Article Information


Natalia Matveeva (

Russian University of Transport (RUT MIIT), Moscow, Russia 

Citation: Matveeva N. (2019) Osnovnyye printsipy interpretatsii smyslov sotsial'nykh yavleniy v russkoy sotsiologicheskoy traditsii (na primere tvorchestva S.N. Bulgakova, P.I. Novgorodtseva, S.L. Franka). [The basic principles of the interpretation of the meanings of social phenomena in the Russian sociological tradition (S. Bulgakov, P. Novgorodtsev, S. Frank)]. Zhurnal sotsiologii i sotsialnoy antropologii [The Journal of Sociology and Social Anthropology], 22(3): 7–38 (in Russian).

Abstract. The article analyzes the basic principles of the interpretation of the meanings of social phenomena related to the neo-Kantian and religious-philosophical traditions of Russian sociological thought developed by S.N. Bulgakov, S.L. Frank, P.I. Novgorodtsev. The author reveals both common features and differences in their approaches to social analysis with the approaches of the classics of Western thought — M. Weber and E. Durkheim. According to Russian scholars social phenomena have two sides: the side in which they appear as real events or processes, and the side of the internal idea, sense or meaning. A meaning or an idea acts as a necessary attribute, outside of which a social phenomenon is unthinkable. The meaning side of social phenomena expresses their social essence, while the real-factual side is only an external manifestation of this essence. Thus, this tradition proceeds from the premise that social life is based on objective ideas that are independent of individual psychology and affect the will and consciousness of people in the direction of their implementation in social life. The specificity of social ideas is that they are ideas-forces that act as people's ideals and goals. The concept of the active role of an individual consciously seeking to implement certain ideas is organically included in this concept. Certain methodological principles follow from this interpretation of social life. They are based, on the one hand, on the need to understand the objective ideas underlying social processes, their relationship, the logical relationships between them and the logic of their development. On the other hand, they imply the identification of individual meanings, concentrating around the spiritual center of individual activity where the most important social actions and beliefs of a person are born. The author stresses the importance that the achievements of these representatives of Russian thought have for modern sociology, which focuses on the problems of social meanings, ideas and values, their role in the life of society and the individual.

Keywords: S.L. Frank, S.N. Bulgakov, P.I. Novgorodtsev, the meaning of a social phenomenon, social value, social laws, collegiality.


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