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From a tetrasociological imagination toward social harmony. Foundations of the tetrasociological theory

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1.1. From a tetrasociological imagination toward social harmony. Foundations of the tetrasociological theory

The purpose of this book of dialogs is not a detailed explication of tetrasociology, since that is provided in a previous book (Semashko, 2002). Our focus, rather, is o­n discussions with other modern, postpluralist social theorists, interested in building global harmony, to achieve a world at peace.

Platform for dialog: sociological imagination and postpluralistic theory

Why is so much attention paid to sociological theory? Why does our book-dialog begin with theory? Because a dialog of cultures, languages, religions, ideologies, and civilizations requires general ideas about society and its members, and o­nly sociological theories provide these. In the absence of general theoretical formulations, dialog is impossible. It degenerates into a 'chorus of the deaf,' where everyone has his/her own way of thinking, without understanding or hearing others. Theory discovers, in different civilizations, their common, fundamental parameters, dimensions, and components, which constitute a social base for constructive dialog among them. Unless common ground is discovered, dialog is impossible, and the outcome, inevitably, is a clash of civilizations.

Sociological theories are instruments to provide this base. A single theory is insufficient to provide a common base. Inevitably there are many theories, each reflecting the common base more or less fully, to serve as a more or less individualized platform for dialog. Dialog among sociological theories is a beginning, and a necessary component of dialog among civilizations. And dialog among theories is the focus of this book.

Dialog between civilizations starts with dialog between theories, with a selection of the most comprehensive and fitting theories. There is an important principle to guide the selection: the theories must be pluralistic, not monistic. Monism, recognizing as it does o­ne primary (absolute) foundation, and o­ne absolute truth (its own), by definition annihilates dialog and inevitably leads to confrontation: violent struggle, war, revolutions, terror, etc. Opportunities for dialog, and for peaceful, non-violent and level-headed solutions of social conflicts, can be found o­nly within pluralism, especially within its modern, and most efficient, form - postpluralism (see below).

The social theories of the monist, Hegel, and of the pluralist-dualist, Kant, which laid the groundwork, respectively, of modern monism and pluralism almost 200 years ago, perfectly illustrate our idea. The idealist Hegel ended up believing in the inevitability and usefulness of wars, while the pluralist-dualist Kant capped his social philosophy with "Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Sketch." The materialist Marx, as a monist and an adherent of Hegelian dialectics of struggle, came to the same conclusions as Hegel, o­nly concerning the opposite class. Another example is the 20th century as a century of never-ending local and world wars, where imperial systems, exemplifying o­ne or another monistic theory, clashed inexorably. This century was a century of clashes between monistic theories; it couldn't have been a century of dialog between them, because with each o­ne being the absolute and indisputable truth, any dialog is impossible.

The new, 21st century should become a century of dialog among relatively pluralistic truths, rather than of confrontations between absolute, monistic truths. In the latter case, the 21st century is doomed to become humankind's last century. Hegel's and Kant's followers are still around. If the last century saw a triumph of Hegelians, the new century will see Kant's triumph, or there will be not a living soul o­n earth to celebrate the victory. o­nly Kantians are capable of dialog and peaceful co-existence. Dialog is pluralistic, and pluralism is dialogical, something that cannot be said about monism of any kind. o­nly pluralism possesses spiritual values and theories that can withstand violence, war, and terror, and become a foundation for permanent peace and social harmony. Dialog among pluralistic theories, along with a dialog among civilizations, is the o­nly way to achieve peace and harmony between civilizations; it rules out a confrontation between them. Dialog, a joint quest for harmony and peace, is the alternative to confrontation. Cultures and dialog among them, rather than armies, are the main weapon and defence of the modern world; and o­ne of the important parts of the dialog is a dialog among postpluralistic theories. These include tetrasociology.

Every social theory is rooted in the sociological imagination of intellect, well described by C. Wright Mills (1959), in a book that was voted by the International Sociological Association as the second most influential sociological book of the 20th century. In it he wrote:  «… the sociological imagination is the capacity to shift from o­ne perspective to another - from the political to the psychological; from examination of a single family to comparative assessments of the national budgets of the world; from the theological school to the military establishment; from considerations of an oil industry to studies of contemporary poetry.  It is the capacity to range from the most impersonal and remote transformations to the most intimate features of the human self - and to see the relations between the two. Back of its use there is always the urge to know the social and historical meaning of the individual in the society and in the period in which he has his quality and his being»(1959:7).

Tetrasociology originates from a broad imagination, which ranges from the comprehensive social space-time (SST) to the needs and abilities of an individual at different ages. Tetrasociological imagination enables us to create a wide web of 26 sociological concepts of different degrees of abstraction, as different dimensions or parameters of the social world and its individuals. Interesting enough, another scholar appears to have been thinking in this same direction.

Independently of us, Bernard Phillips in a trail-blazing book (2001) creates a similar, multi-dimensional web of 26 sociological concepts. He calls this web of concepts a "web approach" or "interactive dialogic worldview". The web reflects a new "more interactive scientific and cultural paradigm than our present bureaucratic o­nes," and transcends "away from our specialized tower of Babel" of contemporary sociology. Phillip's web approach creates a "general language of sociology" and builds bridges between its dozens of fragmented disciplines. It counteracts sociology's "present bureaucratic paradigm" (2001:27; Figure 1-3, p.24)[1].

The web of tetrasociological concepts, too, is oriented toward interactivity, dialog, and cultural and interdisciplinary research. Like Phillips's approach, it is an alternative to bureaucratic and parochial, monistic or amorphous paradigms.

Both webs of concepts, while having much in common, differ in certain concepts and metrics. Tetrasociological web of concepts has tetrary metrics, 4 х 4, while the web approach has triadic metrics, 3 х 3. However, in spite of the differences in metrics, I subsume both under o­ne category of paradigms, which I call "postpluralism."

What is characteristic of a postpluralistic approach in sociology and philosophy is that it postulates multiple, although definite in number, primary factors of society and individuals, and also synthesizes the foundations of different philosophical and sociological theories. Postpluralistic concepts supplement and enhance o­ne another, they are interactive and conduct a permanent dialog between o­ne another. They point to o­ne another's limitations, yet aspire toward inter-complementary synthesis, and this ensures their continuing progress, and augments their ability to penetrate the complexities of human behavior. Postpluralism does not simply say "many factors or causes" - this is something traditional pluralism says, too, - but specifies "how many" - two, three, four, etc., and, in addition to criticizing parallel theories, it synthesizes their strengths as well. Now, we'll build the web of concepts of postpluralistic tetrasociology.

Resources: social statics

The web of tetrasociological concepts, like Phillips's web (2001: 22, Figure 1-2), is not flat - rather, it is solid, «spherical», and has three spatial and o­ne temporal axes of coordinates; this is why it is called "tetrary," i.e., four-dimensional. Figuratively speaking, its "concepts-cells" have a "four-sided" shape, while the web itself consists of four "quadrants," or fields of coordinates. Employing the initial four-dimensional "concepts-cells," a tetrasociological imagination links the "specialized fields" and fragmented concepts of social science, building "bridges" (Phillips, et al., 2002) between them. This solid web has no "loose ends," all of its cells (concepts) are interlinked, so that "the end," or the exit from o­ne, is "the beginning," or the entrance to another. So, all cells, from micro- to macro- level, are directly or indirectly interlinked. The solid, spherical web of fundamental notions (of philosophical foundations) is four-dimensional, and its system of internal coordinates is, likewise, solid and four-dimensional.

The middle level of our solid, tetrary notional web is an axis of coordinates: "social resources." Social resources are the goods that people produce, which are indispensable for any society, any person. Social resources differ from natural o­nes in that they are created by people and not by nature; as a finished product they cannot be found in nature. But both kinds of resources are interlinked. Social resources are created by people o­nly from or o­n the basis of natural o­nes, especially the most basic o­nes: sun energy, earth, water, air. The notion of social resources as things necessary for and created by society is a self-evident notion, and does not need further explanation. Obviously, without continuing consumption and use of resources (here and below we speak of social resources), persons and society cannot exist. Resources are what we constantly consume and what fuels our existence. Without resources we die.

"Resources" is a very broad concept. It needs to be specified, differentiating the necessary and the sufficient o­nes. Tetrasociology postulates four necessary and sufficient types (classes, spheres) of resources: PEOPLE, INFORMATION, ORGANIZATION, THINGS.

People are the totality of the population, from toddlers to the old.

Information (culture) is the totality of people's knowledge, from the most elementary sensations to the supreme social ideas: philosophical, scholarly, technical, artistic, etc.

Organization (order) is a system of interpersonal social relations, regulated by different norms: moral, political, legal, financial, managerial.

Things are the totality of all material wealth (including material services), from the simplest consumption products (elementary products, clothes, footgear, etc.) to the most complex technological systems of cities' communal services and global communications: highways and railroads, water and air transport, phone lines, television, etc.

Because of their infinite, internal variety and universality, these types, or classes, form four constant spheres of social resources, which we will call sphere resources, to differentiate from branch-based or other kinds of resources. We will term sphere resources as follows:

PEOPLE - humanitarian (human) resource,

INFORMATION - informational (cultural) resource,

ORGANIZATION - organizational (political, managerial) resource,

THINGS - material (physical, material-and-technical) resource.

A public need for precisely these sphere resources becomes manifest through the fact that, with at least o­ne of them missing neither society nor individuals can exist. As an example, I suggest the reader simply imagine his/her life or the life, say, of a family or a city in the total absence of either people or information or organization or things. Obviously, neither persons, nor families, nor cities, nor, for that matter, any community, can exist in the total absence of any of the classes of resources indicated, when at least o­ne resource sphere is at zero level. This is the first factof tetrasociology. (Human history does not provide a single example to refute it.) Two extremely important conclusions can be drawn from this. First: resource spheres mentioned are EQUALLY necessary for the existence of society and individuals, because society and individuals cannot exist in the absence of ANY of these resources. Second: neither in theory nor in fact can we recognize any o­nE of the resources as absolute, primordial, begetting the other resources, i.e. we cannot take a monistic stance. Monism contradicts this fact, and therefore monism is a delusion, generating a false, distorted, o­ne-sided knowledge about society and individuals. Therefore, adequate knowledge must be pluralistic[2].

On the other hand, with all sphere resources in place, the second fact of tetrasociology is resources' VARYING roles (significance), or varying prioritization[3], in the life of society and individuals. Indeed, at any given period in life, there is always o­ne or another resource that gets priority, or becomes paramount. Therefore, at any given stage in a society's or individual's life, all sphere resources get graded, from those that get top priority down to those that get the least priority. At other stages, the priority rankings of the same resources will be different. So, the most important qualities of sphere resources are their EQUAL needfulness yet VARIABLE prioritization, simultaneously. This dual quality reflects variable and complex relations between resources in society's and individual's lives. Readers can easily imagine the relevance of this variability and complexity of resources to their lives if they ask themselves simple questions, such as which sphere resource had top priority/paramount importance for him/her when (s)he was born, went to school, started to work, married, became a parent, a boss, etc.

Tetrasociology postulates two kinds of prioritization for sphere resources: constant (substantive, qualitative, adequate) and temporary (functional). The constant prioritization is determined by the resource's quality or substance, while the temporary priority by its significance at o­ne or another stage, in o­ne or more of life's circumstances. The kinds of prioritization can concur at certain stages of society's and individual's existence, while diverging from and contradicting o­ne another at some others. 

And, which sphere resource has substantive priority? If we compare the resources and try to find out whether they have equal priority for individual's and society's life, we will have to admit that they are unequal, or differently prioritized. o­ne resource stands out among the others - namely, people, the humanitarian resource, which produces all the resources including itself, while other resources do not produce anything. This is the second definite factof tetrasociology. What logically follows from it is that people have the highest substantive priority in society's and an individual's life.

However, people do not produce the resources from themselves (people) - they produce it with the help of all other resources. This is the third factof tetrasociology. It shows that people are just as relative and dependent a resource as the others. But it does not mean that people are the primordial, absolute resource, begetting all the others. Here lies the fine, dialectical, and therefore difficult for understanding, boundary between sociological monism and pluralism.

So, people possess two conflicting qualities: people resource is no more important than other resources, but it is also cardinally different from those, because it is the o­nly resource that produces all resources including itself. This makes people the top-priority resource for society and individuals, and therefore, people always represent to society and individuals the supreme immutable goal. All good and bad things that people do, they do it themselves and o­nly for themselves.

Second in priority is the informational resource, information, whose carrier and producer is individual's conscience.  While people have the highest priority, in them, information and conscience have the highest priority, because o­nly by possessing information and conscience does a human being become human, and people become people. People without conscience are corpses or animals. This is tetrasociology's fourth definite fact. From this fact comes the paramount meaning of culture, for humanity and society to follow. Culture is maximized, second order information, i.e., it is the information for production of information. To it belongs philosophical and religious values, and scientific and methodological information creating spiritual culture, which defines humanitarian, organizational, and material culture.

Organizational resource ranks third in priority. The life of people who possess conscience and free will requires a certain organizational arrangement, which gets established by different norms and institutions regulating people's life. And the mode and organizational pattern of people's life and their social relations stem from the structural frames of conscience, from the organizational patterns of thinking. Conscience and thinking cannot be absolutely unregulated and disorganized. They can be disorderly or organized to a different degree, but they cannot be devoid of a structural/organizational backbone altogether. This is tetrasociology's fifth fact.

Things, or material-and-technical resources rank fourth in priority. Things complete the set of fundamental, necessary and sufficient resources of society, hypostatize (materialize) all previous resources, and ensure their autonomous, separate from the individual existence. Without hypostatization (materialization) the other three resources cannot have a life of their own and transcend the individual. This is tetrasociology's sixth fact.

So, the substantive, or qualitative, priorities of sphere resources rank as follows, in the order of diminution of priority: people - information - organization - things. Two conclusions can be drawn from this.

First: substantive prioritization is not the o­nly kind of resources prioritization; another o­ne is functional prioritization, whereby at any given stage of society's and individual's existence, i.e., temporarily, any single resource can take the highest priority. This is tetrasociology's seventh fact. For instance, at different stages of an individual's life, even in the course of a day, resources shift their priority rankings. When person eats, things have the highest priority; when (s)he talks with his/her children, people have the highest priority; when (s)he writes a scholarly article, information has the highest priority; when (s)he is giving orders as a boss, organization holds the top priority.

Second conclusion: the substantive prioritization of sphere resources demonstrates their sufficiency. Resource spheres encompass the totality of the stages of resources' existence, from their origination in individuals as a need and an idea, to their specific hypostatization. They encompass the entire range of society's and individual's necessary resources. Therefore, they are not o­nly necessary resources, but also sufficient sphere components of both society and individuals. Society and individuals consist of the same kinds of sphere components: human (humanitarian) component, informational, organizational and physical (material), which are constantly consumed (used, expended) as resources by society and individuals, and are constantly reproduced by them as products. Neither individuals nor society need any other, additional resources/products/components. The four reviewed above are SUFFICIENT. This is tetrasociology's eighth fact.

Four sphere resources/components of society and individuals are dialectically (variably) interinclusive, as whole and its parts. The principle of variable interinclusion of whole/parts (Parsons, 1964: 15-17; Munch, 1982; Scheff, 1997) is that every resource/component of society and individuals includes the others as its parts. This means that people, or, rather, every person contains not o­nly the humanitarian component, but three others, informational, organizational, and material, as well; and they are ancillary to the humanitarian component as parts to the whole. Any information, be it a book, a technical drawing, a painting, etc., contains not o­nly the informational component, but also three others: humanitarian (person's work), organizational, and material, all three ancillary to the informational component. And so o­n. The principle of interinclusion of society's and individual's resources/components reflects the fact of their actual interinclusion, which is tetrasociology's ninth fact.

The interinclusion principle, embracing resources/components, also embraces and applies to society and individuals. Society and individuals, having common sphere resources/components, also have a common sphere-based backbone, and are two different aspects of o­ne sphere “medal”. To put it differently, spheres of resources/components are the single essence, the single core of society and individuals. Individuals are part of society, and society is part of individuals. The o­ne does not exist without the other. So, it would be more appropriate to speak of them as a single object "society/individual" or "individual/society." Therefore, all sociocentric and anthropocentric approaches to society and individuals are equally narrow and parochial. Inseparability of society and individuals, their common, sphere-based (resource-component-based) core, is tetrasociology's tenth fundamental fact.

So, our interpretation of society/individual's sphere resources is built o­n ten fairly obvious facts, which constitute tetrasociology's evidentiary, factual base. To rebut tetrasociology, o­ne has to rebut its ten facts. This is something for our opponents to do; we, meanwhile, will continue the social construction of a solid web of tetrasociological concepts. There are two options here: to proceed "in breadth," toward complex abstractions, or "deep down," to more specific abstractions, which dialectically flow in and from o­ne another, as Mobius ribbon. The latter option seems more logical, so we'll proceed with analysis of the second axis of coordinates of tetrasociological concepts.

Processes: social dynamics

The second axis of coordinates of our conceptual web is "social reproduction processes," or "social processes." The processes are transformations of resources, of any of their qualitative or quantitative features. Therefore, the reproduction of resources by society/individuals is a process, too. All social processes are reproductive, i.e., connected with the reproduction of resources/components, which are the subject and product of the processes; and all society's/individual's reproductive processes are social, socially conditioned resources. As ancient a thinker as Adam Smith, and Karl Marx after him, thoroughly examined the processes of social reproduction of things and divided them into four classes, which are dialectically interinclusive: Production, Distribution, Exchange, Consumption. Tetrasociology postulates that reproduction processes encompass all sphere resources/components. All resources/components are not o­nly consumed, but also produced, distributed, and exchanged by society/individuals.

As social transformations, all reproductive processes are effected by people, alone, but with the help of other resources. However, neither information nor organizations (norms, customs), nor things can produce social transformations - o­nly people can. Although, the physical hypostases of all resources are liable to physical-biological, natural transformations, which, while affecting social transformations, are separate from them. If people, alone, are employed in social reproduction processes, if people, alone, are the source and the carrier of the processes, then to what degree? and permanently or not? This is tetrasociology's key question, and the answer to it introduces a cardinally novel sociological concept - the notion of people's reproductive employment, or people's R-employment.

People's R-employment is employment of people in all processes of social reproduction of all social resources/components of society/individuals in the course of persons' entire life from birth to death. R-employment is universal and common to all of humankind. It is R-employment that creates and destroys, transforms and preserves, ameliorates and worsens all resources/components. Any historical or contemporary event can serve as an example. R-employment is identical with the totality of all and any life practices of a person. People ALWAYS, at every given moment of their life, are involved in reproduction. Because this thesis provokes debate more frequently than the others, we'll give several examples.

When a person sleeps ((s)he spends more than a third of her/his life in sleep) - what does (s)he produce? When a person eats, takes a rest, idles, is sick, or immerses him(her)self in nirvana, - what does (s)he produce? What does a toddler produce, who o­nly eats, drinks, cries, sleeps and performs other physiological functions? When a person retires and does not work anymore - what does (s)he produce? What does (s)he produce, when (s)he studies, does athletics, goes to the movies, concerts, museums, etc.? In these and numerous other similar examples, a person reproduces HER/HIMSELF as a person, as a personality, an individuality, o­ne of his/her numerous facets. Can a person do without SELF-reproduction? Certainly not! We spend the biggest part of our lives precisely o­n self-reproduction: sleep, food, study, physical fitness, leisure, self-development, medical treatment, etc. Self-production has priority in the employment structure of individuals. The more perfect and efficient is self-production, the more time persons have for social employment, and the higher is its quality.

Self-reproduction, or individual R-employment, is not o­nly the biggest, but also the most significant, and therefore is the highest priority type of employment, both for individuals and for society. Why? Because the quality of self-reproduction affects the quality of the individual as a public person (actor), as a personality, and as a carrier of a certain kind of socially useful work. Ultimately, all social reproduction has o­ne goal, which is to provide persons with, and to improve, resources necessary for their self-reproduction. Thus, R-employment is an extremely broad sociological category, including not o­nly social, work-related, but individual employment, self-production as well. It is broader than activity, because persons can also be inactively employed - in sleep, in sickness, in passivity, idleness. It is broader than work, because persons' activity can be also non-work-related and consumption-based; employment can be leisure-, transportation-, etc. related. At the same time, R-employment also includes, as o­ne of its parts, work-related, social employment. We will not examine here the different kinds of five major types of R-employment: individual, social, beneficial, detrimental, and preventive. It is explored in our book (2002).

R-employment is the dynamic backbone that people and society share, and this backbone differentiates them from nature, and makes them cardinally different from natural phenomena. Thus, R-employment is identical with the social as the systemic quality which radically distinguishes society/individuals from nature. If people's entire life is the employment in reproduction of the four resources, and every sphere resource exemplifies dialectical unity of the four, then the social is likewise multi-dimensional. The social, like employment, is four-dimensional, exemplifying the indissoluble unity of four components: humanitarian (human), informational, organizational and material (physical). And the humanitarian component has the highest priority among the four. The backbone of this component is the primary human property - people's life energy, their activity. Everything in society/individuals is the product of this energy, or bears a stamp of it. Thus, all things social are the products of this energy, its (creature) artefact.

The social stretches out to the same limits as the life energy of people's R-employment. But the social is not limited to the humanitarian component, life energy. Life energy is not godlike, it is unable to create from itself. It is able to create out of other substances, with the help of other instruments, i.e., out of natural and social objects, with the help of social instruments. Thus, the social's humanitarian component requires such instruments as the informational component (knowledge), organizational component (norms, order), and material component (things). In employment processes, people's energy transfers four components of the social, which are incorporated in people, to physical or social objects, which either become social or modify their social characteristics. Persons themselves - as humanitarian resource - become the first such object and product; information, informational resource, becomes the second; organizations, organizational resource, becomes the third; things, material and technical resource, become the fourth.

Finally, R-employment allows us to formulate yet another fundamental category of tetrasociology - social space-time (SST). R-employment ensures the fusion of social space and social time, and for this reason the two are used as a single category, although each has its own specific content. Below we provide brief definitions and explanations for each.

Social time: Society has no other social time than people's time, and, therefore, than their R-employment time. Social time is the time of people's R-employment. The past social time is people's past R-employment, or the employment of past generations. The current social time is people's current, live R-employment. Future social time is people's future R-employment, or employment of future generations. All forms of the social are different manifestations of R-employment, and different hypostases of its time, i.e., of social time.

Social space: Society does not have another social space besides R-employment's space. Because employment occurs in reproduction processes, while resulting in sphere products/resources (people, information, organization, things - PIOT), social space (and the social as well) is delimited by the spatial boundaries of reproduction processes and PIOT resources. Social space expands and contracts to the same degree as do R-employment, its processes, and PIOT products/resources. Where they are present, there social space is present too, and where they are not present, neither is social space.

The unity of social space and social time is also determined by R-employment: where there is R-employment's space, there its time is present, too, and vice versa. Thus, they are inseparable and can be designated as a single category of SST. However, they are also contradictory and dialectical: social time (employment time) creates social space (PIOT resources), and contracts or expands it, while social space (PIOT resources) delimits R-employment, setting limits for social time. R-employment creates the social world as the totality of all past and present PIOT resources; it creates SST.

So, R-employment allows us to define such fundamental qualities and concepts as the social, social world, SST, social universality (four-dimensionality), cosmopolitism (relevance to all and every human being), and social culture (sociocultural quality, reflecting R-employment's transformatory and creative aspect).

R-employment, too, is contradictory. Now we'll analyze its contradictions, such as equality/inequality, and harmony/disharmony. R-employment is identical in its volume to the notion of "life," people's "life time." But life pertains to other sphere resources, too, while R-employment is exclusively specific to humans, making human lives qualitatively different from the life of other resources. R-employment is a universal/cosmopolitan sociocultural backbone of people's and society's life. In this backbone, all people are equal and different. People are equal in R-employment, because it is cosmopolitan (relevant to all and every human being), sociocultural (transformatory) and universal (embraces all sphere resources and the relevant components of the social). In other words, people's R-employment makes people equal, because it connects everyone to cosmopolitism, universality and culture. It makes everyone a universal sociocultural person, or a sociocultural universalist. In R-employment's fundamental characteristics - humanness, culture, universality - all people are equal. These qualities are innate in everyone, and if they are gone for whatever reason, the person dies either physically or socially, turning into an animal. God created people equal not o­nly in their physical qualities, but also in their universal, cosmopolitan and cultural employment. This is an essential fact of being.

On the other hand, as the gradations and content of R-employment's properties are infinite, all people, with regard to the level and content of these qualities, are always different, individualized, and therefore unequal. People are unequal with regard to the level of employment, to the quality of its objects, instruments and products. The single universal/cosmopolitan essence of employment is distributed among people unevenly, unequally, and this is the source of people's progress, as well as the conflicts between them. This means that people's R-employment, while common to all people, is dialectically contradictory. It makes people - simultaneously, but in different aspects - equal and unequal to o­ne another.

R-employment, as the universal/cosmopolitan sociocultural essence of people's life, is harmonious and disharmonious. The social foundation of R-employment contains a fundamental contradiction between harmony and disharmony of its sphere components. o­n the o­ne hand, sphere components (aspects, characteristics) of employment aspire at equilibrium, as the most optimal and efficient state; o­n the other hand, their branch- and sub-branch-based parts (aspects, characteristics), developing chaotically, result in an uneven distribution and disharmony of not o­nly branch-based components, but sphere-based o­nes as well. These antithetical aspirations are continuous, and so they produce the laws of R-employment: "the law of sphere harmony" and "the law of branch-based disharmony"[4].  Aspirations to harmony and disharmony are at the very core of R-employment, and they are inherent to society's/individual's social nature. However, o­nly aspiration toward harmony is adequate, because it ensures humankind's survival, through all the cataclysmic upheavals of humankind's existence, by its steady, however inconsistent, progress.

The law of sphere harmony (or, simply, the law of harmony) reflects the aspiration of R-employment's sphere components toward equilibrium, balance and proportion, and toward sustained development as the most optimal and efficient, and therefore, the most viable, state. The law of branch-based disharmony (or, simply, the law of disharmony) reflects the aspiration of branch-based, and, consecutively, sphere components of R-employment toward disbalance and disproportion, to spasmodic development, which leads to destruction and, ultimately, to self-destruction and obliteration of R-employment and the social. The unity of these aspirations, and inseparability of the correlating laws, constitute the main contradiction of R-employment, and, therefore, of the social in its entirety. And so, this contradiction is the main source of their development and transformations. Because aspiration toward harmony is the top priority aspiration, ensuring the increase of viability of the social, the main dialectical contradiction of the social can be termed the law of unity and harmony of opposites. This law, rather than abolish, preserves and furthers the dialectics. However, it cardinally differs from the law of unity and struggle of opposites in Hegelian and Marxist dialectics. The difference between the key notions of "harmony" and "struggle" in the formulation of the key law of dialectics reflects the cardinal difference between the corresponding types of dialectics - tetrary (sphere-based) and monistic[5]. Tetrary dialectics can be called the dialectics of harmony, and monistic dialectics, the dialectics of struggle. However, this does not mean that harmony dialectics dismiss struggle. It does not write off struggle, but subordinates it to the harmony of opposites of sphere resources. In harmony dialectics, harmony, not struggle, is given priority. Harmony dialectics is founded o­n the principle (discussed above) of interinclusion of the opposites of parts and whole, and not o­n the principle of interexclusion and dismissal of opposites, which is at the "core" of struggle dialectics.

Among many implications of harmony dialectics we'll discuss o­nly o­ne, concerning dialog. From the viewpoint of harmony dialectics, it is aspiration toward harmony that constitutes the foundation and source of dialog, while aspiration toward disharmony, toward struggle and victory, precludes dialog. Or, rather, the "dialog," here, is translated into physical violence, and turns into a "dialog" of weapons, war, troops, etc. At war, a dialog (negotiations) can concern o­nly surrender of o­ne of the parties; it does not untangle contradictions that have led to the war. The true dialog is a peaceful dialog, rooted in a reciprocal aspiration toward harmony, toward a balanced (equipoised) solution of disagreements and conflicts. And with this, we finish constructing the second axis of coordinates of our solid, tetrary web of sociological concepts. Now, o­n the interlinked axes of "social resources" and "social processes," we'll build the third spatial axis, "social structures."

Structures: social structuratics

In tetrasociology, social structures are the combinations of PIOT resources with the processes of their reproduction, and the function of these combinations is to produce new sphere resources in a specific space and time. What distinguishes the structures from the resources and processes is the combination of past R-employment (sphere resources) and current R-employment (processes) intended to create future sphere resources. Three axes of social space reflect three parameters of social time. Social sphere resources are past employment. Social reproduction processes are present employment. Social structures are the amalgamation of the two, for the purpose of people's future employment and life, and, so, social structures forge and exemplify future employment. They are future-oriented. Social structures are more complex, because they incorporate the medium (resource) and lower (processual) fields of coordinates. Social structure in tetrasociology is the aggregate of a great multitude of heterogenous societies, possessing varying organizational structures, and societal institutions at all levels of development. The biggest and most universal among social structures, those that constitute the social world, are four constant "social reproduction spheres," common to all societies and persons.

Social reproduction spheres differ in object and product of reproduction, as well as in the instruments and technologies employed. Products are reproduced from objects according to the principle "like from like," i.e., people are reproduced o­nly from people; information, from information; organizations, from organizations; things, from things. There are four classes of necessary and sufficient resources/components of society/individuals that are permanently consumed and permanently reproduced in the corresponding spheres. According to the resources/components reproduced, tetrasociology postulates four necessary and sufficient social reproduction spheres: Social (humanitarian), Informational (cultural), Organizational (managerial), Technical (material, economic). Abbreviated, the names are as follows: sociosphere, infosphere, organisphere, technosphere. Sociosphere reproduces people from people: people are its object/product. Infosphere reproduces information from information: information is its object/product. Organisphere reproduces organizations: organizations are its object/product. Technosphere reproduces things: things are its object and product. Each sphere of reproduction represents a sphere of the appropriate culture: humanitarian, spiritual, organizational, material. Priority rankings for spheres of reproduction/culture correspond to those for the sphere resources/PIOT products they reproduce.

Each sphere employs all sphere resources as its instruments in the corresponding technologies. The distribution of four resources among four reproduction spheres is signified by the following 4 x 4 matrix[6]:

P = P1 + P2 + P3 + P4, where P stands for people, population, and P1, P2, P3, P4 - for its sphere


I =   I1 + I2 + I3 + I4, where I stands for information, and I1, I2, I3, I4 - for batches of information,

O = O1 + O2 + O3 + O4, where O stands for organizations, and O1, O2, O3, O4 - for groups thereof,

T = T1 + T2 + T3 + T4, where T stands for things, material possessions, and T1, T2, T3, T4 –

for groups thereof.

The matrix lines denote the "outlets" of spheres and the products they generate for four spheres, and the matrix columns signify the "inlets" of spheres and the resources from four spheres used in them. An explanation is due. The P line signifies the reproduction of the classes of population in the 1st, social sphere, for the corresponding spheres: P1 - for sociosphere, P2 - for infosphere, P3 - for organisphere, P4 - for technosphere. The I line denotes the reproduction of the batches of information (and appropriate culture) in the 2nd, informational, sphere, for the corresponding spheres from the 1st to the 4th. The same with the rest of the lines.

As an example, let's look at the technosphere (the 4th sphere). The technosphere's products are things, which are parts of each of the four groups: they are designated by the 4th matrix line. Technosphere's resources are designated by the 4th matrix column. The T4 group of material resources combines at o­nce the object, the product, and the material instruments/technologies of the sphere. The complex of organi-resources, O4, combines various economic, legal, managerial, and financial institutions, which are used in the technosphere as organizational instruments/technologies. I4, the complex of info-resources, combines various technical information, which is used as informational instruments/technologies of the technosphere. L 4, the class of socio-resources (technical class), combines people of different working-class and agricultural occupations as the main productive force of the technosphere. (We suggest the reader attempt a similar description of three other spheres, which can become the beginning of his/her dialog with tetrasociology.)

Spheres unite the corresponding branches of social reproduction, kindred types of family and individual activity, and also similar sphere needs, abilities, and components of the individual. Thus, spheres become common spheres of society/individuals, of all populations. Society and individuals are different sections and different facets of common, shared reproduction spheres[7]. Thus, the entire population employed in them is productive, participant in the reproduction of o­ne or another sphere resource. First of all, the population is employed in the reproduction of itself. (Who else, besides the population's individuals would be employed in their reproduction? A rhetorical question.) Not a single theory of class has considered population, in its entirety, as productive. For the most part, these theories consider as productive key branch classes, employed in the key branches of the economy.

Sphere classes are the major component of spheres, and the major category of tetrasociology. Sphere classes are large, productive groups of people, encompassing the population in its entirety, and differentiated by the kind of reproductive employment in o­ne, central for them, sphere of social reproduction. The priority rankings for sphere classes correspond with those for spheres and resources/products reproduced by them.

Tetrasociology postulates four productive, equally necessary and sufficient, sphere classes, corresponding with reproduction spheres:

1. SOCIOCLASS - people employed in the sociosphere. This includes, o­n the o­ne hand, people working in healthcare, education, childcare, social welfare, athletics and sports, and o­n the other, all people who are non-working but employed in self-reproduction: pre-schoolers, students, unemployed, homemakers, non-working retirees and the disabled.

2. INFOCLASS are people employed in the infosphere, i.e., in academe, culture and arts, communications, informational services, and the mass media.

3. ORGANICLASS includes people employed in the organisphere, i.e., in politics, management, law, finance, defence, law enforcement, etc.

4. TECHNOCLASS includes people employed in the technosphere, i.e., manual workers and peasants/farmers.

Normally, people are employed not in o­ne, but in several spheres, although o­ne of the spheres consumes more time and, therefore, can be considered the major o­ne. Employing this criterion, tetrasociology divides the totality of any country's or the world's population into sphere classes (see below, an example of contemporary sphere classes in Russia).

Reproduction spheres are equally important to and variably prioritized by society, and they aspire toward equilibrium and harmony. Sphere classes employed in these spheres are likewise equally important to andvariably prioritized by society. They are equal in employment (in employment's cosmopolitism, sociocultural quality and universality), but differ in quality and level of employment within each of the spheres. Sphere classes' equality and differences in employment, as well as their aspiration toward balance, make them harmonious and cohesive classes, abolishing class struggle and antagonism. Spheres and spheres classes, differing in employment, are ruled by the law of harmony, which counteracts the law of disharmony of branch-based classes, which are identified by ownership of property or branch-based employment.

The disharmony of branches is a result of their egoistical motivation: "to take more, to give less." Thus, several strong branches get richer by plundering weaker branches, which results in the branches' uneven development and, ultimately, society's collapse. Spheres counteract this tendency. They are governed by the principle of harmony, balance, "to give as much as to take" in order to enhance the balance. Otherwise, they cannot function and exist. Thus, the harmony of spheres have always been and will always be the salvation of the social world

Branches are governed by the law of competition (victory to the strongest), and constantly reproduce this law and, consequently, social disharmony. Spheres, o­n the contrary, are governed by the law of harmony (partnership, cooperation, balance) and reproduce harmony. It is o­nly in branches that the law of competition can govern, because if o­ne branch, as a result of competition, collapses, topples or gets taken over by another branch, society does not cease to exist. Spheres, o­n the contrary, are not influenced by the law of competition, because if o­ne of the spheres collapses, society collapses as well. This is why spheres have o­nly the law of harmony as the ruling principle. Priority of o­ne of the laws determines the type of societal development - disharmonious or harmonious. Historically, with very few and short-living exceptions, the first, disharmonious type of development has prevailed. In the 21st century the branch-based, crude and disharmonious period of history will come to an end, to be replaced by a sphere-based, self-conscious, harmonious history. Branches will cede priority to spheres. Competition will cede priority to harmony, and this will affect not o­nly society, but private persons, and their individual development, as well.

In the course of nearly 3,000 years, different politicians and theoreticians have brought forward different class theories. In the table below we summarize the main ideas about class, and compare them with sphere classes, indicating the author or theory, the time, the place, the names of the classes, and their identifiers.






Theseus, czar - inception of the Athenian state

8th century BC


3: eupatridae - nobility; geomoroi - arable farmers; demiourgoi - craftsmen

Employment in branches

Solon, the first archont, elected in 594 BC

6th century BC


4 classes/ranks, according to how many medimnos of grain are produced


Servius Tullius, the penultimate  czar

6th century BC


6 classes/ranks, according to property value



427-347 BC


Three tiers: philosophers, soldiers, workers

Qualities of the soul


384-322 BC


3 classes: the rich, the middle, paupers





2 basic classes: exploiters and exploited





2 basic classes: upper and lower





2 basic classes: rulers and the ruled


Stratification theory

Second half of the 20th century

The West: Europe, USA

3 basic classes: upper, middle, lower

Income, status, and others


Late 20th - early 21st century

The West: Russia

4 sphere classes: Socio, Info, Organi, Techno

Employment in spheres

The table demonstrates a diversity of class identifiers, and, consequently, a diversity of classes, themselves, in history and theory. Each historical period theorizes period-specific classes, castes, and tiers, which are historical modifications of sphere classes. The historical modifications of the classes, because of the narrowness and o­ne-sidedness of its presumed identifiers (industry branch, soul, property, power, etc.), as well as the types of governments based o­n these class theories, have been distorting the harmonious essence of sphere classes and becoming the actors of total disharmony, inequality, antagonism, perennial wars and violence. Sphere classes, which combine the specific types of employment of previous classes into a universal employment, become a necessity for the new, informational society, for the new globalization period. These classes, like the new society, are more dynamic and open, and even, in some sense, "virtual." However, modern time need for sphere classes is predicated primarily o­n the new society's need to harmonize the development of spheres across the globe, with the purpose of tackling the growing global problems and challenges through a communal effort. And these problems can be solved o­nly along the lines of social harmony, which o­nly sphere classes can pursue self-consciously.

Sphere classes are not new to the social world and its history; they are new o­nly to our limited sociological knowledge about them, to our traditional, narrow-minded approach to them. People know much less about the social world than they do about the natural world, because the social world is infinitely more complex than the natural world, and, therefore, requires far more complex and refined theoretical methods of academic research. Humankind has o­nly recently approached a level of social science which allows us to "behold and see" sphere classes as the deep inner core of the social world.

Until now, sphere classes have existed like elementary and natural forces, alien to humans, unknown to social science, hidden from humans in the mysterious depths of the social. At the surface level of the social world that is visible and accessible to traditional sociology, sphere classes appear as either stratified or branch-based classes, paralleling the branches of the industrial society's economy. These are classes of inequality, identified by intrinsically unequal and partial criterion of wealth or property. For this reason, these classes are actors of total disharmony, chaotic development, social egoism, mutual alienation, branch-based parochialism, antagonism, wars, violence, etc. Sphere classes, o­n the contrary, are the classes of equality, differentiating people not by the partial criterion of wealth, but by the universal criterion of employment. This is why they are actors of social harmony, sustained development, social partnership, mutual assimilation, sphere universality, solidarity, peace, non-violence, etc. Branch-based classes appear to be specific cases of sphere classes, the latter remaining as an unsolved mystery at the heart of the former.

Why have sphere classes remained unknown? First, because an underdeveloped, branch-based and o­ne-dimensional society, which is still primarily industrial, has not needed universal and harmonious actors. It has been able to live without them. Second, there has been no adequate social theory and vision, able to "see" them and to recognize their seminal productive capacities for harmony, assimilation, universality, culture, cosmopolitism, equality, peace, partnership, etc. Just as a savage does not need, and therefore is not aware of a car, so humans, at their earlier, branch-based stage of development, which reached its zenith in industrial society, did not need and therefore were unaware of sphere classes. Because of the chaotic and slanted development of human society, it has always been dominated by o­ne or another partial, branch-based class of a primarily economic-based sphere. Socially, these classes have needed to keep their economic and political domination by all means possible, the most effective of which was violence. So, branch-based classes have needed o­nly the theories of class struggle and dictatorship akin to Marxism. Through the efforts of its ideologists, branch-based classes have been able to generate o­nly the theories of class struggle and dictatorship.

Globalization, and the new, informational society, have generated new social problems and needs. These require new, sphere classes, with new social needs and capacities for tackling global, universal problems. There arises a social need for sphere classes as actors of the new era, actors with adequate goals, powers, and means. A theory of sphere classes has emerged, which is the first, but not the last, or the o­nly o­ne in the future, - tetrasociology, which discovers these classes, explains why they have been lingering in obscurity, explains the need for them, and for their active formation today. Tetrasociology reveals why branch-based classes are inadequate for the new global challenges, which they have generated, but the volume and substance of which make the traditional classes, powers and instruments helpless to meet these challenges. Tetrasociology shows that o­nly new, sphere classes can provide both theoretical, along the lines of postpluralism, and practical, along the lines of social harmony, responses to the challenges of modernity. Tetrasociology shows how these classes can transform from crude, passive "classes in themselves" into active, self-conscious "classes for themselves." It creates for sphere classes a fitting theory and a system of universal values, which are oriented toward social harmony, rather than toward property, and which exemplify justice and equality. Meanwhile, tetrasociology does not frame the question as an antagonistic alternative: "harmony or property," which would lead to a new escalation of wars and violence; rather, it re-orients the classes' priorities, ensuring mutual complementarity and cooperation of the classes, and the continuity of a humanistic, cultural tradition. It conducts empirical research (albeit confined now o­nly to Russia) of the intensive formation of sphere classes, starting in the late 20th century. This formative process manifests itself in a re-distribution of population among society's spheres, in the rapid contraction of the technoclass as industrial society's mainstay, and in the expansion of three other classes, however uneven and irregular across different countries and continents.

This process leads to the phasing out of traditional branch classes, and to the emergence, in the historical arena, of sphere classes, as new and harmonious actors. Concurrently, the process of self-identification of the new community, the community of sphere classes, is widening and deepening. We'll call this identity "sphere identity." The rise of sphere self-consciousness has just begun, and this process is slower than the development of sphere classes. A transition from branch-based self-identification, to sphere-based self-identification of the population is a requisite for the formation of sphere classes. Without self-identification, sphere classes cannot become self-conscious actors who understand themselves, their mission in the social world, and the strategies, instruments, and technologies that will achieve their purpose.

Tetrasociology demonstrates that it is sphere classes that aspire toward social harmony and sphere equality for all people, i.e., fair distribution of resources among them. To achieve these ideals, we need a new form of democratic government, acceptable to all nations, - namely, sphere (or tetra-) democracy, whose distinctive feature is equal distribution of power among elected representatives of sphere classes. o­nly this kind of democratic government can consistently realize the sociocultural technology and the long-term strategy of gradual non-violent harmonization of all spheres and sphere classes. o­nly sphere democracy is able to produce a fully humanitarian and truly public-needs-oriented government, to ensure, along with the equality of sphere classes, equality between older and younger generations, between men and women, and to recognize the priority of children, by giving votes to parents and guardians o­n behalf of their minor children. Harmony of cultures and civilizations begins with children.

Only sphere classes are able, through sphere democracy, to ensure a lasting and global peace. For this purpose, we need a permanent dialog among cultures and civilizations, a unified religion combining traditional religions' values, and a politically neutral language of international communication, while at the same time preserving ethnic cultures, religions, and languages. The best choice for a neutral, international language is Esperanto, as a language of equality, camaraderie and harmony, which has been tested for more than a hundred years, by millions of people, from almost all countries of the world. Sphere-based democracy can promote the study of Esperanto everywhere. For a dialog of civilizations, sphere classes can promote discussions of dialogical, interactive, discursive ideology as the basis for creating a new, global values system. Presently, tetrasociology can be o­ne of the platforms for such a dialog of civilizations. The new ideology can be o­nly dialogical and interactive. Instead of absolutist dogmas, it should offer o­nly the most effective platform for dialogical and interactive discussion of solutions which would be acceptable to sphere classes in all civilizations.

For new, sphere self-identification to take shape, for a new ideology, with new values priorities, to develop, we need a new Enlightenment, to be part of the new era of inter-civilizational dialog. Enlightenment, today, is inseparable from dialog, and vice versa. Tetrasociology, like several other recent sociological theories, e.g., Phillips's interactive web approach (2001), recognizes the need for such an era, speaks about its arrival, and creates ideological pre-conditions. o­nly through a new Enlightenment can the transition be made from branch-based, transcorporational and trans-bureaucratic globalization, which augments disharmony at service of private interests, to sphere globalization, leading to justice and harmony for all of humankind. This new, just, and harmonious globalization will give the highest priority to social and cultural (socio- and info-) spheres, rather than to economic and political (techno- and organi-) spheres.

Post-globalization will be a humanitarian globalization. It will not be o­ne-dimensional, branch but multi-dimensional, sphere, and also universal. Its universalism is reflected in the structural, sphere-based universalism of tetrasociology. Tetrasociological universalism reflects four kinds of universalism: social - four sphere classes of population; informational/cultural - four spheres of information and culture (humanitarian, spiritual, organizational, material); organizational - four spheres of power; and economic - four sphere-based world markets: of goods, capital, information, labor. Tetrasociology leads to a new understanding of globalization, culture and civilizations through the prism of sphere universalism.

The major manifestation of integratedness of society's spheres is that they concurrently, but in different respects and in different expressions, will prove to be spheres for every individual: spheres of CHARACTER, CONSCIOUSNESS, WILL and BODY. Society's spheres are the objectification (materialization and estrangement) of the corresponding spheres of individuals. They coincide in the object and product of reproduction. Character, reproducing people, including the individual, coincides with society's social/humanitarian sphere, and vice versa. Consciousness, reproducing information, including self-consciousness, coincides with society's informational sphere, and vice versa. Will, reproducing organizations, including individual's self-organization, coincides with society's organizational sphere, and vice versa. Body, reproducing things, including its own organism, coincides with society's technical/material sphere, and vice versa. Both society's spheres and individual's spheres are identified by o­ne of the four resources reproduced in them: people (individuals), information, organization, things. Society's spheres and individual's spheres, although not identical, are similar and inseparable. They are rooted in each other, inseparable from each another, reproduce each other and are each other's product, and for this reason they can and should be approached as UNITARY spheres of "society/individuals" or "individuals/society." Individuals and society coincide in spheres. In spheres, society and individuals coincide in all of their substantive dimensions: in reproductive employment and its classes, in needs and abilities, in humanitarian/social, cultural, organizational/political and economic dimensions. The concurrence of individuals and society in spheres is outlined in the table below:

Table of society/individual’s spheres





SOCIOSPHERE: Humanitarian needs and abilities s/i                              Humanitarian employment s/i                            

 Socioclass (humanitarian class of population) s/i                              Humanitarian culture/information s/i                             

Social politics (humanitarian organization s/i)                             

Labor market (social economics s/i)



INFOSPHERE: Informational needs and abilities s/i                           Informational employment s/i                         

Infoclass (informational class of population) s/i                         

 Spiritual culture/information s/i                          

Cultural politics (organization of culture s/i)                          

 Information market (economics of culture s/i)



ORGANISPHERE: Organizational needs and abilities s/i                                 Organizational employment s/i                                

Organiclass (organizational class of population) s/i                                 Organizational culture/information s/i                           

 Administrative politics (organization of management s/i)                                  Market of capital (economics of management s/i)



TECHNOSPHERE: Material needs and abilities s/i                                  Technical/material employment s/i                                 

Technoclass (technical class of population) s/i                                  Material culture/technical information s/i                             

 Market of goods (economics of material production s/i)


Note:  Interaction and inter-determination of the table's elements occur in all directions: horizontal, vertical, forward, backward. Tetrasociology appears as a cluster of tetrasocial disciplines: tetrapsychology, tetraculturology, tetraeconomics, tetraphilosophy, tetrapolitology, tetrasociocybernetics, tetraaxiology, tetrasocionics, tetrasociolinguistics, tetrahistory, etc., all growing from the same theoretical-methodological foundation of tetrary postpluralism.

In these spheres, man and society mutually alienate and appropriate each other, but in different ways and by different organization of social reproduction. By disharmonic branch organization, the mutual alienation of society and man dominates. They see in each other o­nly means, not aims. o­nly by harmonic, spherical organization is the alienation counterbalanced with the opposite process of mutual appropriation of man and society. Here they see in each other, first of all, aims and not means. The harmony of man and society, their mutual appropriation, is reached thanks to sphere harmony and the harmony of sphere classes. «Horizontal» harmony, harmony at the level of branches, is provided by «vertical» harmony, harmony BETWEEN spheres and sphere classes.

The branch world, o­n the o­ne hand, having accumulated social disharmony and alienation up to a critical mass, and o­n the other hand, having created a lot of means for social harmony, first of all information, gives rise in itself to an opposite aspiration toward the new, harmonious world, through spheres and sphere classes. Such is the dialectics of transition from branch to sphere society in the epoch of globalization in our century from the point of view of tetrasociology.

Development states: social genetics

The fourth axis of the web of tetrasociological concepts is the social time of the kinds of historical scale of evolutionary social development. Social time combines three kinds of time: past, present, and future. It reflects the major historical stages/states of development of any social phenomenon o­n the basis of varying measures of sphere harmony. The measures of harmony can be pictured as thescale[8] presented here, denoting four main stages, or states: prosperity (or flourishing) - the biggest measure of spheres harmony; deceleration - the measure of spheres harmony bigger than average; decline - the measure of spheres harmony lower than average; and, finally, dying - the smallest (minimal) measure of spheres harmony, leading to disintegration, and social destruction. Actually, o­nly the first measure can be considered harmony, while the three others are basically measures of disharmony. The conditions of harmony/disharmony are the most general results of an interaction and irregular development of spheres of social reproduction.

The fact is that historically, prosperity has seldom been achieved through a spontaneous harmony of society's spheres. As Bell  aptly noted, in most cases it gets achieved o­nly for a short time, through domination and violence. He wrote (1999: 372, Russian edition): "Almost all previous societies searched for enrichments in wars, robberies, expropriation, payoff of taxes or other forms of extortion". This enrichment and prosperity was transient and unsustained, and led to the fall of dozens of empires, without exception.

With this we are concluding our brief overview of tetrasociology, or the four parts of its o­ntology[9] - social statics, dynamics, structuratics, and genetics, - which explore the corresponding axes of coordinates of SST, encompassing the social world.

Result: a web the tetrasociological concepts as a platform for dialog

So, we created a solid web of 26 tetrasociological concepts. Let's recount them. Fouraxes of coordinates, each designated by four variable constants: resources (people, information, organizations, things), processes (production, distribution, exchange, consumption), structures (sociosphere, infosphere, organisphere, technosphere), states (prosperity, deceleration, decline, dying). Added to these are the concepts of reproductive employment, coinciding with the concept of the social, and the concept of four sphere classes of employment: socioclass, infoclass, organiclass, technoclass. And, additionally, yet another overarching notion: social space-time, identical with the notions of social world, societyand the social. The rest of tetrasociological concepts derive from the 26 key concepts. Following are tetrasociology’s key concepts in tabulated form.

Key Concepts of  Tetrasociology

























S   P  H   E    R    E

C   L   A   S  S   E   S       OF         THE         P  O  P  U   L   A   T   I    O    N


CLASS  (Teacher, doctors, social workers; not working ….)


CLASS (Scientific, artists, journalists, engineers, programmers …)


CLASS (Politics, lawyers, military men, managers, financiers …)


CLASS (Working class, peasants / farmers)

Note: R-employment of people coincides under the contents with the sphere classes, therefore, given concepts are identical and are considered as o­ne concept. In total, in the table 26 key tetrasociology concepts are submitted. All others are either synonymous with them or derived from them.

All tetrasociological concepts reflect the general parameters (dimensions) of civilizations and cultures. Therefore, tetrasociology can be a common ideological platform for their dialog.

The next section of the book is comprised of 14 abstracts, which examine different theoretical and practical aspects of tetrasociology as applied to contemporary problems. The abstracts are an offspring of a tetrasociological imagination, furnished with historical references, empirical research, practical examples, and references to other authors. This writer is aware of the insufficiency of tetrasociology's empirical and evidentiary base; its broadening and strengthening is a matter for the future, requiring significant financing. The web of tetrasociological concepts is a systematic formulation of my response to contemporary problems, for the purpose of their interdisciplinary solution, through collective efforts. The most effective way to begin to tackle these problems is a multi-sided dialog.


Bell, Daniel. (1999). Coming Postindustrial Society. Moscow (Russian)

Mills, C. (1959). The Sociological Imagination. New York: Oxford University Press.

Parsons, T.  (1964/1951). The social system. New York: Free Press.

Phillips, B. (2001). Beyond Sociology’s Tower of Babel: Reconstructing the Scientific Method. Hawthorne, New York: Aldine de Gruyter.

Phillips, B, H. Kincaid, & T. J. Scheff, (eds).(2002). Toward a Sociological Imagination: Bridging

Specialized Fields. Lanham, MD: University Press of America.

Scheff, T. J. (1997). Emotions, the Social Bond, and Human Reality: Part/Whole Analysis. Cambridge:

Cambridge University Press.

Semashko, L. (2002). Tetrasociology: Responses to Challenges.  St. Petersburg:Technical University.

_________. (2000). Tetrasociology as Revolution of Social Thinking, the Way of Harmony and Prosperity.St. Petersburg (Russian)

_________. (1999). Sociology for Pragmatists. From Monism to Tetrism. St. Petersburg: European house.(Russian)

_________. (1992). Sphere Approach: Philosophy, Democracy, Market, Human. St. Petersburg (Russian)


[1] We'd like to note that it was B.Phillips's conception of a dialogical worldview, or interactive web approach, referred to in this book, that stirred my imagination, engendering the idea of creation and publishing the book-dialogs, the first of which is the o­ne you see. I hope that tetrasociology, in turn, will become an inspiration to B.Phillips’s imagination.

[2] We shall not further elaborate this idea, because there are many kinds of pluralism, and the question of which o­ne is authentic, as well as the question of the elements of truth in monism, requires a separate extensive investigation, which we partially conducted in our previous books: Semashko L. (1999) Sociology for Pragmatics. St.-Petersburg. (Russian); and (2002).

[3] Priority in tetrasociology has nothing in common with "primordiality" in monism, where the two are often identical. Priorities in tetrasociology are nothing but varying roles, varying weight, varying significance of different resources in the lives of individuals and society. Tetrasociology carefully distinguishes priority from primordiality.

[4] The relationship between harmony and disharmony is the pivotal question of tetrary social philosophy (tetrasociophilosophy), which is examined more fully below, and in our other books (2002, 2000, 1999, 1992)

[5] Here we cannot compare tetrasociology's dialectics (or tetrary dialectics) with the Hegelian or Marxist dialectics of monism (or monistic dialectics). This complex theoretical problem was examined more fully in our books quoted above

[6] On the basis of this matrix, tetrasociology creates new, sociological statistics, unifying and supplementing economical statistics, and a new, informational technology; both were examined more fully in our books quoted above

[7] The detailed description of public and individual sectors of each sphere, and also its branch structure, and resource ensuring is given in our book (2002: 59-69)

[8] For a more detailed description of this scale, and social genetics, see our earlier book (1999:  253-277)

[9]A more detailed statement of the tetrasociological o­ntology and its parts is given in our previous books

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