The Development of Soviet Sociology, 1956-1976

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Annual Review of Sociology



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The twenty-year history of Soviet sociology can be broken down into three periods. The first begins in 1956, extends into the early 1960s when the first sociological centers appeared throughout the country, and ends soon after the dismissal of Nikita Khrushchev in 1964. The second stage has as its high points the change of leadership in the SSA in 1966 and the establishment of the Institute of Concrete Social Research in 1968. The third and current stage of Soviet sociology is marked by the complete change of leadership in the upper-level staff of the Institute of Sociology during 1972-1974 and the subsequent reorientation of sociological research in the country.

The constraints of space do not allow a review of the various substantive contributions made by sociologists in post-Stalin Russia. Since the institutional development of Soviet sociology is the major concern of this essay, I concentrate primarily on those findings that shed light on the status of Marxism as a general sociological theory. A distinctive feature of Soviet sociological research is that, explicitly or implicitly, it strives to test hypotheses derived from Marx's theory. This historical union of Marxist theory and Marxist research is likely to remain the major legacy of the first decades of Soviet sociology.


Communism; Marxism and culture; Socialism; Sociology--Research; Soviet Sociological Association


Politics and Social Change | Quantitative, Qualitative, Comparative, and Historical Methodologies | Regional Sociology | Social Psychology and Interaction | Sociology | Sociology of Culture




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