Journal Article

Russian Religious Rejections of Money and <i>Homo Economicus</i>: The Self-Identifications of the “Pioneers of a Money Economy” in Post-Soviet Russia

Natalia Dinello

in Sociology of Religion

Published on behalf of Association for the Sociology of Religion

Volume 59, issue 1, pages 45-64
Published in print January 1998 | ISSN: 1069-4404
Published online January 1998 | e-ISSN: 1759-8818 | DOI:
Russian Religious Rejections of Money and Homo Economicus: The Self-Identifications of the “Pioneers of a Money Economy” in Post-Soviet Russia

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Russian Orthodoxy, Christian Socialism, and Russian Communism are consistent in their denunciation of Homo Economicus — the Western ideal type celebrating individual proprieties and instrumental rationality. Russian religious and cultural rejections of Homo Economicus and Western-style contract are counterpoised by the constructions of Homo Orthodox and Russian covenant, that exalt communitarianism and transcendental value convictions.

The recent market-style reforms in Russia brought the rising tide of Western influences. Focusing on new Russian bankers who are representative of the spirit of an emerging marketplace, this paper explores their self-identifications as Homo Orthodox or Homo Economicus, and their endorsements of covenant or contract. Based on the interviews with sixty-one Russian bankers, it is concluded that the perceptions of the “pioneers of a money economy” deviate from traditional Russian cultural-religious ideals questioning the endurance of these ideals in the new market situation.

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Subjects: Religion ; Sociology of Religion

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