking employment at the beginning of the research to the subsequent labour market outcomes, in particular the experience of employment and, if appropriate, subsequent job changes and periods of unemployment. These differences will be related to gender, age, educational qualifications, initial labour market situation, initial aspirations and orientations, and household structure to assess existing typologies and to develop a typology specific to the Russian experience as a basis for cross-cultural comparison. It is our hypothesis that male and female employment strategies are not shaped by stable sex-specific preferences, but by gender roles which are socially defined and hence mutable; conducting research in a society in flux provides an excellent opportunity to examine this. Similarly, the labour market itself is a dynamic entity and the research will provide an indication of the way in which the employment strategies of men and women are shaping its evolution in Russia.

The proposed research will be innovative in applying established qualitative methods of sociological research to these issues and in focusing on the employment strategies of men and women not simply as the victims of structural change but also as active agents in the shaping the labour market. The research will not only make an important contribution to our understanding of the gender dynamics of employment restructuring in Russia, which will assist policy formation in the area, but will also feed into on-going debates among EU scholars regarding the way in which gender influences behaviour in the labour market by providing a broader comparative perspective.