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Regular version of the site

Book chapter

Социологическая классика в современных исторических исследованиях

С. 38-53.

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.