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New class divisions in the new market economies: evidence from the careers of young adults in post-Soviet Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia

Roberts, Ken and Pollock, Gary (2009) New class divisions in the new market economies: evidence from the careers of young adults in post-Soviet Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia. Journal of youth studies, 12 (5). 579 - 596. ISSN 1469-9680

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Abstract

This paper presents evidence from the biographies of samples totaling 1,215 young adults in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, who all reached age 16 between 1986 and 1992, and whose subsequent life histories coincided with their countries' transitions from communism. The evidence is used to examine whether new classes are being created in the new market economies and, if so, where the new divisions lie. Economic classes are defined as aggregates with typical and distinctive labour market and work situations. The evidence points to the creation of two such groups, a middle class and a lower class. Corresponding social differences in family and leisure careers are identified. The paper points out that these emergent class formations are different from those in the West, and gives reasons why they are less likely to become politically efficacious than were classes in the West's more mature market economies during the twentieth century.

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