Living on Debt: Social Meaning of Debt in the Communal life in Russia. Research Grant: PSTGU

Duration of the project: 2014-2015

Project coordinator: Greg Yudin

Research team: Nikolay Emelyanov, Dana Assalauova, Polina Vrublevskaya, Ivan Zabaev, Vladimir Kartavtsev, Daria Oreshina, Ivan Pavlyutkin


About the project
Main objective of current project consists in providing an account of how debt relationships are embedded in communities, how ordinary communal life is changed by debt practices and establish the potential of communities in resisting the unrestrained growth of debts. The project concentrates on the social meaning of debt and its place in everyday life in communities.
This project combines theoretical and empirical research. Theoretical stage is aimed at synthesizing approaches to debt in different fields in order to attain new understanding of the role of debt in communal life. The design of empirical research enables us, firstly, to estimate the influence of involvement in communal life on debt burden and everyday debt practices, and secondly, to reveal the meaning of debt relationships for/within such important forms of collective life in Russia as local communities and parishes.

Fieldwork was completed in 2014, September. Empirical data include 108 in-depth interviews with representatives of local communities and parishes in Ryazanskaya and Arkhangelskaya regions.
Research results publication is planned for 2015.

Relevant publications

Emelyanov Nikolay, Yudin Greg. 2018. "Structural Position of the Priest in Gift-Exchange Systems." Russian Sociological Review, 17 (3): 9-29.

Pavlyutkin Ivan, Yudin Greg. 2016. "Anthropology of calculator." NAUFOR , 9.

Pavlyutkin Ivan. 2016. "Decent Life and Independence: The Formation of (Ir)responsible Borrowers." Presentation for International financial Center, Moscow.

Vrublevskaya Polina. 2016. "Circulation of children’ items in Christian Orthodox parish: observations to the gift exchange theory." Researches in Religious Studies, 1 (13): 103-127.

Yudin Grigory, Oreshina Daria. 2016. "Gift exchange and control of consumer credit in Russian Orthodox communities ." Sociological Journal, 22 (2): 110-134.

Pavlyutkin Ivan, Yudin Greg. 2015. "Recording the Ambiguity: The Moral Economy of Debt Books in a Russian Small Town." Cultural Studies , 29 (5-6): 807-826.

Vrublevskaya Polina. 2015. "Studying a Parish Community in a Small Town: The Role of the Priest and Other Aspects of Orthodox Communality." Laboratorium, 7 (3): 129-144.

Yudin Greg. 2015. "Consumer Credits Make People Lonely." Open Left.

Yudin Greg. 2015. "The Moral Nature of Debt and the Making of Responsible Debtor." VOPROSY ECONOMIKI, 3, 28-45, Moscow.

Pavlyutkin Ivan, Yudin Greg. 2014. "Recording the ambiguity: the moral economy of debt books in a Russian small town." Working papers by NRU Higher School of Economics. Series SOC "Sociology", No. WP BRP 49/SOC/2014, Moscow.

Pavlyutkin Ivan, Emeliyanov Nikolay. 2014. "University and Gift: Problem Statement." Vestnik PSTGU. Series I: Theology, 56 (6): 21-37.

Pavlyutkin Ivan. 2014. "When there is no chance to borrow from anyone." Pravda Severa.


Workshop of the “Sociology of religion” research laboratory (2.10.2023) >>>

Presentation of a collective monography “Living on Debt: Moral Economy of debt practices of communities in Russia” (2020) at Sakharov center >>>


Polina Vrublevskaya joined a discussion “Homo debitor: how did we turn into debtors? on Radio Svoboda >>>

30th of October Grigory Yudin and Ivan Pavlyutkin presented at the International Financial Center in Moscow >>>