P.L. Lavrov is the founder of the subjective school.

Lecture on the topic: “Subjective sociology. Sociological views of P.L. Lavrov and N.K. Mikhailovsky”


1. Subjective direction in Russian sociology.

1.1. Socio-historical conditions and spiritual premises of subjective sociology.

1.2. The main features of subjective sociology.

1.3. Criticism of the subjective school: advantages and disadvantages.

2. P.L. Lavrov is the founder of the subjective school.

2.1. subjective method.

2.2. Theory of solidarity.

2.3. Theory of personality.

2.4. The theory of factors of social action.

2.5. Theory of progress and social evolution.

2.6. Criticism of the sociological theory of P.L. Lavrov.

3. Ethical-psychological (subjective) sociology N.K. Mikhailovsky.

3.1. The subject and method of sociology.

3.2. The theory of division of labor and cooperation.

3.3. The theory of the struggle for individuality.

3.4. “Heroes and the Crowd”.

3.5. formulas for progress.

3.6. Criticism of the sociological theory of N.K. Mikhailovsky.

4. Views of N.I. Kareeva.


Subjective trend in Russian sociology.

Subjective sociology is an original, specifically Russian direction in Russian sociology.

Time of existence: the turn of the 60-70s. 19th century – 20s XX century.

Other names:

– subjective school or ethical-sociological direction

– subjective method

– Russian sociological school (S.N. Yuzhakov).

Founders: P.L. Lavrov, N.K. Mikhailovsky, S.N. Yuzhakov.

Socio-historical conditions and spiritual premises of subjective sociology.

Intellectual origins: positivism of O. Comte, ethics of E. Kant, anthropologism of L. Feuerbach, ideology of Russian socialism A.I. Herzen and N.G. Chernyshevsky

Subjective sociology was born in the years of the heroic revolutionary struggle (Kareev).

Its task was to theoretically substantiate the main goal of the populist movement – the transition of Russian society to socialism.

populist ideology Subjective sociology
represented by the whole variety of populist thought scientific theory as a coherent system of knowledge with its own understanding of the subject of sociology, its own tasks, with a special conceptual apparatus and method
it is a collection of different currents, united by a common great goal it is brought closer to the ideology of populism by real social practice, which is placed at the center of its scientific developments

The main features of subjective sociology.

The object of sociology is a subjective factor, i.e. everything that makes up the content of the inner world of man.

The subject of sociology is the study of the solidarity of conscious beings.

Personality is the main engine of progress, the subject of history and social relations.

Objective processes are recognized as secondary in social life.

Psychologism – operating in the explanation of society by psychological factors.


Theoretical – consideration of phenomena from the point of view of beings, as they are.

Practical – consideration of phenomena from the point of view of what they should be.

Tasks of subjective sociology:

1) theoretical substantiation of the goal of further development of society, i.e. elucidation of the nature and patterns of social progress, the study of the conditions for the emergence of solidarity, the reasons for its strengthening or weakening, and the characteristics of its specific historical forms

2) determination of means to achieve the goal: identification of the laws of building a fair community, including the development of norms for people’s behavior and their assessment from the point of view of a moral ideal

Criticism of the subjective school: advantages and disadvantages.


} Propaganda in Russia of the achievements of Western science (the works of Comte, Spencer, Marx).

} Profound criticism of biologism in the views of Western scientists on society (organicist views of Spencer, Durkheim, Gumplovich’s social Darwinism, etc.): it is impossible to study man and society using the same methods as the rest of nature.

} Anticipation of the ideas of M. Weber, G. Simmel, representatives of symbolic interactionism: understanding and interpretation of the motives of social actions.


} Neo-Kantian sociology: the weak point is in the fusion of science and politics.

} Marxist sociology: criticism for idealism in the interpretation of the historical process.

} Representatives of other branches of populism (MA Bakunin and others): only mass spontaneous popular movements, and not educational ideals, have revolutionary power.

} Various sociological directions: the subjective method is weakly argued and is not an adequate way of knowing the spiritual world of a person and social relations.

P.L. Lavrov is the founder of the subjective school.

Pyotr Lavrovich Lavrov (1828-1900)

Major works: “Essays on Practical Philosophy” (1859), “Historical Letters” (1869-1870), “Problems of Understanding History” (1898), “Most Important Moments in the History of Thought” (1903), etc.

Sociology is a science that “studies and groups the recurring facts of solidarity between the individuals of human society and seeks to discover its laws.”

The basis of the sociological analysis of the facts of solidarity is the needs that can only be satisfied collectively.

People are formed into societies when they are in solidarity in their interests, habits, customs, i.e. without solidarity there is no society.

subjective method.

It is used in sociology, psychology, ethics. The term “subjective method” Lavrov borrowed from O. Comte and considered this method from the point of view of anthropologism :

} For a person, apart from the conscious world, there is nothing, and a person understands the world only through his own ways of knowing. The subjective takes place when our attitude to objects is added to the perception of the world.

} The result of applying the subjective method will be “obtaining subjective truth”, i.e. dependent on human nature. Subjective truth is the content of both human aesthetic and moral convictions, and the content of those sciences that study moral and aesthetic evaluations.

Sociology = objective + subjective methods

Applying the objective method , the sociologist only analyzes, studies the problems as they are, without judgment.

Within the framework of the subjective method , the researcher has a certain ideal of due (moral criterion), in accordance with which he evaluates all phenomena and determines the goals of the activity of the individual and society.

Theory of solidarity.

Solidarity – “the awareness that personal interest coincides with the public interest, that personal dignity is maintained only by supporting the dignity of all people who stand in solidarity with us.”

The purpose of solidarity is to be “a tool in the struggle for the existence of society.”

Types of solidarity

1) Unconscious solidarity, or solidarity of custom:

  • this is a connection between individuals, which is established fatally, by itself, i.e. it is a continuation of animal instincts;
  • the basis for solidarity is habit (custom).

2) Affective (felt) solidarity:

based on interests

This is the solidarity of general moods of various kinds: an elevated or depressed state of mind, the enthusiasm or barbarism of the crowd, etc.

types of solidarity

3) Historical, or conscious, solidarity:

This is “a strong sense of closeness between individuals of the same group”;

It is based on the personal conviction of individuals;

Its carrier is the intelligentsia;

· only this solidarity is the progressive engine of history;

Its ideal type is the socialist ideal.

Change of forms of solidarity – the process of interaction of culture, civilization and thought

Culture is “a set of external forms of human society and mental techniques”, customs and habits, a “zoological element” of society, which tends to be passed on from generation to generation as something unchanged.

The key function of culture is the adaptation of individuals to the environment.

Only when a culture develops into a civilization does a change adequate to human nature take place.

Civilization is the inner and highest, spiritual plane of history, a truly human existence that meets the requirements of science, art, and morality.

The core of civilization is thought.

Thought “recycles culture” and thereby leads to the strengthening or weakening of the solidarity of society “by introducing into the forms of its life a greater share of consciousness.”

Two levels of thought:

} Non-critical (abnormal)

} Critical: the result of its evolution is the development of a scientific and philosophical worldview and scientific universalistic morality.

Theory of personality.

On the issue of the relationship between the individual and society, Lavrov adheres to the nominalist tradition: the source of social dynamics is the individual.

“Outside of the individual there are no principles, no progressive forms, no progress at all.”

Lavrov solves the problem of the “nature” of society in two ways: on the one hand, he recognizes a superpersonal reality for society, but on the other hand, he believes that it cannot be impersonal, i.e. have goals that are purely external to the individual.

Society is a set of social (cultural) forms that are the product of the creativity of individuals and really exist only in individuals.

=> Individuals have the right and duty to strive, in accordance with their needs, to change these forms, to replace pathological forms with healthy ones.

Socio-psychological types, or subjects of social actions:

1) The stepchildren of civilization are the exploited majority of society, deprived of the benefits of civilization.

2) Savages of higher culture – a partially civilized minority of society, guided by fashion (“man-mass”). They only participate in civilization, being the strongest obstacle to progress, as they seek to maintain their privileged position.

3) Intelligentsia, or critically thinking individuals – groups of individuals “capable of enjoying development”, developing an ideal and striving to realize it. They introduce new values, constantly struggle with cultural forms, and are the source of social progress. But by themselves, individuals are powerless, and therefore they must organize themselves into groups.


} Historical (they were able to create intelligentsia in their environment)

} Non -historical (these are non-historical tribes and peoples who failed to create solidarity based on critical conviction (stepsons of civilization and cultural savages)

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.