Soviet Society under Perestroika

By David Lane | Go to book overview

Chapter 5

THE CHANGING SOCIAL STRUCTURE

The developments that have occurred under the leadership of Gorbachev reflect major social changes in the USSR, resulting in a social structure that is qualitatively different from that ruled by Stalin and Khrushchev. Gorbachev should be considered not as changing society from the top, instead the changes taking place during his leadership should be viewed as a result of new social groups and interests that have developed in the past thirty years. The USSR is now a modern society comparable in many respects to the advanced nations of the West. The expectations of the population of both systems are alike and industrialism and urbanism have led to similar problems in capitalist and state socialist society.

By the term social structure we mean an array of positions or statuses, the conditions that shape them, and a network of relationships between people and groups. Statuses give rise to patterns of behavior, to norms and expectations; they are foci that give people a sense of social and individual identity. Statuses include occupations and social groups that may be divided into many categories, such as sex and age, urban and rural, ethnic and religious, white collar and blue collar, professional and peasant.

One of the important tasks of sociologists is to delineate the salient groups in the social structure. In the chapters that follow we shall consider the changing balance of urban and rural divisions, occupational and educational differences, age and gender differentiation, and the rise of ethnic and national consciousness.

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Soviet Society under Perestroika
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • List of Tables ix
  • List of Figures xi
  • Preface xiii
  • Chapter 1 - Changing Conceptions of Soviet Society 1
  • Part One - The Political and Economic Framework 21
  • Chapter 2 - Khozraschet 23
  • Chapter 3 - Demokratizatsiya 57
  • Chapter 4 - Plyuralizm 107
  • Part Two - Social Classes and Groups 145
  • Chapter 5 - The Changing Social Structure 147
  • Chapter 6 - Nationalities and Ethnic Relations 185
  • Chapter 7 - Reproducing Society 251
  • Part Three - Social Control 287
  • Chapter 8 - Forming the Soviet Person 289
  • Chapter 9 - Glasnost’ 315
  • Chapter 10 - The State of Welfare 335
  • Part Four - Conclusions 373
  • Chapter 11 - Perestroika 375
  • Appendix - The Constitution (Fundamental Law) of the USSR, 1977. (As Amended to December 1990) 393
  • About the Author 433
  • Index 434
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