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Federal Center of Theoretical and Applied Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences
This article is dedicated to certain important milestones in the history of IS RAS’ “Sociology of Management and Social Technologies Center’s” staff developing a bespoke approach to researching such an issue as reforming the current vertical government power structure within the context of regional socio-cultural modernization. Everyone is aware of the general structural requirements for empirical research programs, whether they are for highlighting an issue, a subject, for putting forward hypotheses, or for developing methods of verifying the latter. However, it isn’t often that anyone publishes information regarding the process of a group of scientists searching for a suitable theoretical-methodological approach towards a complex social issue. We initiated such a task over ten years ago. So far it has undergone a few stages: 1) a dedicated conference under the authority of the Russian Society of Sociologists, where such a matter as the problem with developing social strategies in regional development was discussed; 2) another conference three years later, dedicated to establishing and discussing such an issue as modernizing regional development, as well as the vertical government power structure’s role in this process; 3) developing the toolset for mass surveys in the form of “civic examination”, and using the latter based on the example of four regions, while including in the evaluation of their development criteria for socio-cultural modernization; 4) carrying out research in twelve Russian regions throughout the years 2015-2017, based on the first three stages, and with support from a Russian Science Foundation grant. According to the application for said grant, this issue is to be considered a prioritized area for developing critical technologies (presidential order number 899 from July 7th 2011). The relevance of such research is defined specifically by the fact that, given conditions where the geopolitical situation is escalating, a need for developing strategic solutions has risen on both interior and exterior fronts. Special significance is gained by new knowledge concerning opportunities for regulating relations between government and society from the position of the “social contract” theory, which demands a timely and suitable reaction to newfound circumstances. Starting a proactive reform of the vertical government power structure can serve as an answer to new challenges and threats, which must be preceded by an array of coordinated interdisciplinary studies. Our research was conducted within the subject domain of such a discipline as management sociology. Meanwhile we come from the fact that, among the circumstances which have brought our country to the brink of disaster multiple times, certain symptoms can be observed which can and should be established and explicated in a timely manner using sociological methods.
society and power, external and internal challenges, the problem of reforming of the management system, power-management vertical, theoretical and methodological approach, socio-cultural modernization of the regions, the research program, stages of development of the research program
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