Macrohistory: criticism of the sociology in the long run
Dr. Sci. (Philos.), Prof., Transbaikalian State University, Chita, Russia email@example.com
Analyzing the work “Macrohistory: Essays in Sociology of the Long Run” by Randall Collins and works of some Russian scholars can reveal a range of difficulties and contradictions in sociological studies of long-run historical processes. The questions concerned are the problems of implementing principles of sociology (rigour of theoretical theses, verifiability, using of empirical material) in studying such processes as modernization and industrialization, democratization, globalization. The author criticizes geopolitical theory of state change formulated by the American sociologist, the “state-centered” theory of revolution. The author highlights following problems: the lack of a direct sociological research to justify the main theses; the unverified and questionable nature of “geopolitical determinism” when applied to the state evolution; the concept of break-ups, revolutions or political rises as results of an accidental, externally determined set of circumstances; ignoring economics and economic relations as the most important factor of these phenomena. A range of facts is pointed out that contradict with the “geopolitical” approach to historical interpretation. In particular, these are stagnation of the Soviet socialist economy, the decay of the army and the destructive processes in the Soviet society that had manifested themselves already before the obvious failures in external policy took place; another fact is that many modern states have had an effective democratic government system, never having claimed to be a superpower. It is stressed that direct sociological studies are necessary when it comes to theory building or suggesting new ideas and conceptions of historical process.
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