The American Sociologist

, Volume 46, Issue 3, pp 341–355 | Cite as

The Russian Sociological Tradition from the XIXth Century Until the Present: Key Features and Possible Value for Current Discussions

  • Pavel SorokinEmail author


The aim of this article is to highlight key features of the Russian sociological tradition and to demonstrate its relevance for certain ongoing international debates. In the current literature the image of “Russian sociology” remains fragmentary and incomplete. Different stages in the history of Russian sociology are usually considered as mutually antagonistic. We challenge this view by arguing that the Russian sociological tradition can be seen as a continuing trajectory of social thought development, lasting from the XIXth century until present days and unified by a set of underlying historically determined common features: publicism (an orientation to non-academic audiences and a desire to promote changes in the real world); moral and ethical concern (a clear expression of value orientations; the particular importance of ethical and moral issues); problem orientation (a focus on urgent social concerns with “problem” dominating over “method” in sociological research). We demonstrate the importance of these features for a better understanding of the perspectives and contributions of Russian sociologists to current international debates.


Russian sociology Russian history Methodology Public sociology 


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Research in Social Organization of CompanyNational Research University Higher School of EconomicsMoscowRussian Federation

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