This paper looks at the impact of the economic collapse of the former Soviet Union on the lives of ordinary people in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus using qualitative as well as quantitative data. We argue that to understand the impact of the transformation it is necessary to take a sociological approach. To provide a framework for our analysis we use the Social Quality model which enables us to consider the recursive relation between agency and structure and social and systems integration. We draw upon a sample survey of 8,400 individuals carried out in 2001 together with qualitative interviews with a purposefully selected sample of individuals, health experts and focus groups conducted in 2002. The use of qualitative data enables us to look beyond classifying variables to experience. We conclude that the collapse has not only resulted in a decline in the material circumstances of households but also on social integration, social cohesion and the ability of people to take control over their own lives.
- social quality