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Regular version of the site

Book chapter

Russian Sociology in Imperial Context

P. 53-82.
Semyonov A., Gerasimov I., Mogilner M.

The chapter traces the history of the sociological thought and institutionalization of the discipline of sociology in the context of the Russian Empire in the second half of the XIX the and the beginning of the XXth century. The authors' main focus is on the entanglement of paradigms of social knowledge and the problem of diversity of the imperial space. The chapter identifies several modalities of refraction and engagement of the imperial diversity in the Russian social thought and later the discipline of sociology: from the learned ignorance of the revolutionary unmaking of the imperial space, the colonialist exclusion of evolutionism and populism, and on to the redefinition of irregular developing society in early twentieth century versions of Russian sociology. The chapter also traces the global circuits of social knowledge and explores how Russian social scientists of the second half of the XIXth century partook in the invention of "traditional society" and how this concept was refracted through the contemporaneous politics of colonialism and imperialism. Finally, the chapter uncovers the origins of institutionalized sociology in the dissenting institutions of higher education: The Russian Higher School of Social Sciences in Paris and the Psycho-Neurological (Bekhterev) Institute in Petersburg; and explores how those institutions refracted the politicized differences of the Russian imperial space. 

In book

Russian Sociology in Imperial Context
Edited by: G. Steinmetz. L.; Durham: Duke University Press, 2013.