Sociological Theory: Challenges and Opportunities for Russian Sociology

Publication type Article
Status Published
Occupation: Senior Researcher, Institute of Education
Affiliation: National Research University Higher School of Economics
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow
Journal nameSotsiologicheskie issledovaniya
EditionIssue 11

The article discusses the state and prospects for the development of contemporary sociological theory. The current crisis is associated with the processes of "de-structuration", which bring to the fore the problem of "(transformative) agency", which has not yet received adequate elaboration in social knowledge. Sociology, in comparison with other sciences, may play a leading role in the scholarly development of this problem. However, in order to fulfil its potential, sociology requires a significant revision of several common theoretical postulates related to the problem of "structure/agency". First, it is necessary to revise the thesis concerning the "secondary nature" of "action" in relation to "structure". Second, develop a theoretical picture of the world that combines the idea of the relative, albeit declining, stability of social formations with the thesis of the real transformational potential of "agency", which is empirically expressed in the emergence of new and changing existing social forms. Thirdly, it is necessary to develop theoretical approaches to understanding the processes of potential formation of "(transformative) agency", taking into account both the non-deterministic nature of the latter and its dependence on a wide range of different institutional contexts, which, in turn, are transformed by it. Russian sociology can make an important contribution to solving these problems, relying on the baggage of conceptual ideas developed over a century and a half of its history, as well as on the unique and rich empirical context of contemporary Russian society.

Keywordssociological theory, Russian sociology, global crisis, de-structuration, transformative agency
AcknowledgmentThe article was funded by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation grant № 075-15-2020-928.
Publication date22.12.2021
Number of characters35381
100 rub.
When subscribing to an article or issue, the user can download PDF, evaluate the publication or contact the author. Need to register.

Number of purchasers: 0, views: 595

Readers community rating: votes 0

1. Burawoy M. (2005) For public sociology! American Sociological Review. Vol. 70. No. 1: 4–28.

2. Kane R. (2005). A contemporary introduction to free will. Oxford University Press.

3. Käsehage N. (2021). Religious Fundamentalism in the Age of Pandemic. Transcript Verlag. URL:

4. Klees S. (2016). Inferences from regression analysis: Are they valid. Real World Economics Review. Vol. 74: 85–97.

5. Komatsu H., Rappleye J (2017). A new global policy regime founded on invalid statistics? Hanushek, Woessmann, PISA, and economic growth. Comparative Education. Vol. 53. No. 2: 166–191.

6. Kuzminov Y., Sorokin P., Froumin I. (2019) Generic and specific skills as components of human capital: New challenges for education theory and practice. Foresight and STI governance. Vol. 13. No 2: 19–41.

7. Lawrence T.B, Leca B, Zilber TB (2013). Institutional work: Current research, new directions and overlooked issues. Organization studies. Vol. 34. No. 8: 1023–1033.

8. Meisner B.A., Boscart V., Gaudreau P. et. al. (2020). Interdisciplinary and collaborative approaches needed to determine impact of COVID-19 on older adults and aging: CAG/ACG and CJA/RCV joint statement. Canadian journal on Aging. Vol. 39. No. 3: 333–343. DOI: 10.1017/S0714980820000203

9. Radaev, V.V. (2019) Millenials. How does Russian Society Change. Moscow: VHSE. (In Russ.)

10. Reckwitz A. (2021). The End of Illusions: Politics, Economy, and Culture in Late Modernity. John Wiley & Sons.

11. Roshchin S.Yu., Rudakov V.N. (2016) The impact of university quality on wages of Russian university graduates. Voprosy ekonomiki [Questions of Economic]. No. 8: 74—95. (In Russ.)

12. Shkaratan O.I., Karacharovskiy V.V., Gasiukova E.N. (2015) Precariat: Theory and Empirical Analysis. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [ Sociological Studies]. No. 12: 99–110. (In Russ.)

13. Sorokin P.S., Mironenko I.A. (2020) Activity Theory for the De-Structuralized Modernity. Integrative Psychological and Behavioral Science. November: 1–17.

14. Sorokin P., Froumin I. (2021) ‘Utility’of education and the role of transformative agency: Policy challenges and agendas. Policy Futures in Education. DOI: 10.1177/14782103211032080

15. Sorokin P.S. (2021) “Transformative agency” as an object of sociological analysis: Contemporary discussions and the role of education. Vestnik RUDN. Ser.: Sotsiologiya [RUDN Journal of Sociology]. Vol. 21. No. 1: 124–138. (In Russ.)

16. Sorokin P.S., Froumin I.D. (2020) “Structure-agency” problem in 21st century: social development and research implications. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. No. 7: 27–36. (In Russ.)

17. Sorokin P.S., Popova P.A. (2021) Classical and contemporary approaches to the study of solidarity: Challenges and perspectives under destructuration. Vestnik RUDN. Ser.: Sotsiologiya [RUDN Journal of Sociology]. Vol. 21. No. 1: 457–468. (In Russ.)

18. Toshchenko Zh.T. (2019) The precariat phenomenon: theoretical and methodological premises of its study. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. No. 9: 51–63. (In Russ.)

19. Toshchenko Zh.T. (2020) Report. In: Scientific notes of the FNSC RAS: 7–21. (In Russ.)

20. Weik E. (2011). Institutional entrepreneurship and agency. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour. Vol. 41. No. 4: 466–481.

21. Yanchar S C (2021). Concern and control in human agency. Theory & Psychology. Vol. 31. No. 1: 24–42.

Система Orphus