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Comparative analysis of national sociological schools in their relation to national cultures

A. Zdravomyslov, Doctor of Philosophy, Professor, main researcher, ,
mailto: azdravom@yandex.ru
Comparative analysis of national sociological schools in their relation to national cultures.
Vestnik instituta sotziologii. 2010. Vol. 1. No. 1. P. 179-202

This Article is downloaded: 1365 times
Topic: Sociology: development problems

For citation:
A. Zdravomyslov. Comparative analysis of national sociological schools in their relation to national cultures. Vestnik instituta sotziologii. 2010. Vol. 1. No. 1. P. 179-202


The article analyzes the specific circumstances surrounding the emergence of national schools of sociology in France, the USA, England, and Germany, and contrasts these circumstances with Russia’s specific experiences. The author poses the following key question: would it be possible to build Russia’s own national traditions in theoretical sociology? Russia’s journey towards professional sociology has turned out to be more difficult than the journeys of the other European nations and the United States, primarily because Russian cultural tradition has its roots not in pragmatism and empiric study, but in far more vague notions, such as the abstract ideals of fighting for justice and abolishing social inequality. Constructs that promote hope for something that is theoretically desirable but practically unfeasible are far more ingrained into the Russian mentality. Furthermore, the Russian culture, even in its secular iterations, is still oriented towards sensory perception of the world and towards shifts between "black-and-white" contrasting interpretations (inversion, in A. Akhiezer’s terminology). In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Russia went through precisely this kind of inversion, so large in scope that it turned into an ideological overhaul. Nor does the Russian culture have a rigid ban on violence, arising out of the ideas of personal freedom and dignity, which began to spread only a little over a hundred years ago, through literature rather than through legal awareness. When looking at the emergence of sociology as an independent professional field, we single out six stages of its development. Apart from a diverse range of paradigms, the current state of sociology is characterized by whole enclaves of French, German, American, and British sociology within the realm of Russian social thought. We believe that Russian theoretical sociology can (and does) exist as an entity in its own right, but rather than being an isolated, self-sufficient way of looking at social issues, it is a dynamic motion of thought within the frames of the modern sociological discourse, which reaches far beyond the borders of one country, as it is forced to abandon its isolation due to the sheer challenges of modern life. Ultimately, we conclude that the “generation-based” approach is the most constructive way of looking at modern Russian sociology.


theoretical sociology, national sociological schools, generations, national traumas.


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