The last word of Pitirim A. Sorokin – “Sociological theories of today”

The last word of Pitirim A. Sorokin – “Sociological theories of today”

Golovko E.P.

Cand. Sci. (Philos.), Prof., Section of Philosophy, Bauman Moscow State Technical University, Mytischi Dept., Russia

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Golovko E.P. The last word of Pitirim A. Sorokin – “Sociological theories of today”. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2018. No 1. P. 132-139


The article is dedicated solely to the last work of one of the founders of sociology Pitirim A. Sorokin, published in 1966. The great Russian and American scientist and writer passed away shortly after, and the book is therefore analyzed as his ultimate legacy. Several worldwide famous sociologists are quoted with their thoughts and judgments about Sorokin’s contribution to science and, in particular, his last book. The book’s content is considered as Sorokin’s overview of sociology from its early days back in 1928 when his milestone “Contemporary sociological theories” was first published. At this point the science has developed well enough to produce many theories that could be classified. Such classification and Sorokin’s thoughts over it are subjects of the article. Sociocultural phenomena, their types, values and meanings for the scientist are reviewed. Sorokin’s analysis of civilization types is also referred to here. An important part of this article is dedicated to arguments inside sociology regarding its methods, scientific nature and place in relation to exact sciences, possibility of preciseness in results and predictions. Sorokin warned his colleagues to avoid being too formalized and rely too much on testing as a basis. Approaches of the supersystems theory introduced by him are used for analysis of various social systems. In conclusion, the development of sociology and its condition 50 years after the book issuance is discussed. Have we approached “the great synthesis” that Sorokin anticipated, what’s the future for the science, can we expect a figure of Sorokin’s caliber – these questions close the review of his last book.

Sorokin; sociology; social system; supersystem theory; classification of theories; civilization types; sociocultural phenomenon


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Content No 1, 2018