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History of Soviet Sociology. The Intellectual Style of a Totalitarian Social Science

Dates:
  • Wed 06 May 2020 16.00 - 18.00
  Add to Calendar 2020-05-06 16:00 2020-05-06 18:00 Europe/Paris History of Soviet Sociology. The Intellectual Style of a Totalitarian Social Science

The history of Soviet sociology unearths several puzzles. Its rapid institutionalization implied support from the Party authorities. At the same time, it was targeted by frequent repression. Its leaders enjoyed wide popularity, although their specific texts from the Soviet era are scarcely remembered and their attempts at theorizing are disregarded. Finally, its intellectual achievements have not been applied to other cultural contexts. Basing on Kenneth Burke’s and Erving Goffman’s theoretical approaches, this paper accounts for the emergence of a particular style of social-scientific work exemplified by sociology in the USSR. It presents the results of a historical-sociological research to argue that Soviet sociology developed as the official self-portrait of a society moving towards Communism. This understanding turned a study of any aspect of social life into an appreciation of this plan and an assessment of its implementation. Soviet sociologists were therefore charged with new intellectual missions: criticizing existing societal designs, inventing new ones and ascribing responsibility for their non-accomplishment. This arguably explains why they were targeted by repression, and why their work was the object of a vivid public interest. The Soviet era left many heroic figures but few intellectual legacies.

Registrations are now closed.

Outside EUI premises - Via Zoom DD/MM/YYYY
  Outside EUI premises - Via Zoom

The history of Soviet sociology unearths several puzzles. Its rapid institutionalization implied support from the Party authorities. At the same time, it was targeted by frequent repression. Its leaders enjoyed wide popularity, although their specific texts from the Soviet era are scarcely remembered and their attempts at theorizing are disregarded. Finally, its intellectual achievements have not been applied to other cultural contexts. Basing on Kenneth Burke’s and Erving Goffman’s theoretical approaches, this paper accounts for the emergence of a particular style of social-scientific work exemplified by sociology in the USSR. It presents the results of a historical-sociological research to argue that Soviet sociology developed as the official self-portrait of a society moving towards Communism. This understanding turned a study of any aspect of social life into an appreciation of this plan and an assessment of its implementation. Soviet sociologists were therefore charged with new intellectual missions: criticizing existing societal designs, inventing new ones and ascribing responsibility for their non-accomplishment. This arguably explains why they were targeted by repression, and why their work was the object of a vivid public interest. The Soviet era left many heroic figures but few intellectual legacies.

Registrations are now closed.


Location:
Outside EUI premises - Via Zoom

Affiliation:
Department of History and Civilization

Type:
Lecture

Contact:
Fabrizio Borchi (EUI - Department of History and Civilization) - Send a mail

Organiser:
Alexander Etkind (EUI - Department of History and Civilization)
Guillaume Minea-Pic (EUI - Department of History and Civilization)

Speaker:
Mikhail Sokolov (European University at St. Petersburg)

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