Социологическая классика в современных исторических исследованиях
The paper concentrates on the problem of sociological classics in contemporary historical research. Since the mid-20th century, historians as well as other representatives of the humanities aspired to the scientization of their discipline. The process later was dubbed ‘the strategy of borrowing’ which implies that history can naturally rely on the theoretical apparatus of the social sciences. Since the 1960s, historiography has changed rapidly as the following model of interaction became established: a social science – a corresponding historical subdiscipline – the choice of macro- (and later also micro-) theory – and its application to historical material. For example, the theory of modernization and world-systems analysis were promptly taken up by historians as was a concept of symbolic power. Today we have many interesting examples of micro-history being modeled on micro-sociology through the use of corresponding concepts.
Talking about borrowing social theories by the historians, receptivity curves should be taken into consideration – the employment of strong theories usually begins later and continues when these are already losing popularity in adjacent disciplines. Examples from recent studies in social history could be offered to illuminate the problem.
It is admitted that the time when the idea of strict scientism of history was connected to the use of leading theories of sociology, has passed. Historians’ demand for a “grand theory” seems to exist still but sociology does provide for it minimally. After 1970s, sociologists were pushed out by classics of cultural and social anthropology, then – the representatives of performative turn, and of post-colonial criticism. One can conclude that sociological classics turned into a monument in contemporary historical discipline. The evolution of social history after cultural and linguistic turn overcame the limits set by the scientization of social history in the spirit of 1960s-70s.
History has discovered many other social disciplines. Unlike sociology, these are less influenced by scientism, although these are called social (communication, cultural studies, education, environment, human geography, linguistics, media, etc.). However, our research shows that the rejection of structuralism, functionalism, evolutionism, determinism, and monism did not lead to the rejection of the social strata, but to superficial and often “secondhand” appropriation of new sociological approaches and concepts, which transformed the sociological arsenal of history but did not introduce “new sociological classics” into the field of the discipline.
The notion of humanities has various meanings – a discipline / an art / a space for speculative thinking / secular humanism etc. I will focus on the ‘discipline’. Humanities as well as social sciences are concerned with human aspects of the world. It is difficult to define a boundary between them, both in their subject, and in method, still social sciences are interpreted as more empirical and formalized, closer to the ‘ideal’ of sciences. It is remarkable that historical studies traditionally have been considered part of the humanities, although in modern Academia, history is occasionally classified as a social science. My aim is to demonstrate why history has not become a real social science, although in 1960-80s historians who represented the most advanced trends within the discipline aspired to this. I then extrapolate my conclusions to other disciplines of the humanities.
I think two topics are central here: uneasy relationship between social theories and methods, and indispensability of the cognitive potential of the humanities.
Since mid-20th c. as a result of the ‘socialization’ of the humanities historians have barely produced theories of their own; instead they borrowed theories from social sciences. However, while the borrowing of the theories of other disciplines proved to be workable, the adoption of the methods of social sciences – psychometric testing, sociometric monitoring, ethnographic description, in-depth interview, long-term observation and s.o. – was impossible. In the end, the impossibility of using the social sciences’ methods ensures resistibility of the humanities and enables to preserve their disciplinary core. At the same time the humanities dealing with meanings can catch things more ephemeral than trends, patterns, mechanisms and statistical rules.
To bring what is hidden into the open is the task of any discipline; the question is what the nature of the hidden. The mystery of the humanities is in its ‘softness’, which they cannot be rid of, and which makes them flexible. Flexibility is not only a generic quality of the humanities, it also implies a very different cognitive mechanism. The area of the humanities still contains a large pool of vague ideas, which have powerful heuristic potential (Die Sattelzeit, longue durée, the Carnival, archeology of knowledge, la mort de l'auteur, etc). Moreover, flexibility of the humanities often leads to metaphorization of even highly formalized concepts of social sciences (path dependence, thick description, symbolic power, social interaction, actor, etc) that expands the field of their application.
The general trend towards ‘scientization’ of social sciences and the humanities, especially in the late 20th c. is balanced or compensated by a reverse tendency – the growth of fictional moment linked wither to social imagination, fantasy and fiction (when a wave or yet another ‘turn’ in the humanities does not work linearly but overlaps with similar tendencies). In contemporary sociology the turn to ‘imagination’ is actual since Wright Mills, but is also relevant for classical texts (the juxtaposition of Max Weber and Thomas Mann, a non-fiction novel and the sociology of the Chicago School etc.). At the same time, the interpretation of the humanities as arts, and not only sciences, following the well-known formula of Art and Science does not show their weakness or immaturity but rather their flexibility at the moments of social crisis or the rise of anti-scientist mood. In the history of knowledge the closeness of art history or philology to contemporary artistic trends (as in Russian formalism, for example) went well with aiming to scientific innovation – against stagnating academism.
The paper analyzes the characteristics of perception of creativity E. Le Roy Ladurie in the USSR and Russia. Pathways of information was the academic medievalists reviews, reviews of professional critics of bourgeois historiography, abstract journals and collections. During the perestroika years the popularity of Le Roy Ladurie has increased significantly, but the introduction to his work was limited by methodological declarations, not research monographs.
Scientific Conference "Socio- economic and political processes in Russia, Europe and North America in modern and contemporary times : a comparative study " conducted by the Department of General History and world politics of Historical and Sociological Institute of Mordovia State University in connection with the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the department. The purpose of the conference - make comparative analysis of the socio -economic , political and legal processes in Russia and the countries of Europe and North America in terms of transformation processes in modern and contemporary history. Comparative studies is demanded both in the implementation of scientific and educational activities , and in formulating recommendations to public authorities and local governments.
The main research subject of this book is the phenomenon of the "positive deviation" in Sabaic epigraphy, i.e. the use of the plural in the places where one would expect the singular or dual. The quantitative analysis of this phenomenon undertaken in this book leads me to the supposition that its main causes are social and not purely linguistic, though the linguistic trend towards the supplanting of the dual by the plural observed in Middle Sabaic epigraphy can partly (but only partly) explain the positive deviation from the dual. Hence, the study of this phenomenon leads me to the following suppositions with respect to the social history of ancient Yemen: (1.) Clan organization seems to have played an important role in the social life of Middle Sabaean society (= the Middle Sabaean cultural-political area = the Northern part of the area of the Middle Sabaic epigraphy, the 1st century BC - the 4th century AD): (1.a.) All the main types of immovable property (fields, vineyards, houses, irrigation structures, wells &c) were considered as a rule almost without exceptions to be the property of clan groups, but not of the individuals. (1.b.) Clan groups (not individuals) were considered to be chiefs of the tribes.
1.c. Clan groups were often considered to be both objects of the client dependence, and the patrons of the clients ('dm).
1.d. Tribes were often considered to consist of clan groups (not of individuals).
2. In the Ancient Sabaean cultural-political area (the 1st millennium BC) the role of the clan organization was remarkably less important.
2.a. It is impossible to say that almost all kinds of immovable property were considered here to be in the possession of clans. In the majority of the cases individual (not clan) possessions are mentioned in the Ancient Sabaean inscriptions. Though private ownership might not have become completely universal in the Ancient Period, it is quite evident that the process of the formation and proliferation of this form of ownership went quite far in this Period.
2.b. In the Ancient Period the individual forms of cliental dependence seem to have played a much more important role than the clan ones. In the majority of the cases individual persons (not clients) were considered to be both "patrons" and "clients".
2.c. Individual persons (not clans) were usually considered to be leaders of tribes and communities in the Ancient Period.
2.d. Tribes were always considered to consist of individuals (not clans) in this period.
3. One may suppose that the process of the formation of the state and civilization in the Lowlands went far enough in the Ancient Period to cause a considerable decline of the clan organization and the ejecting of it to the periphery (both in the spatial and social senses of this word) of the social system.
4. Hence, it is possible to suppose that with the transition from the Ancient to Middle Period the clan organisation in the "North" significantly consolidated, its social importance considerably grew.
5. The "archaization" of the social life in the Southern (Himyarite-Radmanite) part of the area of the Middle Sabaic epigraphy (most of which was a part of the Qatabanian cultural-political area in the Ancient Period) was less strong than in the Northern ("Sabaean") part. The Ancient "individualized" tradition survived in the South to some extent, and the positions of the clan organization were not so solid here as they were in the North.
6.The above-mentioned social changes fit quite well in the general picture of the Pre-Islamic Yemeni history.
6.a. Several factors described in Chapter 4 caused a significant decline of the Sabaean state and civilization by the end of the 1st millennium BC. The weakening state organization seems to have become incapable of providing guarantees of life and property to individuals, and it was the clan organization that took on these functions to a considerable extent. As a result we can see by the Middle Period the consolidation of the clan organization which acted as a partial substitute for the weak state. This process can be also considered as quite an adequate social adaptation to the new situation which appeared in the Sabaean cultural-political area by the end of the 1st millennium BC with the relative decline of the Sabaean Lowlands (caused by the above-mentioned factors) and the rise of the importance of the "Sabaean" Highlands. Indeed, the Middle "Sabaean" political system, which was much less like a regular state than the Ancient one which included strong clan and tribal structures as its integral elements, turned out to be a really effective form of socio-political organization for a complex society in the Northern Highlands. Most political entities which appeared in this region from that time till the present have showen evident similarities to the Middle "Sabaean" socio-political organization.
6.b. The Middle Sabaean political system may be also characterized as consisting of a weak state in its centre and strong chiefdoms on its periphery. However, there is no doubt that this was a real system, i.e. it had some integrative properties which could not be reduced to the characteristics of its elements. It should be also taken into consideration that the state and chiefdoms were not the only elements of this political system. It included as well e.g. a sub-system of temple centres and the civil community of M_rib, as well as some true tribes (not chiefdoms) in the area of the Sabaean Lowlands, primarily the tribes of the Amirite confederation. With the transition from the Ancient to Middle Period the Sabaean political system was essentially transformed, becoming as a whole very different from the "state", but remaining, however, on basically the same level of political complexity. Without losing any political complexity and sophistication, the Middle "Sabaeans" managed to solve in quite different ways the problems which in complex societies are normally solved by states, such as the mobilization of resources for the functioning of the governing sub-system, the territorial organization of a vast space and the provision of guarantees of life and property. The Middle "Sabaean" experience seems to demonstrate that a large, complex, highly developed (in comparison with for example an average chiefdom) and integrated territorial entity need not necessarily be organized politically as a state. This appears to show that for the "early state" the transition to the "mature state" or complete "degeneration" into "tribes" and "chiefdoms" were not the only ways of possible evolution. One of the possible alternatives was its transformation into a "political system of the Middle Sabaean type". The real processes of political evolution seem to have been actually much less "unilinear" than is sometimes supposed. A significant transformation appears to have occurred in the area in the Early Islamic Period, and by the late Middle Ages the political system of the former "Sabaean" region seems to have consisted mainly of a stronger state in its centre and true tribes (not chiefdoms) on its periphery, whereas regular state structures persisted in the Southern (former Himyarite) cultural-political area.
6.c. The decline of the Ancient Qatabanian state took place significantly later than that of the Ancient Sabaean one. As a result the social continuity between the Ancient and the Middle Period in the Qatabanian cultural-political area was stronger, and the social transformation in the "South" turned out to be less dramatic. As a result in the Middle Period the state organization in the "South" appears considerably stronger than in the "North"; whereas the clan organization seems to have been much weaker. Quite an impressive feature of Yemeni history is that we find a more or less similar picture in 20th century Yemen: very strong clan-tribal structures and very weak state ones in the Yemeni Uplands to the north of Naq_l Yili (in the "Sabaean Highlands") and relatively weak clan-tribal structures and relatively strong state ones to the south of it, in the "Himyarite Highlands". Thus the above described picture appears as almost invariable in Yemeni history since the first centuries AD. This fact leads one to the supposition that there must be some fundamental basis for such a stable difference between the "North" and the "South". Its main objective factor is evident: the significant difference in the geographical conditions. It is really remarkable to find that the Highland territories of the two Middle Period cultural-political areas are practically identical with two main ecological zones of the Yemeni uplands.
7. The clan organization was not universal, even in the Middle Sabaean cultural-political area. The dense network of the clan relations was considerably weaker near the king and, perhaps, the most important temple centres, as they stood outside the clan organization and above it. In spatial dimensions, the zone of the weaker clan relations could be localized in the area of Marib and, perhaps, Nashq, Nashshan and San'a'.
The article analyzes the characteristics of the program of Assistance to Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) in the United States. This program is aimed at support and subsequent commercialization of high technology developed by small firms. The government agencies involved in the implementation of the program determine the research areas manage the allocated funds themselves. The program has been in operation for over 30 years and has proven to be effective. It provides business with funds necessary at the primary, the most risky phase of production of innovative goods and services, and also gives signals to the market about popular areas of innovation development. Participation in the program is a guarantee of a high level for innovative product or service produced by the firm and allows companies to raise additional funds. Conclusions drawn from the analysis of the SBIR may be useful for the policy support of science and technology in Russia. The implementation of programs similar to SBIR in Russia will solve the actual problem of innovation development, to reduce information asymmetry in the market of innovative products and services and help in attracting venture capital in high-technology projects.
Postdoctoral programmes have recently become an important step leading from doctoral education to permanent academic careers in the social sciences. This paper investigates the effects of a large and structured postdoctoral programme in the social sciences on a number of academic and non-academic outcomes of fellows. Propensity score matching is employed to match fellows with applicants with similar characteristics who did not receive the fellowship; then the outcomes in the treatment and control groups are compared. The programme has a statistically significant positive effect on the general life satisfaction of former fellows and their publication activity. It is argued that an active and collegial research environment, with training in academic skills during postdoctoral employment, may improve the academic outcomes of postdoctoral fellows.