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Federal Center of Theoretical and Applied Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences
This article analyzes the possibilities for consolidating local communities, the term referring to those who live in different municipal formations, ranging from a rural settlement to a city district. Evidence is brought forth to support the notion that the need for consolidation is defined by the purpose of local community reproduction, together with increasing its competitive capacity. Consolidation is seen as the process and result of inhabitants reaching an agreement with one another, establishing relations based on mutual trust and cooperation in conditions where social differentiation indeed exists. The practice of implementing a “Strategy for creating a regional solidary society” in Belgorodskaya province during the course of the last five years is used as a basis to prove that the consolidation of a society begins specifically on a local level with the establishment of trustful relations within a neighborhood/family territorial commune. What kick-starts the consolidation process on a local level appears to be the phenomenon of solidarity as a mass-consciousness guideline. This includes three interconnected principles: first of all – the intention to act according to what is fair; second – loyalty, which in itself is, according to T. Parsons, the willingness to react to a properly “justified” call made on behalf of the group, or in the name of social interests or necessity; third – the voluntary willingness and ability to take responsibility for your actions in accordance to legal and moral standards. Analyzing the results of the monitoring study “Evaluating the effectiveness of implementing the “Strategy for creating a regional solidary society”, which was conducted in the region from September to October 2015 by the social technology department of the Belgorod State National Research University (n = 1000 respondents, multi-stage and quota sampling), has shown that diminishing possibilities for consolidation on a local level have to do not only with social differentiation in municipal formations, but also with a significant proportion of values such as fairness and loyalty being discredited in the minds of the populace, together with a low level of institutional and interpersonal trust.
local community, municipal formation, municipal authority, solidarity, fairness, social conjunction, social disjunction, consolidation, loyalty
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