Economic ethics of the Orthodox laity in modern Russia. Sociological analysis. Research Grant: RFH 14-33-01031

Research Grant: RFH 14-33-01031

Duration of the project: 2014 г.

Project coordinator: Ivan Zabaev

Research team: Elena Melkumyan, Yana Kozmina, Koloshenko Yulia, Zueva Anna, Irina Kozmina, Arthur Kocheryan

About the project
The increasing importance of religion in Russia (79% of the population consider themselves
) raises the question about the way it influences the population, in particular, the way it
changes the ethics of economy. Max Weber in his work “The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of
Capitalism” showed how religion can influence the economic sphere of human activity. A
number of researchers, among them some contemporary authors, confirm the existence of this
connection. While substantial part of the population in our country consider themselves
Orthodox, the question about the nature of possible influence of Orthodoxy (and the share of
those inchurched in particular) on values that determine modes of action in economic sphere
becomes especially relevant.
In comparison to other Christian denominations, Orthodoxy is definitely understudied. Those
who study the influence of Orthodoxy in other areas of life, and in particular – in economics,
have to base their conclusions on secondary data and to use indirect indicators to describe the
economic attitudes of the inchurched Orthodox (such as attitudes toward democracy,
hierarchy, etc.). As a result, the authors (for example, Buss, and, in Russia, Snegovaya)
assessing the Orthodoxy from an economic point of view come to the conclusion that
economic preferences of its members are unproductive, and hence the Orthodoxy as such can
be considered as counterproductive.
Within the framework of the study we are planning for the first time to study the economic ethics
of the Orthodox laity using qualitative methods. The project includes a qualitative study (indepth
interviews) and analysis of narratives of the inchurched Orthodox using the apparatus of
grounded theory, as well as the study of how the degree of the inchurched influences the basic
values of the population (based on the analysis of secondary data from national studies). The
strategy of theoretical sampling is used to form an interview corpus; it suggests that the
number of interviews represented in the sample is enough for the analysis of the problem. Such
a systematic analysis of the economic ethics of the Orthodox laity will be held for the first
time.The obtained results will help us to revise the thesis of the counterproductiveness of the
Orthodoxy on the base of the analysis of narratives of the Orthodox laity, and not secondary
data and indirect indicators, as this has been done before.

Relevant publications

Zabaev Ivan. 2012. "Orthodox Ethic and the Spirit of Socialism. Towards a Substantiation of the Hypothesis [in Serbian]." Philosophy and Society, 23 (1): 1-20.