Journal section "Social and economic development"

Agents of Social Change: Determining Identification Criteria and Designing an Indicator Model

Vorob’eva I.N., Mekhova A.A.

Volume 15, Issue 4, 2022

Vorobeva I.N., Mekhova A.A. (2022). Agents of social change: Determining identification criteria and designing an indicator model. Economic and Social Changes: Facts, Trends, Forecast, 15(4), 189–208. DOI: 10.15838/esc.2022.4.82.12

DOI: 10.15838/esc.2022.4.82.12

Abstract   |   Authors   |   References
Modern Russian society is undergoing major changes. The concept of social change has a long history of theoretical understanding; usually, two approaches, the evolutionary and the revolutionary, are distinguished. We consider this concept within the framework of a new post-modernist or organizational-activity paradigm, when the “social agent” plays an active transformative role. The problem is of a complex interdisciplinary nature, directly related to the theory of social change, social and human capital, and the creative class. We try to find out which social groups of Russian society support changes and can become their agent-guides, what distinguishes them from other people, what their share is in the modern social structure of society, region, city. The article provides a justification for the relevance of identifying agents of social change as a social basis for the transformation and development of the territory. Based on the analysis of foreign and domestic research experience, we design our own notion of the term “agents of social change”, define the criteria for their identification, create an indicator model for empirical identification of the share of agents of social change in the social structure of the urban community. Theoretical judgments and conclusions are supported by empirical data from a sociological survey of Cherepovets residents. The choice of the city for approbation of the model is not accidental. Cherepovets has the status of a territory of advanced socio-economic development and is in dire need of agents of social change. According to an empirical study, in Cherepovets the core of social change is 4.6%, and the periphery of the core, which we designate as activists, is 17.4%. A comparison of the empirical results of our study and studies of leading Russian authors on the topic of social participation shows that Cherepovets, on average, reflects the general trend in Russia. The population as a whole has rather pronounced attitudes towards activity, while the behavioral practices expressed in our model in various forms of social participation are lagging behind significantly. We prove the validity of the developed model for studying the stated problem and empirically confirm that the development potential of the territory is largely determined by the presence of agents of social change in the social structure


social capital, indicator model, social resources, creative class, social participation, agents of social change

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