The Cultural Turn and the Crisis of Problematization in Modern Sociology

The Cultural Turn and the Crisis of Problematization in Modern Sociology

Chernysh M.F.

Dr. Sci. (Sociol.), Corresponding Member of RAS, Director of the Federal Center of Theoretical and Applied Sociology of RAS, Moscow, Russia

ID of the Article:

For citation:

Chernysh M.F. The Cultural Turn and the Crisis of Problematization in Modern Sociology. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2022. No 12. P. 3-14


Contemporary social sciences are heavily engaged in polemics over capitalism and its evolution in the last three decades. Antony Giddens played a key role in defining modern capitalism as a case of late modernity. He regarded modern society as an outcome of qualitative change resulting from the advances in modern technologies and globalization. He emphasized the cultural aspect of change in the form in greater reflexivity and more agency in social structures. These ideas became one of the key elements of the strong cultural program in sociology, that proposed to define capitalism through the prism of cultural change. The cultural turn gave birth to a sociological “convention”, according to which capitalism is as exclusively cultural phenomenon. However, there is another tradition in sociology that continues to study capitalism as a complex of social relations irreducible to culture, characterized by specific forms of property and domination relations. The paradox of the strong cultural program lay in the fact that capitalism came to be regarded as a sum of universal traits equally attributable to any society. Meanwhile, capitalism is a concept that embraces many different social and economic orders. The “world systems” research and research of difference of social institutions lead in this direction. Modern Russian society is an outcome of radical reforms of early 90-s that guided it towards the world periphery and the social problems that are characteristics of the societies of this type.

capitalism; strong cultural program; radical reforms; post-modernism; world periphery; capability approach
Content No 12, 2022