Vladimir Bystrov 1, Vladimir Kamnev 2
  • 1 Saint Petersburg University, 7/9 Universitetskaya nabereznaya, Saint Petersburg, 199034, Russian Federation
  • 2 Saint Petersburg University, 7/9 Universitetskaya nabereznaya, Saint Petersburg, 199034, Russian Federation

Vulgar Sociologism: The History of the Concept

2019, vol. 18, No. 3, pp. 286–308 [issue contents]
This article can be considered as the history of the concept of vulgar sociologism, including both the moment of the emergence of this concept and its subsequent history. In the 20th century, new approaches were formed in the natural sciences about society and man which assumed to consider all of the ideas from the point of view of class psycho-ideology. This approach manifested itself somewhat in the history of philosophical and scientific knowledge, but chiefly in literary criticism (Friche, Pereverzev). As a result, any work of art turns into a ciphered message behind which the interest of a certain class or group hides. The critic has to solve this code and define its sociological equivalent. In the discussions against vulgar sociology, M. Lifshitz and his adherents insisted on a limitation of the vulgar-sociological approach, qualifying it as a bourgeois perversion of Marxism. They saw the principle of the criticism of vulgar sociology in the well-known statement by K. Marx about the aesthetic value of the Ancient Greek epos. The task of the critic does not only reduce to the establishment of social genetics of the work of art because he also needs to explain why this work causes aesthetic pleasure during other historical eras. In the article, it is shown that later attempts to reduce the complete spectrum of modern western philosophy and aesthetics into a paradigm of vulgar sociology of the 1920s is an unreasonable exaggeration. At the same time, in discussions in the 1930s, the question of the need of the differentiation of the vulgar-sociological approach and a sociological method in general was raised. As for sociology, this question remains relevant even today.
Citation: Bystrov V., Kamnev V. (2019) Vul'garnyy sotsiologizm: istoriya kontsepta [Vulgar Sociologism: The History of the Concept]. The Russian Sociological Review, vol. 18, no 3, pp. 286-308 (in Russian)
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