Realism and “Formal” Sociology: a New Reassembly of the Social (reflecting on a book of I.A. Shmerlina)

Realism and “Formal” Sociology:
a New Reassembly of the Social (reflecting on a book of I.A. Shmerlina)

Кaterniy I.V.

Dr. Sci. (Sociol.), Prof. of the Department of Sociology, MGIMO University; Senior Researcher, Institute of Sociology of FCTAS RAS, Moscow, Russia

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Кaterniy I.V. Realism and “Formal” Sociology: a New Reassembly of the Social (reflecting on a book of I.A. Shmerlina). Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2023. No 4. P. 163-169


A theoretical inquiry into the ideas proposed by Irina A. Shmerlina in her new book “The Sociology of Social Forms: Reassembling the Theory” (2022) is provided. The author of the book pursues theoretical reframing the sociological tradition based on elaborating the category of “social form”. This perspective has no accredited paradigmatic status as a whole, but by reviving and reassembling theoretical contribution by G. Simmel, F. Tönnies, H. Freyer, G. Gurvitch, R. Bhaskar and others, Irina A. Shmerlina reveals the promising heuristic potential of “formal” sociology in explaining the nature of the social. Grounded on the methodology of critical realism and research in the field of sociobiology, the book develops a comprehensive view on the structural organization of social life, thus attempting at resolving the classical sociological antinomies “society-individual”, “structure-agency”, “macro-micro”.

social form; realism; formal sociology; social theory; the social


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Content No 4, 2023