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  1. Recommended For You
  2. Sociology in the Soviet Union and beyond: social enquiry and social change
  3. What Is Communism? | Socialism Communism Capitalism | Live Science
Anti-communism in the Soviet Union in the 1970s

Since the s, indeed, a finer and more complex view of the relations between the SSH and the Soviet power has emerged. They have pointed out the convergences that could have existed not without misunderstandings, or the multiple tensions between the political vocation of the SSH and the Soviet project of a socialist state. In this perspective, we suggest to put at the heart of the analysis strategies and practices deployed in order to develop negotiated research spaces, with greater or lesser freedom according to the period of time.

Paper proposals may deal with various disciplines and subfields of the Soviet SSH and possibly question the Soviet particularities in disciplinary demarcations and labelling. Social history approaches, paying a special attention to institutions, actors, but also to ideas, theories and knowledge produced, are highly welcome.

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In particular, the articles may choose to address, non-exclusively, the following issues:. How, first, to think about the forms of adherence, consent, resistance or avoidance that emerged in the face of the avatars of the Party-state aiming at framing production and circulation of knowledge as well as other scholarly activities such as censorship organs, party cells and youth organizations at research institutes and universities?

These institutions of political and ideological control willing to dominate the whole of intellectual life could only function by associating scholars, thus forced to deploy strategies of compromise, adaptation or challenge. This unit later was transformed into the Department of Concrete Social Research. At about the same time, Vladimir Iadov organized, within the philosophical faculty of Leningrad State University, the Laboratory of Concrete Social Research, which was dedicated to the study of job orientation and workers' personalities.

At the Novosibirsk Institute of Industrial Economics and Organization, Vladimir Shubkin developed a unit for studies of youth issues, including high school children's professional orientations and social mobility, and Tatiana Zaslavskaia initiated the fields of economic and rural sociology. Sociology research units appeared under various names at the universities of Sverdlovsk and Tartu Estonia. According to Shlapentokh , — were the golden years of Soviet sociology.

Important original research was done on workers' attitudes toward their jobs and on the interrelationship of work and personality Iadov et al.


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Burlatsky, A. Galkin , and other topics. At the same time, research on the history of sociology had begun, and a dialogue with Western theoretical ideas instead of a blunt ideological denunciation of everything "non-Marxist" was initiated Andreeva ; Kon Zamoshkin In theoretical terms, structural functionalism, symbolic interactionism, and C.

Wright Mills's "new sociology were of particular interest to Soviet sociologists. The American Sociological Association aided these developments by arranging to send professional books and journals to the Soviet Union. In the s, a few Western sociological books and textbooks, beginning with Modern Sociological Theory in Continuity and Change edited by H.

Becker and A. Boskoff, were translated and published in Russian.


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  • The development of sociology in the Soviet Union..

The social and intellectual situation of Soviet sociology was very uncertain. It was completely dependent on the official ideology and the goodwill of party authorities. Even a hint of social criticism was deemed dangerous, and such work could be published only if it was formulated in the ESOPs language. The Institute of Concrete Social Research was under constant attack. Especially devastating and venomous was an attack on Levada's Lectures on Sociology ; soon after the attack, Levada was dismissed from Moscow University and deprived of a professorial title.

In , the liberal head of the Institute, A. Rumiantsev, was replaced by the reactionary Mikhail Rutkevich, who had initiated an ideological campaign against "Western influences. Until , Soviet sociology was in bad shape, but the process of its institutionalization continued. It was a period of extensive growth of sociological units. Many new laboratories and departments of applied social research in the universities and sociological and social psychological laboratories in the big industrial plants had been established.

Industrial sociologists the most numerous and active group in the SSA studied motivation to work, trends in the workforce, the efficiency of different forms of labor organization, in-group relations between workers and employers, and systems of management. The managers, who pretended to be "progressive," elaborated and reported to the party authorities "the plans of social developments" based on sociological studies later, some of these industrial sociologists were able to consult the new post-soviet businessmen.

In , the first professional journal, Sotsiologicheskie Issledovania Sociological Research , was inaugurated the first editor in chief was Anatoly Kharchev. SSA membership grew continuously. In the late s, the SSA had about 8, individual and collective members and twenty-one regional branches. The technical and statistical level of sociological research in the s and s improved considerably. Some new sociological subdisciplines emerged. At its apogee, before the collapse of the Soviet Union, the SSA had thirty-eight specialized sections, including twelve research committees, directly connected with the respective International Sociological Association ISA committees.

The geography of sociological research centers has also expanded. The general intellectual and theoretical level of Soviet sociology was, with few exceptions, inadequate.

Relatively free theoretical reflection was limited to the marginal fields of social psychology, anthropology, and history. Most sociological research was done on the micro level and involved separate industrial plants, without any attempt at broad theoretical generalization. Publications of a more general character were mostly apologies for the so-called real socialism.

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Sociological theories were divided between historical materialism and dogmatic ideological scholasticism, "the theory of scientific communism. The Leningrad sociological school, perhaps the best in the country, was decimated by the local party leadership in the mids. Zaslavskaia was in serious trouble when her report, which was highly critical of the prospects for economic reforms without parallel political changes, was published in the West. The public image of sociology had changed dramatically: In the s, the new discipline was associated in the public's mind with social criticism and progressive economic reforms, and in the late s, industrial sociologists sometimes were represented in the mass media as sly manipulators helping plant managers play down workers' discontent.

Perestroika and glasnost drastically changed the place of sociology in Soviet society. Mikhail Gorbachev and his team claimed that they needed an objective social science for information and advice, and the majority of Soviet sociologists were, from the beginning, strong supporters of reforms.

In , Zaslavskaia was elected president of the SSA. In , a special resolution of the Communist Party Central Committee acknowledged that sociology was an important scientific discipline. Iadov was appointed its director. Sociologists for example, Galina Starovoitova took an active part in political life not only as advisers to the government but as deputies of central and local soviets and, after , the post-Soviet parliaments of independent states. There were no longer official restrictions on the topics suitable for sociological research, and the publication of results became much easier.

Some newspapers introduced regular sociological columns. However, the relationship between sociology and political power is always problematic. On the one hand, neither Gorbachev nor Boris Yeltsin really needed or followed sociological advice. Very often, they did the opposite of what they have been advised to do. For example, Gorbachev's catastrophic antialcohol campaign, which was the first irreparable blow to the state budget and created the first wave of organized crime , was initiated despite strong and unanimous objections from social scientists.

While making his fatal decisions about the Chechen war, Yeltsin completely ignored professional opinions. These experiences made sociologists more critical of the regime.

Sociology in the Soviet Union and beyond: social enquiry and social change

On the other hand, sociologists have been neither intellectually nor morally ready for new social responsibilities. The lack of a sociological imagination and their predominantly functionalist or empiricist mentality made them more comfortable with post hoc explanations of events than with responsible and reliable predictions.

Social scientists are always more sure about what should not be done than about what to do, and Soviet sociology had never had a unified professional body. By but especially after , there was a deep political and intellectual schism in the former Soviet sociology. The majority of its founders remained faithful to liberal, democratic, and pro-Western ideas. However, liberal politicians, they often did not know how to apply those general principles to particular Russian, Ukrainian, or other situations.

On the contrary, the former "scientific communists," who declared themselves sociologists or politologists after and who hold now many if not most university chairs, proclaim their fidelity to Marxism-Leninism, often with a strong flavor of Russian nationalism, traditionalism, and religious orthodoxy. The gap between these two wings is irreconcilable, and that gap has many organizational, ideological, and educational implications.

In the s, there were essential changes in the institutional structure of sociological communities in all the post-Soviet states as well as in areas of research. To replace the SSA, several national, republican sociological associations have been formed. Sometimes there are more than one sociological association in the same country. The coexistence of the two centers is by no means peaceful. The main research projects of the IS include the theory and history of the discipline, quantitative and qualitative methodology, social stratification, sociocultural processes in Russia in the context of global social and economic changes, changes in personality, social identities and new forms of solidarities, economic and political elites, environmental studies, family and gender, social organizations, and social conflicts.

The IS has an affiliation in St. Petersburg director Serguei Golod. The IS is also combining research with teaching undergraduates and postgraduate students. The European University in St. Petersburg rector Boris Firsov , has departments of history, political sciences, and sociology.

Fundamental sociological research is also being done in other academic institutions and universities, such as those in Novosibirsk rural and regional sociology , Samara sociology of labor , and Niznii Novgorod stratification and regional studies. Research on interethnic relationships and conflicts is concentrated in the Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology of the RAS; population and gender studies are conducted in the Institute for Social-Economic Studies of Population, and so on.

What Is Communism? | Socialism Communism Capitalism | Live Science

Many sociological groups and centers are moving from one academic institute to another or becoming fully independent, especially if they can make money by doing applied research. Lane attempts to assess the impact of the intellectual and material culture of Soviet society on Christian religion.

She analyses the religious life in the contemporary Christian churches and sects, describing the scope of their membership and its social composition, the religious commitment of believers and their social and political orientations. Christian Religion in the Soviet Union will be central reading for students of religion in modern industrial society who are working within the disciplines of sociology, comparative religion or theology.

It will also appeal to those studying Soviet society from a more general sociological perspective and to a wide readership interested in the contest between Christian religion and Marxist-Leninist ideology. The Russian Orthodox Church I. Orthodox Sects of the Soviet Period. The Old Russian Sects.


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