Article Information


Nikolay Golovin (

Saint Petersburg State University, Saint Petersburg, Russia

Citation: Golovin N. «Neobychnyy myslitel' i yego neobychnoye sochineniye»: k publikatsii na russkom yazyke retsenziy nemetskogo sotsiologa L. von Wiese na «Sotsial'nuyu i kul'turnuyu dinamiku» P.A. Sorokina [“An unusual thinker and his unusual writing”: towards the publication in Russian of the German sociologist L. von Wiese's reviews on P.A. Sorokin's “Social and Cultural Dynamics”]. Zhurnal sotsiologii i sotsialnoy antropologii [The Journal of Sociology and Social Anthropology], 24(3): 7–22 (in Russian).

Abstract. L. von Wiese (1876–1969) is the theorist of sociology, the organizer of the scientific discipline, the largest connoisseur of P.A. Sorokin's works in Germany. Their personal contacts date back to 1923 (Prague), developed during Sorokin's years in Minnesota (1924–1929), and intensified at Harvard (since 1935). His two journal reviews of the first three volumes of Sorokin's “Social and Cultural Dynamics” (1937–1938), published for the first time in Russian, contain an original and coherent, objective and critical assessment of this unprecedentedly generalized study of culture. The first of the reviews “Ideenkunst und Sinnenkunst: Zu P. Sorokins Lehre von der Fluktuation der Kunstformen (Ideational and Sensate Art: On P. Sorokin's Doctrine of the Fluctuation of Art Forms)” (1937) covers the first volume of “Dynamics”, the second “Ideenkultur und Sinnenkultur. Zu Pitirim Sorokins Lehre von der Dynamik des Sozialen Lebens (Ideational and Sensate Culture: on Pitirim Sorokin's Doctrine of the Dynamics of Social Life)” (1938) is for the second and third volumes. L. von Wiese's intention to write a review of the fourth volume (1941) was not realized because of the Second World War. A substantive assessment of the reviewer, which pays tribute to the uncommonness of Sorokin's research, directs the reader's attention to the key methodological issues of the sociological study of culture and the contradictions in “Dynamics” that arose in the implementation of the author's creative intention: the criticism of culture aimed at the realities of the early American consumer society is carried out with the help of argumentation, developed on the materials of the history of European, not American culture. The reviews are interesting because they were prepared against the background of the period of the greatest prosperity of German pre-war society under the Nazis, observed by the reviewer L. von Wiese and the author of “Dynamics” personally, described by both sociologists in terms of the typology of culture P.A. Sorokin. Reviews are not used in historical and sociological research, and are inaccessible to Russian, American and other specialists. They are published in Russian for the first time and fill a significant gap in the history of theoretical sociology. The analysis of the reviews and the archival documents related to their preparation was carried out taking into account the methodological requirement of the German historian T. Mommsen about the need to use concepts and worldviews that are significant for the historical era under consideration.

Keywords: L. von Wiese, P.A. Sorokin, history of sociology, German sociology, sociology of culture.


The research was funded by RFBR according to the project no. 20-011-00451. 


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