In the “System of Sociology” P.A. Sorokin puts forward the basic principles on the basis of which he proposed to create sociology. He developed the structure of sociology, its main directions and the main tasks of each of them.
“Sociology is a science that studies the life and activities of people living in a society of their own kind, and the results of such joint activities.” Sociology studies society from three main points of view:
1) its structure and composition
2) data in it processes or its vital activity
3) the origin and development of society and social life – these are the main tasks of the study of sociology”
Sorokin wrote: “Our need for sociological knowledge is enormous. Among the many reasons that cause our moods and bad social life, our sociological ignorance plays a significant role … Hunger and cold, debauchery and crime, injustice and exploitation continue to be companions of human society. Only when we study the social life of people well, when we know the laws that it follows, only then can we count on success in the fight against social disasters … Only knowledge here can indicate … how to arrange a common life so that everyone is and well-fed and happy… It is from this practical point of view that sociology acquires tremendous significance.”
Sorokin divided sociology into theoretical and practical. Theoretical sociology studies the phenomena of human interaction from the point of view of being. It is subdivided into:
1. social analytics, which studies the structure of both the simplest social phenomenon and complex social unities formed by one or another combination of the simplest social phenomena.
2. social mechanics, which studies the processes of interaction between people and the forces by which it is caused and determined.
3. social genetics; “The task of genetic sociology is to give the main historical trends in the development of people’s social life”
Sociology practical studies the phenomena of human interaction from the point of view of due.
Practical sociology, according to Sorokin, includes social policy. “The tasks of practical sociology are clear from the name itself,” wrote Sorokin. “This discipline should be an applied discipline, which, based on the laws formulated by theoretical sociology, would give humanity the opportunity to control social forces, to utilize them in accordance with the goals set.”
In the doctrine of the structure of society, P.A. Sorokin writes: “Before proceeding to describe the structure of a population or society in the complex form in which they exist, we must study them in their simplest form.” He shows that the simplest model of a social phenomenon is the interaction of two individuals. In any phenomenon of interaction there are three elements: individuals, their acts, actions; conductors (light, sound, thermal, object, chemical, etc.).
The main forms of interaction of social groups are:
1. interaction of two, one and many, many and many
2. interaction of similar and dissimilar persons
3. interaction one-way and two-way, long and instantaneous, organized and unorganized, solidary and antagonistic, conscious and unconscious
The entire human population breaks up into a series of closer groups, formed from the interaction of one with one, one with many, and one group with another. Whatever social group we take – whether it be a family or a class, or a state, or a religious sect, or a party – all this represents the interaction of two or one with many, or many people with many. The whole endless sea of human communication is made up of interaction processes, one-sided and two-sided, temporary and long-term, organized and unorganized, solidary and antagonistic, conscious and unconscious, sensory-emotional and volitional.
“The whole complex world of people’s social life breaks down into outlined processes of interaction.” “A group of interacting people represents a kind of collective whole or collective unity … The close causal interdependence of their behavior gives grounds to consider interacting people as a collective whole, as one being made up of many people. Just as oxygen and hydrogen, interacting with each other, form water, which is sharply different from the simple sum of isolated oxygen and hydrogen, so the totality of interacting people is sharply different from their simple sum. “Any group of people interacting with each other, we will call a collective unity or, in short, a collective.”
First of all, it is necessary to imagine how the directions, theories and concepts of the versatile teachings of P.A. Sorokin. These are the “concepts of social violations”, “sociology of revolutions”, “agrarian sociology”, “the theory of convergence”, “the theory of sociocultural dynamics”, “the theory of social stratification and mobility”, “integralism”, “the concept of the history of theoretical sociology”, “theories of cyclicity ”, “the concept of changing world civilizations”, etc. There are an infinite number of names, so it is necessary to single out the most significant and peculiar theories. Such an attempt was made by professor of Moscow State University V.P. Kultygin. In his opinion, P. Sorokin created at least four completely unique and epoch-making scientific paradigms: works on the sociology of extreme situations, an integrative approach that led to the emergence of the theory of social stratification, to the theory of mobility; social and cultural dynamics; theory of social love and creative altruism. Taking it partially as a basis, it is possible to determine the stages of consideration of the scientific activity of P.A. Sorokin:
– The concept of social violations and their role in the life of society.
– Theory of history and socio-cultural dynamics.
– Integralism is the paradigmatic basis of a scientist’s worldview.
– The theory of social love and creative altruism.
The core of the concept of social violations he created are wars and revolutions.
First of all, Sorokin gives a classification and differentiation of social violations that can cause a change in the existing political regime or system:
· socio-economic violations aimed at modifying the social and economic order;
· national and separatist violations aimed at achieving national independence, autonomy or any privileges on national grounds;
Religious violations – disorganization, split of church life, conflicts of different confessions, etc.;
· “Mixed type” of violations, without a single leading class, combining them into the most bizarre combinations. Sorokin defines the social level as the first criterion of differentiation and identifies in this respect violations that can take place at the personal, group (institutional) levels and at the level of the supersystem. The last two types become more complex, are transmitted from group to group, “layer” on top of each other in the life of groups, institutions, societies and their systems.
The second criterion is the degree of danger of violations for the integrity of the social order. Here, completely non-dangerous (for example, non-observance of traffic rules by drivers) and violations that threaten to destroy order (riot, unrest, revolutions, etc.) are distinguished. Violations of the second type remain in historical memory for a long time, these are the “most important” violations.
The third criterion of differentiation Sorokin defines the historical time of the existence of groups and institutions. Depending on this, he distinguishes two groups of disorders: reminiscent of “growing pains” of a rapidly developing young organism or “malaise” of an senile one.
However, Sorokin does not stop only at the classification of violations and criticizing the multiple and varied definitions of social violations of researchers and historians, he suggests not “to convey emotions in words”, but to try to “measure social storms”.
He relies on “indicators of social disturbances” that he has collected over an impressive period of time – from the 60th century BC. until the 20th century AD (i.e. covered the ancient civilization of Ancient Greece, Rome, Byzantium and European civilization from the 6th century AD). According to the four-aspect scheme, violations were measured and summarized in general lists, tables, graphs and diagrams; factual data collected in the multi-volume British Encyclopedia, in historical chronicles, scientific historiographic research were used. Sorokin designed all this information in a very interesting way: he broke the “horizontal” into “separate historical units represented by national states”: England, France, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Russia and two pairs Germany-Austria, Poland-Lithuania. “Vertical” was divided into time intervals of 25 and 100 years. Thus, all this information revealed the increase and decrease (“fluctuation”) of social violations “horizontally” – from country to country, from civilization to civilization, “vertically” – from period to period.
This array of information was collected and preliminarily processed by many people: specialists in military sociology, in law, culturologists, etc., mainly from scientists from the Russian diaspora.
Undoubtedly, this analysis is unprecedented in terms of the amount of data.
Trying to determine the cause of the emergence of processes of social disturbances, he cites the “hypothesis of transit”, its essence is as follows: the “hypothesis of transit” reveals the origin of fluctuations and peaks in the growth of social disturbances. Internal social violations are one of the forms of the immanent struggle of “integral”, “non-integral” and “semi-integral” elements for the next leadership in society and culture. The central reason for the appearance of social violations is the inevitable immanent change of any socio-cultural system, when its dominant forms, having reached the limit of their potentialities, the “limit”, begin to decline, and the forms coming to replace them are still only taking shape.
Sorokin considered the initial condition for the “eruption” of social violations to be the “unsettledness” of the social or cultural or both systems, however, the decisive role in his constructions remained with the significance of values and their systems, i.e. behind the cultural system. “Disorder was defined by him as looseness, incompatibility, non-crystallization” either as the main and spiritual values, as well as social relations, or only the main spiritual values. When any socio-cultural system develops its ultimate strength, it clearly begins to show signs of disintegration and enters the transition stage, which is characterized by the rapid growth of social violations, approaching the peak of social violations, which can be acute or not very acute, depending on how “The spontaneous flow of “transit” can be made more manageable and expedient. Thus, Sorokin comes to the conclusion that wars and revolutions have the same essence, they only manifest themselves at different levels: a revolution is a consequence of the disintegration of the general system of values of a society (internal process), a war is a consequence of disintegration processes in the relations of any two or more societies (an external process for each of them). Also, “It is characteristic that war stimulates revolution, and vice versa.” Sorokin argued that cultural systems are organized around a central value or principle that gives them order and unity. The sociologist opens them with the help of the logical-semantic method. “The essence of this method is … finding a central principle (meaning) that permeates all the constituent parts (of any culture), gives meaning and meaning to each of them and thus creates a cosmos from a chaos of unintegrated fragments.”
Sorokin identified three types of culture. Two of their pure forms – ideational and sensual, the third – a mixture of both, he called idealistic. In the book “Social and Cultural Dynamics” Sorokin explores “culture” – a concept broader than “society” and including it. The main concept that Sorokin uses in this case is the concept of a “sociocultural system” (supersystem).
Considering the historical process as a change of three sociocultural types (sensual, ideational and integral) with the dominance of one of them, Sorokin defined each sociocultural type as a system or order with a political, economic, social, cultural, religious and mental organization, a system of values and type of personality.
To complete the picture, the cyclic change of socio-cultural types, according to Sorokin, should be supplemented by the shift of the center of “cultural leadership” in the geographical space. His scheme of the historical movement of the center of leadership is as follows: until the 14th century, this center was the states of Asia and Africa, during the last 5-6 centuries it moves to the Western peoples, and now it is again moving from Europe to “Americas, Asia and Africa.”
The concept of Sorokin’s integralism is a complex system that includes the concept of Integral Truth (which is the basis of integral science), Man as an integral being, an integral superorganic world and the Highest integral value. This philosophy “… regards all reality as an infinite X of infinite qualities and quantities: spiritual and material, momentary and eternal, ever-changing and unchanging, personal and superpersonal, temporal and timeless, spatial and devoid of space, united and many less than small, and bigger than big. In this sense, reality is a terrible mystery and sorcery of coincidences of opposites.
Man, according to Sorokin, is also comprehended as a “wonderful integral being”: “He is not only an animal organism, but also rationally thinking and active …”, “… he is also a superconscious creator who is able to control and transcend the limits of his unconscious and conscious forces and who actually does this in moments of “divine inspiration” in the best periods of his intense creativity. Sorokin also deliberately draws a parallel with the triadic conceptions of man that prevail in the great religions.
Society for Sorokin is the result of the combined action of millions of individuals, and if society wants to eliminate social evil and achieve an integral balance, it is necessary to make people better, that is, to set foot on “the path of a person’s religious and moral active love for all people, for all living things, for the whole world.” , love unconditional and constant.
Sorokin made a huge contribution to the development of the field of ethics, which until then seemed to be the field of activity of preachers and theologians, he managed to assimilate some religious concepts and values into the body of science.