«Agreement-based» Russia and «Serf» Russia: Sociologizing a Historical Conception

«Agreement-based» Russia and «Serf» Russia:
Sociologizing a Historical Conception

Trubitsyn D.V.

Dr. Sci. (Philos.), Prof., Transbaikalian State University, Chita, Russia dvtrubitsyn@yandex.ru

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Trubitsyn D.V. «Agreement-based» Russia and «Serf» Russia: Sociologizing a Historical Conception. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2019. No 6. P. 97-107


Focusing on several aspects of the interdisciplinary problem, the paper presents an attempt to sociologically interpret Alexander Yanov’s idea about two antagonistic traditions of Russian society: the agreement­based and the paternalistic (servile) ones. The author agrees that both tendencies coexist and, legitimizing two opposite social systems, inherently cause cyclic fluctuations between «the West» and «the East». Both traditions are generated by the ambivalent social status of large landowners (feudal lords and court nobility) who at the same time were treaty (between themselves) partners and overlords (towards dependent serfs in their patrimony). Essentially, these are two social practices, reproduced by two contradictory social structures. However, basing on the analysis of these structures at the beginning of each of four cycles, one can claim that the predominance of the paternalistic tradition was not connected with the loss of the European identity, as A. Yanov believes. It was rather caused by the prevalence of vertical subject­object relations of power over the horizontal subject­subject relations in the socio­economic area. Nevertheless, the conception can be effectively used when explaining factors that cause cycles of Russian history and modernization failure. The underdevelopment of the «Third Estate» and the modern entrepreneurship (the main actors of modernization process) and their small influence are presented as these factors.

the agreement­based and the paternalistic tradition; social structures; modernization; historical cycles


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