The Precariat Phenomenon:
Theoretical and Methodological Premises of its Study

Toshchenko Zh.T.

Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Scientific Director and Head of the Department of Theory and History of Sociology, Russian State University for the Humanities; Chief Researcher, Institute of Sociology of FCTAS RAS, Moscow, Russia

DOI: 10.31857/S013216250006669-8
ID of the Article: 7812

This work was supported by the Russian Science Foundation, project No. 18-18-00024

For citation:

Toshchenko Zh.T. The Precariat Phenomenon: Theoretical and Methodological Premises of its Study. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2019. No 9. P. 51-63


The article discusses theoretical, methodological foundations of the precariat, understandings of this phenomenon in Russian and foreign literature, reasons for its appearance in the modern history. The initial positions of the preparation of the first special study of the precariat in the Russia are described, the methodological grounds for its implementation are revealed: the definition of the social problem in the sphere of labor relations, the formulation of the hypotheses of the study,the substantiation of the research model associated with the definition of the structure (composition) of the precariat, its representation in various spheres of society. Special consideration was given to the methodological tools of its study – sampling, survey methods, justification of methods of analysis of empirical information. Based on the data of an all-Russian study, the main and special features of the precariat were identified, its place and relationship with other social groups and primarily with the middle classes were shown. A debatable question is discussed – whether the precariat can be called a class and what are its main criteria in this case. Assumptions are made about its role in the course of fundamental social changes in the economy and politics, social consequences of its existence. An attempt was made to determine its role in defending its own interests, as well as the prospects for its further development and functioning.

theory; methodology; precariat; social structure; employment; labour relationship; social consequences


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