Release:2017, Vol. 3. №4
About the author:Elena O. Smoleva, Research Associate, Department of Living Standard and Lifestyle Studies, Vologda Research Center of the RAS; firstname.lastname@example.org
This article deals with the problem of social vulnerability and how it is reflected in the views of the Russian society and groups living in these conditions. Social vulnerability is discussed in the context of the restriction of rights in the labor sphere and relationships between individuals, social groups and society. This study aims at analyzing public attitudes towards disabled people, pensioners, large families, single mothers, young specialists. The methods include sociological survey of the population of the North-West Federal District (the sample value is 3,101 people; sampling error does not exceed 3%). The opinion of the Russians and representatives of the studied groups coincides, while the representatives of groups with the exception of young specialists more frequently note their vulnerability. The analysis shows the citizens do not experience the sense of protection from age and gender harassment, as well as from the arbitrariness of the officials. All the studied categories feel insecure towards poverty. The representatives of socially vulnerable categories more frequently face problems with work (job loss and employment refusal) because of their social status, whereas people with disabilities consider themselves the least protected. This situation can be explained by the public policy and social attitudes. The majority of the population believes that socially vulnerable groups need help; yet, only about 10% of them speak of this issue. It corresponds to the external locus of control of socially vulnerable people experiencing hardships. Today, in Russia, despite the predominance of paternalistic discourse, there is a lack of effective mechanisms to overcome the infringement of the labor rights of socially vulnerable groups. In the society, there is a division into “us” and “them” from the perspective of social vulnerability, yet, there is no evidence that the former create groups in order to protect their rights.