Identity and Work Ethic of Peasants in the Context of the Post-Soviet Socio-economic Transformation

  • Maria Kozlova
  • Olga Simonova
Part of the Societies and Political Orders in Transition book series (SOCPOT)


The chapter analyses transformations of identity and work ethic among peasants through the lens of moral emotions based on the empirical data from thirty semi-structured interviews collected in villages of the agricultural region of Russia. We present the following logic of transformations: changed sociocultural conditions, including public sentiment towards agricultural labour, lead to the transformation of identity of the peasantry. The decision to concentrate on emotions emerged in the aftermath of a more general study of the social and structural conditions in the Russian villages, which resulted in interviews abounding with peasants’ representations of negative emotions. The authors outline the phenomenon of ‘contempt for rural/physical labour’ from both the immediate surrounding environment and wider society more generally. This emotional backdrop brings with it negative effects such as shame and envy that, in turn, corrode self-esteem among the peasants, leading even to withdrawal from active employment on the land and the weakening of social ties.


Social identity Personal identity Work ethic Post-Soviet village Shame Envy Contempt for rural/physical labour 


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Higher School of EconomicsNational Research UniversityMoscowRussia

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