The project by E. Afonin, O. Bandurka, and A. Martynov is referred to general
sociological elaborations, being rare at present, in the sphere of conceptual analysis of the world history, which attract a growing interest of the
scientific community after the crisis of the marxist and positivistic models. The authors are working at the intersection of the fundamental problems of
sociology, psychology, historical science, and social forms of economic development. Of importance is the separation of the analysis of transient processes,
key and critical points of the world history.
The project quite rightfully substantiates the look at post-modern as not only a
philosophical but generally cultural conception of the post-industrial epoch. In this connection, the question arises on the replacement of paradigms of the
theory of historical process. Here, the authors connect new possibilities with the methodology of synergetics as a science on the dynamical regularities of
interaction between order and chaos. It is shown that the social development moves neither in the direction of a growth of order (as O. Comte considered)
nor in the direction of degrees of freedom (H. Spencer) which requires a loosening of regular situations and creative possibilities of chaos, but is
defined by the evolution of dissipative structures which synthesize chaos and order in view of a growth of stability of social systems.
According to the synergetic methodology, the socium is embedded into cycles of various
hierarchies from cosmic processes to «long waves» of the economic development and vital activity of generations and individuals. A creative result of such an
approach lies in the separation of universal epochal cycles of the history as units of the social analysis of specific countries and regions.
By ideas of the authors of the project, universal epochal cycles are composed from
4 transformations: 2 normative states – involution and evolution, and 2 transient processes between them – co-evolution and revolution. As a merit of
the authors, we mention the empiric substantiation of 8 such universal cycles basing on the consideration, which is encyclopedic by its size, of facts of the
world history. Unfortunately, the authors use the own nontraditional terminology which can lead to misunderstanding at some points. For example, the
period covering I and II World Wars, cold war, the appearance of the People’s Republic of China, Islamic revolution in Iran, disintegration of the USSR and
Yugoslavia, etc. is called the «evolutionary stage» of the history. In fact, the term «evolution» in the project means not gradual transformational changes but
a development of innovative activity, freedom, etc., i.e., radical changes.
The authors promise to utilize the analysis of epochal cycles for solution of the
prognostic problems posed by contemporaneity, though it remains to be unclear what procedures and methods will be used for these purposes. But, to this end,
further investigations will be carried out.
On the whole, the project present a conception which is modern by orientation and
methodology, empirically balanced by material, heuristic by promised potentialities and deserves a support.
Doctor of Philosophical Sciences, Professor,
Honored Scientist of Ukraine
The appearance of a new conception concerning the complicated problems of scientific reflection of the social-historical development is a remarkable
event in the domestic social science.
By positively estimating the idea of the work on the whole, I emphasize the originality of the approach advanced by the authors’ team to analysis of the
world-wide historical process. The utilization of the idea of cyclicity, which is laid to the basis of the approach, is rather fruitful not only for general
studies in social science but for the economic analysis of world-wide processes.
The actualization of such an analysis is quite obvious under conditions of globalization of the economy and strengthening of tendencies to the formation
of the world economic system. In this context, the problem concerning the perspective of development of national states as components of the world
economy becomes acute. Authors’ research interdisciplinary conception is directed to a wide circle of the questions arising at the contemporary stage of
As very interesting, we consider the comparative basis of the study and its orientation, in particular, to the comparison of the data of economic
statistics in the frameworks of separate epochal cycles for countries-leaders of the historical process, on the one hand, and developing countries, on the
Economic indices can become a weighty complementary factor for the general conception of
social development which, after its publication by the Parliamentarian publishing house, can present an integral basis for elaboration of the whole
complex of studies of the humanitarian and social profiles within the declared paradigm.
At the same time, the reviewed conception gives a wide place for a substantial
discussion on actual fundamental-theoretical and prognostic-applied problems.
In view of the above-mentioned, this work deserves to be published to create the
critical mass of new ideas whose lacking makes it impossible to perform a qualitative break-through in the field of theoretical and applied social
Director of the Institute of International Business Cooperation,
Doctor of Economic Sciences, Professor
The age of the human history fixed in writing is about 5000 years, and the mystery
of the history as a quintessence of the unknown past, apparitional present, and undefined future remains to be sacral.
The open conception proposed by the authors’ collective is a rather successful
attempt to set a number of important problems of social development in the plane of determination, which has no, unfortunately, proper explanations. In
particular, the authors prove a basic possibility to develop a scientifically grounded prognosis of principal trends of development of the society.
By rejecting a vulgarly linear approach to the study of the historical process,
the authors skillfully use the idea of cyclicity, in particular by considering the development of the civilization, for construction of a periodization of
social-historical development within the conceptual model.
At the same time, it is worth to note that the chapter devoted to the choice of a
methodological tool for studying needs a further elaboration. This is especially important from the viewpoint of tasks of identification of objects,
whose investigation on the global, regional, and national-state levels requires a creation of the system of special empiric indices. It is the definition and
application of just this system of indices that can give, in my opinion, the possibility to the authors to implement an efficient verification of the
I say a few words about the applied meaning of the theoretical approach proposed
by the authors. First of all, the question is the possibility, in principle, to forecast main tendencies of development in a prescribed perspective. This is,
at present, a very important science-wide problem and a sharp need of national and world cultures. Second, the authors have presented, in fact, sketches of a
new paradigm of social-historical studies. Third, authors’ attempt of a hypothetical periodization of the world-wide historical process opens a real
possibility for realization of specific political-legal, economic, culturological, and philosophical scientific investigations.
A publication of the presented conception, indeed, can become an important step
to expansion of the discourse not only in the domestic social science. Under certain conditions, this conception would attract attention of representatives
of the foreign social science.
Head of the Committee
of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine
on Problems of Social Policy and Labour,
Doctor of Political Sciences, Professor
All who dare to give a new seeing of the two-millennium past history can be divided into three principal categories:
great reformers, encyclopedists, and adventurers.
Being acquainted with the creative potential of the authors, I surely assert that
they do not belong to the first and to the last. They are loyal followers of encyclopedists.
Their desire – to give a possibility to the distressful mankind to look at old dimmed
mirrors of its history in order that it could see a new outline of time – deserves a deep respect and all kinds of support.
The authors of the conception are advantageously distinguished by the feature which
was not seen in the others for a long time, namely, a brilliant expressive pride (in the best, positive sense of this word) setting in motion their
aspiration to present a new logic, a new Ariadne’s clue, to the XXI century for orientation in the labyrinths of social memory. Just this pride led the authors
to such an immodest desire. However, in my opinion, it is this quality that should characterize the conceptual reinterpretation of the Epoch, because the
Epoch requires an epochal (nonstandard, nontraditional, nonordinary, immodest) reinterpretation.
Such a conception has to get a chance and has a right to exist.
Candidate of Philosophical Sciences,
Member of the Union of Journalists of Ukraine
The idea of the research project «Social development AD» ripened in the authors’
collective during the last decade marked by radical changes in the world: downfall of the Berlin wall, disintegration of the USSR, subsequent economic decline in
new sovereign states of Central and East Europe, and, on the contrary, economic jump of «south-asian tigers».
A new social situation, first of all in the regions of the so-called transformation, its noncontrollable and nonpredictable, in many respects,
character, and the need in minimization of negative consequences of the transient period cannot help to stimulate a growth of interest in new
conceptual approaches and attempts to reinterpret the past, explain the present, and foresee the future. Imperceptibly, rather quickly, and
unconstrainedly, such terms as macroeconomy, world economy, geopolicy, geostrategy, globalization, international standards, all-mankind norms and priorities
enter into the common use of politicians of the countries in transition. New tendencies also actualize the problem of integral indices of social (personal
and social) development, without which any verification of appearing conceptual constructions is hardly possible.
Though the problem of integral indices in sociology remains unsolved, quite reassuring
perspectives have arisen, in out opinion, at the last time. In this connection, we mention numerous works performed at the Institute of Sociology of the NAS of
Ukraine in the 90s. From the first years of the existence of the Institute (October 1990), one observed the formation of scientific trends, unusual for
the soviet sociological school, such as «the theory of catastrophes», «social synergetics», «sociology of gender», «socionics», etc. Achievements of the
American and West European sociological thought found an increasing recognition there. All this together along with a growing activity of the Institute in the
fulfillment of empiric sociological studies and difficulties caused by a nonlinear character of transformational processes have transferred the problem
of integral indices directly into the plane of practical decisions. A rather large group of researchers was engaged by
its solution (Vorona V. M., Ruchka A. O., Golovakha E. I., Panina N. V., Saenko Yu. I., Donchenko O. A., et al.).
Among works devoted to the problem of integral indices, we mention the monograph by
Donchenko O. A. «Societal psychics» (1994), in which he substantiates a model of societal psychics, its intrinsic properties, states, and processes. Though
this work has met an ambiguous attitude, however, the societal indices grounded in it seem to be sufficiently productive. They are able, in our opinion, to
correctly describe typological «static» features of the socium (in a normative stable state) and to establish the presence of points of discontinuity in its
genesis – the «dynamics» (transient state).
Experiments performed by E. A. Afonin (1990-1999) became a certain supplement to the theoretical generalizations of Donchenko O. A. The
former were based on the projective psychodiagnostic test, developed by E. A. Afonin, with colour
preferences, which was approved on the random sampling of a volume of more than 1000 persons of both sexes, with various ages, education, and nationality in
Ukraine. Russia, Belorussia, and abroad. The test reveals a sufficient technological workability and efficiency in sociological polls carried out in
the frameworks of military-social investigations in the Armed Forces of Ukraine (1992-1995). A definite modification of the test ensures the realization of the
sociological monitoring in Ukraine from 1992, which has established the beginning (1994) of societal (system-wide) changes, situational (short-term)
formation of a rationalistic behavioural typology in the country (spring of 1995, 1996, 1998), and appearance (1999) of cuspidal tendencies related to the
withdrawal of Ukraine from the crisis. These circumstances allow one to solve a number of applied prognostic problems connected with elections of people’s
deputies of Ukraine, Head of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine of the third convocation, Kyiv’s mayor, and President of Ukraine. High technological
potentialities of the methodics open wide perspectives for it in solution of a number of traditional problems of the normative period (establishment of limits
for age categories – for optimization of budget social payments; harmonization of relations in social institutions; dynamization of the governmental policy,
The experiments performed and their results on the whole gave the necessary basis
for statement of the question on the application of the new procedure to the analysis of large social systems. The first attempt of such an analysis was
made in papers: «Development of Ukraine: macrosocial approach [in Ukrainian] // Viche. – 1996. – No.1. – P. 45-55; Ukraine – Europe – World: on the way
of co-evolution [in Ukrainian] // Visnyk Kharkiv. Derzh. Univer. – 1999. – No. 433. – P. 13-16. The most integral conceptual exposition of the idea of this
project was given in the final part of the scientific report «Social relativism or sociology of social changes» presented by one of the authors on October 22,
1998 at the conference hall of Vernadsky National Library of Ukraine (see Appendix 1). As a certain incentive to the beginning of an immediate
development, we mention the decision of two public organizations (Ukrainian Social Innovation Society and Atlantic Council of Ukraine) and Information and
Library Department of the Secretariat of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine to initiate works on realization of the idea of the project. According to the
adopted decision, the preparatory stage of development and, at the same time, the campaign on attraction of the attention of the scientific community
including the west one.
From the first steps of the project statement, its working group informs the scientific community in a proper way about the course of implementation of the
main idea. The project booklet (see Appendix 2) was spread among the institutes of the NAS of Ukraine and colleges of Ukraine. For the purpose of a search for
foreign partners, the project announcement was spread at meetings of the Section of libraries and research services of parliaments of the world in the
frameworks of the 65th Conference of the International Federation of Librarian Associations (August 1999, Bangkok, Thailand) and among the participants of the
Conference of correspondents of the European Center of Parliament Studies and Documentation (October 1999, Bern, Switzerland). Special letters were sent to
the Representatives of UNO in Ukraine and, in particular, the coordinator of the PRUNO project Mrs. Mridula Ghosh who expresses the readiness to render
support to this project. The composition of the working group is presented in Appendix 3.
We would like to say a few words about the general scheme of organization of our
The project includes two research blocks. The first is a historical-sociological
one. It constitutes the basis of the scientific direction, whose conception, properly, presented in this publication. The principal goals of this block
consist in a periodization of the historical process and its substantial analysis at the global (macro), continental (medi), and national-state (micro)
levels of analysis from the positions of the proposed approach. Here, the question is mainly the verification of systems of periodization, which are
constructed by using the ideas of universal epochal cycle of the social development. The analysis of the level of national-state formations is represented by the history of the following 50
Europe (Austria, Belorussia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, The Netherlands,
Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Ukraine, The United Kingdom, Yugoslavia);
Asia(Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China, India, Iran, Iraq,
Israel, Japan, Korea (North), Korea (South), Malaysia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Vietnam);
Africa(Algeria, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Libya, Nigeria,
South African Republic);
North America (Canada, Mexico, The United States);
South America (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Peru).
In this work, the authors do not pretend to create an absolutely exact chronology of cycles of the
historical development of countries, continents, and the world history. In the work, we only make attempt to illustrate potentialities of the approach. A
solution of the problem of historical periodization in the frameworks of the conception will become immediately possible only after the application of appropriate
procedures (elaboration of particular indices of development, their application, and systematization of results of the study),
The second block of the project will be composed from special investigations aimed at, on the one hand,
the analysis of behavior of individuals, small groups, generations, and the society on the whole as subjects of the historical process. On the other hand,
as an object of research interest, we take the evolution of the most important social institutions and spheres of vital activity. In particular, we will study
cycles of development of policy, economy, science, education, language, literature, arts (music, theater, architecture), etc. The working group of the
project will be engaged by coordination of such investigations and will promote the publication of the results received.
Thus, the second block of the project will comprise specific disciplinary investigations in the field of
social and humanitarian disciplines. At the beginning, we plan to initiate studies in the following directions:
Policy and power institutions (the analysis of cycles of development);
Armed Forces as an institution (the analysis of cycles of development);
Institutions of collective safety (the analysis of cycles of development);
Legal systems and traditions (the analysis of cycles of development);
Legal culture (the analysis of cycles of development);
Right-protecting institutions (the analysis of cycles of development);
Economy and economic institutions (the analysis of cycles of development);
Demography (the analysis of cycles of development of the models of reproduction of the
population; phenomena of the demographic transition);
Religion as an institution (the analysis of cycles of development);
Science as an institution (the analysis of cycles of development);
School as an institution (the analysis of cycles of development);
Library as an institution (the analysis of cycles of development);
Study of arts (music, theater, architecture – the analysis of cycles of development of the
Studies of language and literature (the analysis of cycles of development of the notions and
In the frameworks of particular research conceptions, we plan to develop methodological foundations,
to define a system of indices and information, and, on this base, to perform each of the objective-disciplinary investigations. It is, perhaps, the most
complicated part of the study in such directions, for example, as demography because the statistical data on censuses of population have a limited
historical depth (mainly, the XIX and XX centuries) and the total limits of the study are 2,000 years. In other words, difficulties in the provision of
objective investigations by statistical information require that participants of the project reveal much creative and inventive activity.
Note that both the verification and measurement of societal (system-wide) indices involve a
definite complexity. For example, it is known that the cost of a necessary empiric material according to the price list of the «Gellap-International»
company equals about 400,000 USD. Therefore, by seeking alternative variants, the research group plans a special complex of experimental works on approbation
of new Internet-technologies, in particular, organization of a separate web-site in the Internet. Such a site allows one to solve, on the whole, three
important problems: first, it will give the alternative way «to gather» empiric data; second, it will ensure the open communication between the involved
participants of the project; third, we obtain the perspective to edit the electronic specialized journal guaranteeing the operative publication and
discussion of the most substantial results received during the realization of this project.
Openness of the project supposes both a free access to solution of its problems and a support of
initiative researches on places. The working group of the project foresees an organizational assistance to similar investigations. On the web-site of the
project, we intend to organize a powerful informational support to research initiatives in the field of social globalistics. More exactly, we assume to
realize the informational-librarian support (the disposition of on-line librarian resources, data on authors, institutions, and countries carrying on
relevant investigations, publication of main results, conduct of conferences, discussions, etc.).
The authors of the basic conception and working group of the project express their sincere gratitude all
who promoted preparation and establishment of the project in various ways.
We thank the Expert Council of the Ukrainian Social Innovation Society, Secretariat of the
Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, Atlantic Council of Ukraine, Scientific Council of the University of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (Kharkiv), Institutes of
Sociology and History of Ukraine of the NAS of Ukraine, Parliamentarian Publishing House, whose constructive participation allows us to publish this
We are thankful to the companies «Socis-Gellap» and «GfK–USM» for the significant help in gathering
the empiric data during 8 years.
We thank the company «Clear Water» and Ukrainian foundation for law defence Institutions for
financial support this publication.
We should like to express our hope that the publication of our open conception will give a positive pulse
to a wide scientific discussion. Moreover, we expect to meet a constructive criticism which «comprehends» difficulties which were encountered by the
authors’ team and have led to the insufficiently rigorous form of presentation of the essence of the conception.
We ask to send propositions and remarks to the executive secretary of the project, Martynov Andrei
Yur’evich [off. tel. (380 44) 229-8704], and to the supervisor of the project, Afonin Eduard Andreevich [off. tel. (380 44) 226-2145; e-mail:
Social development at the boundary of millennia
Under the conditions of the planetary crisis, that has emerged on the eve of the
third millennium, the humanity is faced with the problem of globalization of transformational processes. Beginning as the «Great Depression» of 1929-1934 in
North-American and West-European countries, these processes received a new powerful impulse at the end of the XX century, by spreading their influence on
the countries of the Central and Eastern Europe and a significant part of Asia.
The new tendencies of social development and the problems of growth connected with
them, actualized the research activity of representatives of social sciences. For example, by the late 60s of the XX century, A. Peccei, a famous public
figure in Italy, organized the Rome Club that initiated systematic researches of global problems. The first report of this club, called «The limits of
development», has become a futurological sensation. Presented by D. Medows in 1972, at the peak of «Energetic crisis», this report pessimistically stated
that social forms within which the economic growth is realized, do not lead to the overall welfare but sharpen social antagonisms and conflicts.
Demographic problems, unemployment, incomplete exploitation of social and economic
potentialities of the society, deficit and irrational management of resources, inefficiency of various measures, inflation, lack of security and arms race,
pollution of the environment, and the destruction of biosphere – all these tendencies of a new stage of development were considered in the reports of the
Rome Club. No less pessimistic was Lindon Laroush’s forecast of the near future, related to the new wave of transformational
processes in the former USSR.
The globalization of threats may be the price paid by the humanity for its achievements. In the latter half of the XX century, the man landed on the Moon,
which can be compared to the discovery of America by Columbus. The technical-scientific revolution radically alters everyday life. The
achievements of genetics put the man in one line with the Creator, though the man is hardly ready to that fact morally. The Internet is transforming our
ideas of time and space.
In the frameworks of new tendencies of social development, we observe the steady establishment of the
liberal world economy system based on the principles of monetarism. At the same time against this self-intensifying background, the phenomenon of the so-called
“ trophy economy” is becoming remarkable, when the mechanism of overconsumption, not balanced with the adequate quantity of constructive
production, is gaining strength under the conditions of moral corruption.
The controversies of the industrial development remain actual. A particular anxiety is brought up, in particular, by inevitable climatic changes caused by
the extensive economic management and irreversible utilization of natural resources. The demographic factor is still fraught with the potential threat to
social development: as of December 12, 1999, the world population has reached 6 billion people, having risen by 1 billion for as little as 12 years.
Since the Gulf War of 1990-1991, the conflicts for redistribution of resources (natural, energetic,
economic, cultural, and informational) are again becoming the reality. In the process of political, economic, and social changes, which are one of the
manifestations of the essence of historical development, the new world policy is becoming more expansive. This fact is revealed by the recent events in
Kosovo (Yugoslavia) that took place in 1999. The countries of the advance-guard of social development have reached the
postindustrial stage of development by the end of the XX century, when human intellect and various forms of information are becoming the leading
factors of the reproduction of economy.
The new postindustrial epoch has given birth to its own ideology – post-modernism. This term was introduced at the
beginning of the 1980s by the French philosopher J.-F. Lyotard for the formalization of the phenomenon of skepticism relative to the rationalist
tendencies of Enlightenment. The «generic features» of post-modernism are: agnosticism, pragmatism, eclecticism, and anarchodemocratism.
post-modernism is the phenomenon of wide character, including all spheres of intellectual
activity. It is based on egalitarian tendencies, contraposed to any hierarchic constructions.
The emergence of post-modernism on the horizon of social development stimulated the
need in development of new paradigms, since post-modernism denies the very possibility of the social theory. Particularly, it concerns the problem of
forecasting the social development.
The history is permanently demolishing prognostic scenarios, however it has its own
logic. What was considered sane, was not historical, what was considered historical, was not sane. This can be reproduced by the social theory, that, of course, does not give
exhaustive knowledge of objective reality but allows us to distance ourselves from the absolute relativism.
The end of the millennium, the formal beginning of the new historical epoch, stimulates the imperative need of a substantially new paradigm of the social
theory. The history, being the existence in action, always goes beyond the narrow frame of temporal conceptual constructions in reality and, at the same time,
often denies socio-philosophical prognoses. That is why, the revision of existing concepts and prognoses of social development offered before becomes
actual. As known, futurological constructions are formed, as a rule, at a definite moment. With a change of the situation, rendering a substantial
influence on the foreseen tendencies, the gap between the foreseen and the real is widening. That is why, the noncomprehension of a new social-political
topology of the world becomes a source of faults and mistakes, a corollary of the absence of a future «far-horizon» project.
In this context, significant is the discussion on the role of the social science
in the contemporary world between former Presidents of the International Association of Sociologists I. Wallerstein and M. Archer. Whereas Wallerstein
poses a new global problem of highlighting the fact of the end of one epoch and the beginning of another one as well as various forms of the transition to the
latter, M. Archer accentuates the fact that the social science cannot play the role of radical transformer.
At the same time, the discussion of the correlation of Belief and Knowledge is
becoming actual for the western science. «There is no conflict between the religion and science in the East, since science is not based on the
predilection to facts, and religion – only on the belief; there exist the religious cognition and cognitive religion» – states Carl-Gustav Jung.
We emphasize the point that the society «goes through» radical social transformations in the transitional phase of development – the reform of social
structures, relations and correlations, hierarchy of factors, etc. which take an important part in the system of the reproduction of social life. The
processes of transitional conditions of social systems are followed by a sharp weakening of the influence of cause-effect relations which form the basis of
the rational method in science. From our point of view, the realization of this fact explains a drop in efficiency and, in some cases, unsoundness of both
scientific (rational) knowledge and the method of solving the task of overcoming the social crisis. Those are transitional periods (the times of
«disturbance» and crises) when one can observe the growing importance of the traditional knowledge and practices backing on the intuition, popular
orientations and methods, coming from ancient times, for solving vital tasks and for prognoses of the future.
It is obvious that the investigation of social development should be carried out
on the principles of integration of the ancient and temporary, traditional and innovative knowledge and methods, which only together are able to give the
adequate results under conditions of the transitional period of social development on the boundary of millennia.
The main scientific problem of the present research is the social development in
the spatio-temporal continuum.
As the object of our analysis, we take the life cycle of the society as a subject
of the historical process. We also shall investigate the genesis of societal processes, their characteristics and conditions.
We note that the analogous trend in social philosophy gives no any distinctive
criteria for the rational construction of a system of classification and periodization as integral elements of a scientifically grounded foresight. In
this connection, a new wave of the «traditional» discussion about progress is very significant. For example, A.Nazaratyan separates five through
tendencies (vectors) of changes (on sufficiently large temporal intervals):
1) rise of technologic power;
2) demographic growth;
3) intellectual development;
4) growth of organizational complexity;
5) enhancement of tolerance.
Such an approach to the progress is criticized by A. Korotaev. He states that we do
not know whether the humanity is approaching its apotheosis or abyss.
Indeed, the utilitarian ideal of progress formulated by Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) is as follows: the sum of individual profits gives the overall
profit – «the biggest happiness for the largest number of people».
But it still remains just a philosophical utopia for the largest part of the population over the world.
The theoretical constructions continue to be created at the corresponding levels of
abstraction upon the analysis of objects of various scales. It is necessary to remove the contradiction between the forms of development on the basis of the
formulated universal laws and all the variety of achievements of natural sciences. The question is the social science striving to become an exact
science normative for the political sphere, especially in the context of social engineering.
The solution of this main task should promote the attainment of the main objective
of this research – creation of a universal and, at the same time, applied model of epochal historical cycle as the unit of analysis and the means of
prognostics at the level of the specific countries, regions, and civilizations.
The research has a polydisciplinary character, which is related to the development
of the main concept of cyclicity of social development in the historical context.
The expected results, which are of hypothetical character prior to a receipt of
empiric data, may become a subject for further specific researches in the sphere of the sociology of history, social philosophy, politology, psychology,
right, geopolicy, philology, etc.
Thus, the contemporary macrosocial situation and the condition of theoretical
developments stimulate the formation of a new research paradigm of the social science on the basis of integral societal indices. Of course, unless the
corresponding empirical information is received, the offered concept is a hypothesis.
Problem of historical- sociological reflection
A historical-sociological conception is represented as a synthesis simultaneously containing the analysis
of the most important tendencies of development of specific countries and regions, interpretation of the contemporary epoch, and forecast of long-term
historical development. As is well known, the history of sociological science includes similar theories. In the period of the transition from a traditional to
industrial society, this problem was solved by the conceptions of O. Comte, E. Durkheim, and K.. Marx. A
detailed characteristic of the industrial society was given by M.. Weber,
and that of the post-industrial society by D. Bell, A. Toffler, and others.
We have already noted that, on the boundary of the third millennium, the global transformation stimulates
changes in the spiritual sphere, and actual problems become sharper due to a greater nonpredictability of behaviour of subjects of the historical process.
Similar social phenomena stimulate the necessity of harmonization of interdisciplinary scientific studies, new theoretical approaches, adequate
methodologies for analysis and forecast which would be relevant to the historical challenge.
Since the history of sociological thoughts is a pure source of principal ideas of the sociology of
history, we turn to the analysis of the state of scientific interpretation of the problem of social development.
This problem can be solved by considering the main conceptions of social development in the
historical context through the prism of problematic-chronological discourse, which allows one to show the self-identification of the main doctrines and a
scientific-critical dialog between them.
On the theoretical level, the basic contraversivity was already considered in the doctrines of O. Comte
(1798-1857) and Ch. L. Montesquieu (1689-1775). The latter, as distinct from O. Comte, did not trust in the idea of progress.
At the same time, Ch. L. Montesquieu advanced a fruitful idea on the influence of geographical environment on the social development and definition of a
historical situation. Here, we can find the origin of geopolicy and geoeconomy which, in the period of globalization, render a growing effect on the historical
situation not only in specific countries and regions but on development of the whole civilization.
As distinct from Ch. L. Montesquieu, O. Comte was a supporter of the idea of unity
of the whole history of the mankind, because the single intention of the history consists in the progress of human intellect.
Therefore, sociology should be a system of positive knowledge on the society. One of the moving forces of the history was a disorder of thinking at every
individual historical stage. The process of development was described by O. Comte in terms of «statics» and «dynamics». The last is characterized as a
sequential change of the necessary stages of establishment of the human intellect and society for attainment of a static state, i.e., social order.
Therefore, progress is comprehended as a development of the rational in persons. As for the progress of a society, O. Comte connected it with the
evolution of social (human) consciousness, the sequential change of three dominating types of outlook:
1)theological one, when the leading tendency of social development is the competitiveness
between religious ideas and an originating scientific knowledge;
2)metaphysical one, which characterizes speculative-philosophical consciousness;
3)eventually at the highest stage, the scientific positive consciousness and positive style
of thinking are established. This is related with the well-known optimistic aphorism of O. Comte about the creative role of science: «To know in order to
foresee, and to foresee in order to be able».
The positivistic tradition, beginning from O. Comte, is connected with ideas of social engineering, i.e., a more or less conscious definition of the vector of
The all-embracing conceptualization of the history was developed by Hegel who
considered the historical process as that of establishment of the notion of freedom.
The most characteristic doctrine during establishment of the evolutionary-materialistic approach to the history was that of K.Marx
(1818-1883). In the marxist conception, the history is considered as a progressive natural-historical process of variations in and change of
social-historical formations. This mechanism was formulated as follows: «Every social formation does not die until all productive forces, for which it
presents a sufficient place, will have developed, and no new higher production relations appear until the material conditions for their existence in the midst
of the very old society will have ripened».
Such an evolutionary approach became a theoretical foundation of the activity of social democracy.
On the other hand, we recall that Marx inferred in the work «Lui Bonaparte’s brumaire, 18»: all previous revolutions improved the state apparatus, but it should
be broken for the sake of establishment of the dictatorship of proletariat. Class struggle is already represented as a moving force of the history. Such a
revolutionary marxism became a practical guide to action in countries with outdated rhythm of industrialization. However, the appearance of the socialist
system after the II World war, which included the USSR and its satellites, did not become «the end of the pre-history». At the same time, the dogmatization of
the social-philosophical theory of marxism dealed a fatal blow at it. On the other hand, the new phase in development of the industrial society, which was
related with marginalization of the class structure where the proletariat formally represented a major part, has transformed the social structure of
countries being in the advance-guard of the historical process.
The comprador capitalism in developing countries did not create a proletariat in
the classical marxist sense of this term. Similar tendencies limited the creative potential of marxism, though impetuous events in the second half of
the XX century (for example, youth riots in the Western Europe in 1968) allowed one to say about neo-marxism for some time. In the former USSR up to the period of «perestroika» (1985-1991), the severe
ideological control gave no possibility to freely develop even for a nonorthodoxal marxist thinking. The flow of denunciatory literature did not
allow one to separate cereals from weeds. In fact, neo-marxist theoretical investigations were terminated without any real start. One of the last attempts
was the book of S. Platonov, where the author comprehends the notion of communism and seeks for an answer to the rhetorical question about what can
occur after communism. He analyzes the development of the mankind from the pre-history, i.e., the epoch of estrangement, through the epoch of destruction
of private property, every of the production means of which is a stage of withdrawal of one of the layers of estrangement, to the epoch of «positive
humanism», a free association of universally developing individuals.
The notion of historical process in the materialist tradition is based on the
stadial interpretation of the human history as a unit global process of development and change of formations. In the marxist paradigm, there were yet
no attempts to theoretically explain the contemporary social situation of breaking the soviet model of socialism. This testifies to that marxism remains
on pages of the history but on the periphery of an actual scientific discourse related with the positivistic solution of the problem of social engineering.
Comte’s positivistic tradition was developed by the English sociologist and philosopher
H. Spencer (1820-1903) who connected sociology with the idea of evolution. The basis of his conception was the analogy of state with biological organism.
Similarly to a biostructure, a state has its own life circle: birth, growth, ageing, and
downfall. This idea was developed by O. Spengler
who considered the historical fate of the European civilization and by L.N.Gumi-lev who analyzed
On the boundary of the XIX-XX centuries, a positivistic interpretation of social
mechanisms was presented by E. Durkheim (1858-1917). The main idea of his conception reduces to a search for social harmony under objective conditions of
division of social labour. As distinct from Marx who accented attention on the estrangement of a worker from results of his/her work under conditions when
division of labour is based on private interests, Durkheim considered this problem from the viewpoint of relations between the individual and group. Since
collectivistic societies are historically primary, the individual arises from the society but not the society from individuals. Social mechanisms are regulated
by a search for the harmony of agreement. Moreover, organic solidarity is caused by labour division. From the methodological viewpoint, it is worth to note the approach of Durkheim
to the definition of social roles.
The absolutization of rationalization and the linear progressive theory are opposed by the conception of W. Pareto
(1848-1923). Whereas O. Comte considered the evolution of the man, on the whole, as the motion from fetishism to positivism through the theological
and metaphysical stages regardless of certain delays, these four images of thinking, according to Pareto, normally interact at various levels in all the
time. For the whole mankind, there is no obligatory transition from one type of thinking to another in the form of a single and irreversible process, but there
are transient oscillations, defined by societies and classes, relative to the influence of each of these means of thinking. It follows that definite tasks related to the development of the society are
solved at specific historical stages through a change of governing elites. New elites are formed from lower strata, flourish, and then decline. The idea of cyclicity becomes pivotal for the social theory.
The rationalistic conception of M. Weber (1864-1920) approaches the history and
sociology not as two different disciplines but as a whole methodological system. In his study, the historian aspires to define a causal significance of
various elements having created a unique conjuncture, but the sociologist tries to establish interconnections (in their temporal sequence) which were observed
many times or can repeat. On the boundary of the XXI century, the discourse of social-historical
reflection remains open.
Idea of cycles in the context of periodization of social development
The object of conceptual analysis is the life cycle of the society as a subject of
the historical process. This allows one to create an universal applied model of epochal historical cycle as the means of analysis and prognosis at the level of
the history of the whole world, separate continents, and countries.
The idea of cyclicity is characteristic of the sociologic theory of Pitirim Sorokin who investigated social phenomena common
for all social-cultural phenomena repeating in time and space.
Sorokin suggested the following division of the rhythms of cultural changes of the European history into periods: