Department of Social Sciences, National Research University Higher School of Economics, Nizhny Novgorod, Russia
In this article the features of social-relationship systems are analyzed based on the data from a sociopsychological empirical study conducted in two stages (2002 and 2014) on a large sample with the help of g. Kelly’s Repertory grid Technique. A. V. Petrovsky’s three-factor interpersonal-relationships model as interpreted for closed groups by M. Yu. Kondratev and the concept of the closed society as described by Karl Popper provide the foundation for the theoretical hypothesis we tested. The empirical data obtained in 2002 came from 391 participants of different ages who were living in provincial towns in the Nizhny Novgorod region. The elderly respondents (232 people) had lived almost all their lives under the Soviet regime; the middle-aged respondents (159 people) got their education and started their careers in the USSR. Soviet society is considered to be closed because of its authoritarian and collectivist nature, static social structure, and dogmatic ideology. It is argued that both closed societies and closed groups are characterized by a rigid hierarchical social structure, isolation from other systems, and depersonalization of social relations. We have proved that members of a closed group and citizens of a closed society have similar social-relationship matrices.
Keywords: closed group, closed society, Soviet society, post-Soviet society, Repertory grid Technique, Petrovsky’s three-factor model, interpersonal relations, social structure