Section I. Explanation of the essence of crimes and sanctions in the work of P. Sorokin "Crime and punishment, feat and reward"

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Table of contents

Introduction ………………………………………………………………………..3

Section I. Explanation of the essence of crimes and sanctions in the work of P. Sorokin
“Crime and Punishment, Feat and Reward”……………………………………6

Section II. The value of the work “Crime and Punishment, Feat and Reward” at present………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Conclusion …………………………………………………………………….18

List of used sources and literature…………………………20


Book P.A. Sorokin “Crime and Punishment, Feat and Reward: A Sociological Study on the Basic Forms of Social Behavior and Morality”, written and published in 1913, is a significant contribution to the development of domestic and world sociological knowledge. Nevertheless, for political and ideological reasons, for a long time it was forgotten in our country and began to be slightly opened by domestic historians, political scientists, sociologists and philosophers only in the last decade of the twentieth century. It was first reissued in 1992.

The life path of P. Sorokin, his political career and the evolution of his views on the nature of contemporary society and the state are well studied. And the problems raised in this book remained unsolved.

The purpose of this course work is to study P. Sorokin’s idea of the meaning of crimes and rewards as the main forms of public morality.

To achieve this goal, the following tasks were set:

1) to reveal the early views of Pitirim Sorokin on the problem of “punishment” and “rewards”, “crimes” and “feats”;

2) determine how modern sociologists evaluate the work “Crime and Punishment, Feat and Reward”;

3) to show the relevance of the work of Pitirim Sorokin “Crime and Punishment, Feat and Reward” for modern Russia.

The relevance of this work is that “Crime and Punishment, Feat and Reward” received less coverage in the literature than other works of P. Sorokin, and with our work we want to fill the gap in this area. The book, although written almost a hundred years ago, can help to understand the causes of numerous interethnic and religious conflicts, explains the mental nature of those phenomena, which are aimed at regulating punishments and rewards, sums up the rules of behavior into three groups: permitted, prohibited and recommended actions.

The life and work of P. Sorokin and P. Sorokin’s ideas about the meaning of crimes and awards as the main forms of public morality were chosen as the object of the course work.

The subject – was the scientific activity of P. Sorokin, allowing us to talk about the uniqueness of his worldview on the problem of “punishment” and “awards”, “crimes” and “feats”;
The degree of development of the topic. It should be noted that P. Sorokin, as a younger contemporary of a whole galaxy of Russian thinkers of the end

XIX – early XX centuries, was undeservedly forgotten. In recent decades, his works have been studied and cited in Russia not only by sociologists, but also by philosophers, mainly referring to the System of Sociology from the works of the Russian period. “Crime and punishment, feat and reward” remains on the side.

The main source used by us when working on the term paper was the book republished in 2006 by P.A. Sorokin “Crime and Punishment, Feat and Reward: A Sociological Study on the Basic Forms of Social Behavior and Morality”, with an introductory article and notes by V.V. Sapov. The book is the first major work of the 24-year-old scientist. Immediately after its publication, it was highly appreciated by the Russian scientific community as an outstanding contribution to domestic and world sociology. The author of the preface to this book, the largest Russian scientist of that time, teacher P.A. Sorokin – M.M. Kovalevsky – expressed confidence that in the future Russian sociological library, more than one volume would belong to the pen of his student[1].

When writing the term paper, the works of Igor Golosenko “Sociology of Pitirim Sorokin”[2], “Pitirim Sorokin as a Historian of Sociology”[3] were also used.

The work consists of an introduction, two sections, a conclusion and a list of references and references.

Section I. Explanation of the essence of crimes and sanctions in the work of P. Sorokin “Crime and punishment, feat and reward”

Pitirim Alexandrovich Sorokin (1889 – 1968) belongs to that rare type of scientists whose name becomes a symbol of their chosen science. He lived a very interesting and fruitful life. Born in a village in Zyryansk, he achieved recognition and respect among scientists around the world.

His life is known from his autobiographical book The Long Way. Although he was born in a simple, but quite wealthy family: his father was a “goldsmith”, his mother, a zyryanka, died when Pitirim was only 3 years old. After the death of his wife, his father began to drink heavily and drank to delirium tremens. And he and his older brother had to leave home. At the age of 11, he began his independent life. Sorokin’s path from “a simple village guy” to “the largest” [4] sociologist (in his own words) was fabulously swift. He received a good education in childhood, first he graduated from the parish school, then the Gama second-class school and entered the church teacher’s school. In 1907 he came to St. Petersburg and got a job at the evening Chernyav courses. The first professor, Zyryanin K.F. Zhakov, helped him in this. Two years later, he externally passed the exams for the eight classes of the gymnasium and entered the Psychoneurological Institute, where there was the only department of sociology in the country. In 1910, he began to publish in scientific journals, such as “Bulletin of Knowledge”, “Bulletin of Psychology, Criminal Anthropology and Hypnotism”. In 1910, Sorokin was offered to become a part-time lecturer in sociology at the Psychoneurological Institute and the Lesgaft Institute. It was an exceptional case in the history of higher education when a student became a lecturer. After studying here for a year, he transferred to the law faculty of St. Petersburg University[5]. His teachers were M.M. Kovalevsky and E.V. De-Roberti. In 1914 P.A. Sorokin graduated from the university with a first degree diploma. And in 1917 he had to defend his master’s thesis, which was based on the book “Crime and Punishment”. But the revolution began and life turned upside down. Sorokin did not accept the Bolshevik revolution, openly opposed them. “These people,” he wrote, “foreshadow terrible things, I am sure. If necessary, I would execute them to avert the terrible catastrophe they are planning to plunge the country into.”[6] Renouncing the title of a member of the Constituent Assembly and announcing his withdrawal from the Socialist-Revolutionary Party, P.A. Sorokin explained his decision as follows: assume the responsibility of leadership and representation of the masses” [7]. All these statements could not go unpunished. He spent about two months in the Peter and Paul Fortress. After his release from prison, he renounced the social revolutionaries and voluntarily surrendered to the authorities. He was sentenced to death, but by a lucky chance one of his former students helped him avoid this fate. He calls the last years spent in Russia years “life in death.” In completely unbearable living conditions, Pitirim Alexandrovich worked like a man possessed and wrote four books and about twenty articles, lectured at the university. In 1920, having defended his dissertation, he received the title of professor of sociology.

On April 22, 1922, he became the first doctor of sociology in the history of Russian science. By the time of the defense, P. Sorokin had already published 126 works. Many of them were directed against the Soviet regime and Marxist theory. VI Lenin did not like Sorokin’s scientific activity. As a result, he was banned from teaching. In 1922, Pitirim Sorokin had to leave Russia forever. Thus ends the Russian period of his life.

The experienced difficulties that accompanied him from early childhood did not extinguish in the soul of the scientist a pure faith in the triumph of justice and in the appearance of a “superman”, standing above modern good and evil, law and morality, not knowing the “duty” imposed from the outside and full of effective love. to fellow human beings[8].

This hope and confidence permeated his one of his first and significant works, Crime and Punishment, Feat and Reward: A Sociological Study on the Basic Forms of Social Behavior and Morality, published in the auspicious year 1913. In March 1913, Sorokin went to prison for an anti-monarchist pamphlet written for the 300th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty. Some of the conclusions of this work were made in prison examples.

This work occupies an exceptional place in the life and work of P. A. Sorokin. This voluminous and very significant work in terms of richness of ideas was written by a 24-year-old student of the 3rd year, and immediately made him a significant figure among sociologists. Crime and Punishment, Feat and Reward (1913) evoked many favorable responses. Here is a review of one of the first readers of the book (still in manuscript), Evgeny Valentinovich De Roberti, a Russian sociologist, philosopher and economist of Spanish origin, professor of sociology: “Dear Pitirim Aleksandrovich! I read your book Crime and Punishment, Feat and Reward with great interest. I congratulate you from the bottom of my heart. This is an excellent thing, a very, very valuable contribution to our and world science, a work that European sociological literature can be proud of, not to mention Russian. March 1913”[9]. Positive reviews were also published in the journal Pravda, in the newspapers Den and Rech[10]. However, some of them came across and reproaches.

Thus, the late representative of the subjective school, A. A. Gisetti, pointed out to the young author his unjustified disregard for Russian sociological literature, especially since some of the important ideas of his book had been formulated earlier by P. Lavrov and N. Mikhailovsky. Critics, although they noted some shortcomings of the book, in general, rated the work of the novice author very highly. For the young 24-year-old author, it was a complete triumph.

“Crime and Punishment, Feat and Reward” – is one of the sections of the book “General Sociology”. Sorokin called his work “a sociological study on the basic forms of social behavior and morality.” It was written as a thesis. The work provides a complete analysis of the main forms of social behavior. Sorokin, talking about things as old as the world, was able to explain the cause of the crime, and as a result – punishment, exploits and rewards. Before him, no one had done it so thoroughly. By the reviews and responses of contemporaries, one can judge the significance of this work.

Sorokin considers not only the functions of rewards and punishment, but also the circumstances under which they affect people’s lives. Naturally, each of us experienced these circumstances: in order to achieve some goals, each individual takes certain actions, or vice versa, does nothing. But, the consciousness of responsibility for their actions in the form of punishment, very often keeps many from any illegal actions. Both rewards and punishments motivate the actions of a mentally normal person. Almost every action we take can serve as an example. And only the characteristics of a person’s character and his mental abilities determine whether he is capable of a feat or a crime for the sake of a reward. But we must also take into account the fact that under certain circumstances, the punishment may not come. It also affects people’s behavior.

In his work, Sorokin gives his own definition of a crime, different from the theorists of criminal law. After long and essentially simple explanations of his thought, he gives the “simplest” definition of crime, in his words: “Criminal or prohibited acts are acts that contradict the “permissible-proper” pattern of behavior. Consequently, a common feature of the entire class of criminal acts and criminal behavior (from the point of view of any individual) will be a sign of their contradiction with behavior and acts that are perceived as “permissibly due” [11]. Sorokin emphasized that “any act can potentially be criminal”[12]. Everything depends on the moral foundations of society.

In his work, Sorokin also gives an analysis of award acts. “In every permanent social group, over time, a certain course of crimes and services is established, i.e. a certain punishment is established for certain crimes and a certain reward for certain services … “[13]. “If you want to receive these awards, then perform such and such feats,” he sums up. And then he explains that a person commits certain feats or crimes in order to obtain certain benefits.

“And how many officials there are who are honest not out of conviction, but only out of fear of punishment; they would gladly take bribes, and if they don’t, then only due to the motivational effect of punishment – fear of deprivation of service, demotion, disgrace, etc. and so on at every given moment. And if they do not do it constantly, it is only out of fear that they will fall under the influence of punishment. Punishment puts pressure on their behavior and modifies it. Such examples of the motivational pressure of car can be given as many as you like. The very existence of the car is the best evidence of this. Everything that has been said about the motivational pressure of cars is entirely applicable to the motivational pressure of rewards. Rewards are that second lever by which a person does, or abstains, or tolerates a series of actions that without the pressure of rewards, he would not do, abstain, or endure. Take, for example, the phenomenon of bribery. Here, in the first act, you have a person (for example, an official, a quartermaster, a bailiff, etc.) who decisively refuses to do, or abstain from, or tolerate a series of actions that you ask for. But now a bribe (reward-favor) appears on the scene, and the behavior of the individual changes dramatically … He performs a number of actions that he would not have done without a reward, ”he writes in the chapter“ Motivational action of rewards and punishments.

Explaining in detail the nature of the crime, punishment and rewards, Sorokin does not leave hope that over time all the negative components of human society will disappear from the face of the earth. For example, when one side, as a result of a victorious war, captures the other, so that they henceforth form one “measured group”, within the framework of the now single state, a conflict of two different patterns of behavior arises. The amplitude of fluctuations, cards and rewards increases sharply. After one, two or three generations, the patterns are aligned, the need for too severe punishments and too high rewards disappears. And so, Sorokin believes, when the world will make up a single measured group, when, according to the poet, “peoples, having forgotten strife, will unite into a single family,” then the need for punishments and rewards will disappear, there will be no more crimes and feats, then, Sorokin believes, a superman will arise, standing on the other side of law and morality. He believes in infinite linear progress and the possibility of an earthly paradise.

It is a pity that history does not confirm these words of his. The First World War, which began six months after the publication of the book, destroyed the possibility of “eternal peace.” And a hundred years after the writing of the work, a society of people consisting of “supermen” did not arise, whose activities do not need to be regulated by punishments and rewards.

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