Transformation of rural migrants’ attitudes to the elderly

Smolkin A.A. Transformation of rural migrants’ attitudes to the elderly // The Russian Peasant Studies. 2018. V.3. №4. P. 136-149.

DOI: 10.22394/2500-1809-2018-3-4-136-149


The article seeks to answer the questions of how and why rural migrants’ attitudes to the elderly change in the large Russian city, and why they stop respecting the elderly. The article is based on the data of in-depth non-structured non-formalized interviews (2007-2016, N = 71, 19 are cited). Respect for the elderly in rural communities is considered a natural consequence of their social nature for rural communities are primary groups, a network of potentially familiar people. Thus, a person that avoids mandatory status actions faces the threat of losing credibility and authority for specific ways of showing respect are just small elements of the complex system of mutual assistance and mutual respect and cannot be considered independent actions. In many cases, key incentives for keeping up the norms of respect in rural/traditional societies are the incentives to construct one’s identity, i. e. to confirm one’s social significance, and to feel oneself an accepted part of the rural community. The practices of respect allow to gain the sense of “we” (and “me” as a part of “we”). Apparently, rural migrants’ norms of respect are either the same or higher than the urban standards, and it is the behavior rather than the attitudes which is deformed slowly and unnoticed by rural migrants. Attitudes to the elderly seem not to change at all if we consider a part of migrants (for example, those who moved to the similar cultural environment or moved for a short time). 


Social gerontology, resocialization, attitudes to the elderly, migrants’ adaptation, intergenerational relations.

About the author

Smolkin Anton A., PhD (Sociology), Head of the Department of Humanities, Institute of Social Sciences, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration; Deputy Editor-in-Chief, Sociology of Power. 119571, Moscow, Prosp. Vernadskogo, 84.
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 


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