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Federal Center of Theoretical and Applied Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences
The article studies several trends in the development of marital and familial relationships in Russia as compared to the rest of the world, and defines the specific features of starting a family in today’s Russia. The analysis of data derived from several regional surveys among students shows that, unlike the Soviet generation, the new generation of Russians treats marriage as a rational and conscious decision; this is especially true of young people with a college education. Moreover, the age at first marriage steadily grows higher and higher with every year, among both men and women. The article draws upon the results of a survey among sociology students from Moscow, as well as those from two universities in another Russian region, which were carried out by the Institute of Sociology of the Russian Academy of Science (Familial Sociology Sector) in 2015. The main purpose of the survey was to study and compare the way students from Moscow and the Volga Federal District perceive the notions of family and gender; it was conducted, among other reasons, for teaching purposes. Most of the data was gathered by means of questionnaires, which the respondents filled in anonymously, as well as during face-to-face interviews with students from the Russian capital. The analysis of the way sociology students perceive the concept of family reveals that for the vast majority of respondents, family is first and foremost a psychological value, which implies deep affection, but not necessarily relations by blood. The respondents stress mutual support, especially in moral and financial matters, irrespective of whether or not family members live under one roof. What is more, the students do not necessarily put a sign of equality between having a family and having children, and nor do they believe that a family presupposes a certain structure. As for gender, this concept (with very few exceptions) is not fully understood by students, even those who major in sociology. The conflicts between students and their parents mostly stem from the disparity between the values of the Soviet generation (parents) and the post-Soviet generation (students). Conflicts mostly arise between mothers and daughters and between fathers and sons.
starting a family, sociology students, family, gender, parents, concept.