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Historical background

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2.1. Historical background

We will start outlining TetraSociology with its historical roots. Historically, TetraSociology dates back to ancient times. In general terms, it can be summed up as a list of the social thinkers and their four-dimensional ideas (tetraideas) or motives reflecting a quaternion of particular qualities or facets of society.

  1. PYTHAGORAS (6 BC). "Quaternion is an inexhaustible source of life"[1]. The Roman commentator Hierocles (4 AD), a Pythagorean, thus explains this pronouncement by Pythagoras. Quaternion is "a depository of eternal world order; it is the same thing as god the creator." In Pythagorean philosophy, god is the number of numbers. The ten comprehends all the numbers, while "the ten's capacity is a quaternion ... because adding the numbers from o­ne to four we get ten ... Quaternion is also the mean of o­ne and seven ... Quaternion has volume. It contains an outline of a simple form of a pyramid ... Also, live creatures have four cognitive abilities: sense, knowledge, opinion, sentiment ... Overall, quaternion comprehends all things existent: the number of elements (earth, water, air, fire - L.S.), seasons, ages, estates; and there is no evidence that anything exists that does not depend o­n quaternion as the root and the beginning. Quaternion is ... the creator and the cause of everything; it is god fathomable by sense; it is the cause of ... god"[2].
  2. EMPEDOCLES (490-430 BC) Four elements, the foundations of the world and society: earth, water, air, fire.
  3. ANAXAGORAS (500-428 BC). The principle of mutual inclusion (interinclusion) of the foundations of the world: "all in everything," which is the basic principle of TetraSociology.
  4. PLATO (427-347 BC). Four virtues of mankind (wisdom, fairness, courage, restraint); four types of state / society to be found in real world: timocracy, oligarchy, democracy, tyranny; four estates: workers (the material estate); guards (the military, organizational estate); philosophers (the spiritual, informational estate); plus tutors, educators (the humanitarian estate dealing with bringing up individuals). The last o­nes were not mentioned by Plato, but the existence of this estate logically ensues from his concept, where tutoring and bringing up are o­ne of the most important functions of society.
  5. MONTESQUIEU (1689-1755). Theory stating that society has many factors: this is the earliest pluralistic approach to be found in sociology. Montesquieu is the founder of pluralism in sociology. It is his works that laid the foundations for the trend in sociology of transition from monism to pluralism - the trend that became especially pronounced in the XXth century. Before Montesquieu, pluralistic strands of sociology were woven into monism, monism being the reigning kind of thinking in philosophy and sociology. It is due to Montesquieu that pluralism began to distance itself from monism.
  6. KANT (1724-1804). Dualism fraught with epistemological tetrism: four questions and sections of philosophy (three "Critiques" plus "Anthropology"), four physical sciences (phoronomics, dynamics, mechanics, phenomenology), four types of judgement, four antinomies, four triads of categories, four sections of anthropology, four temperaments, four characters, etc. Kant is the first "postpluralist," the founder of postpluralism. It was Kant who started the powerful trend of transition from dimensionless pluralism to a definite-dimensional o­ne, the o­ne with a known number of dimensions - the trend which leads nowadays to postpluralism, to new qualities of pluralism. This trend has been gaining strength for over two centuries and has become the most important o­ne for the XXI century. It is within this trend that TetraSociology emerged and has been evolving. Historically, another of Kant's accomplishment is defining the practices of monism as amoral egoism - this characterization proved true over the course of two centuries following that of Kant -, and characterizing the practices of pluralism[3] (democracy, civil society) as moral - this characterization is becoming to be appreciated as correct worldwide.
  7. COMTE (1798-1875). Four physical and at the same time social laws. He offered a definition of sociology; he was the first to distinguish, in social mechanics, "social statics" and "social dynamics" as equally important dimensions.
  8. MARX (1818-1883). Four kinds of community production: "material," "production of forms of communication," "spiritual," "production of the individual himself," as well as four related spheres of social life: economic, political, spiritual, social. This is the first tetramerous macrosociological idea, which "classical," mature Marx reduced to economism and to materialistic monism.
  9. SPENSER (1820-1903). Four systems of the organs of society as organism: external - army, internal - industrial, distributive - trade, regulatory - government.
  10. V.PARETO (1848-1923). Four classes of "illogical derivations" of society's foundations.
  11. M.WEBER (1864-1920). Four kinds of social action and motives, four spheres of societal activity: economics, politics, religion, education, as well as four relevant social groups, four forms of power and its legitimacy.
  12. R.PARK (1864-1944). Four components of the socio-ecological complex: Population, Organization, Environment, Technologies (POET).
  13. F.ZNANIECKI (1882-1958). Four classes of social phenomena: actions, relationships, personalities, groups.
  14. K.JASPERS (1883-1969). Four levels of existence of the "I": material, rational, spiritual, existential.
  15. P.SOROKIN (1889-1968). He was the first among sociologists worldwide to: 1. Distinguish monists from pluralists among sociologists, 2. Provide a definition of "sociological pluralism," 3. Propose the notion of "consistent sociological pluralism," as different from "all monistic theories," 4. Call for rejection by sociologists of the "ill-fitted idea of monism," this idea being "false, erroneous, incorrect, harmful," 5. Foretell, by a stroke of genius, a collapse of monism and to speak about the correctness of pluralism, not monism, for sociology, 6. Elaborate such sociological concepts as "social space" and "social time." TetraSociology is developing these ideas of Sorokin and sees in them a major breakthrough in the XXth century sociology, similar to the discovery by Copernicus in science.
  16. T.PARSONS (1902-1979). Four fundamental functions and societal subsystems of the socium: economic (adaptation), political (goals), social (integration), values-related / cultural (latency) (AGIL paradigm). These functions try to achieve equilibrium. The first fundamental and global sociological theory of the tetramerous paradigm. The distinguishing of structural and functional (processual) coordinates of social space-time.
  17. F.BRAUDEL (1902-1985). Four "set of set" or sectors of society: economics, social hierarchy, politics, culture.
  18. D.BELL (b.1919). Four characteristics of the modern technological revolution: electronics, miniaturization, the digital information, programming. Four "vertical" social groups: scientific, technical, administrative, cultural.
  19. A.TOFFLER (b.1928). Four spheres of society: sociosphere, the infosphere, cratosphere, technosphere. Four basic elements of society as products of appropriate spheres: people, ideas, organizations, things. The distinguishing of resource and structural coordinates of social space-time.
  20. J.HABERMAS (b.1929). Four types of social action: strategic, normative, dramaturgical, communicative. Four organizational principles of communication.
  21. P.BERGER (b.1929) and Th.LUCKMANN. Four levels of legitimation of knowledge: pre-theoretical, theoretical, obviously theoretical, symbolical universums.
  22. P.BOURDIEU (b.1930). Four fields of social space and four types of social capital (and appropriate resources) in a society: economic, cultural, social, symbolical / political. The distinguishing of resource, structural, and functional coordinates of social space.
  23. A.GIDDENS (b.1931). Four types of stratified systems: slavery, castes, estates, classes; four kinds of exploitation - class-based, military, ethnic, gender; four modern classes: upper, middle, workers, peasants. The distinguishing of the structural coordinate of social space in the "theory of structuration."
  24. E.WEIZSACKER and others. The "four factor" - a quadruple increase in productivity of the society's contemporary resources.
  25. P.SZTOMPKA. Four ideas as the groundwork for the concept of social structure: relatedness, conformity to natural laws, dimension, determination. Four intertwined dimensions of social structure: normative, ideal, interaction, vital. These dimensions make up the social structure's "four-dimensional model," which is an alternative to o­ne-dimensional, monistic models, these being characterized as "ill-suited." Four processes of the formation of structures: institutionalization, articulation, expansion, crystallization. The social structure model correlates with a four-dimensional model of personality[4]. Recognition of space and time as "universal context of social life," four types of social processes. Absolutization of social dynamics and rejection of social statics[5]. The distinguishing of structural and functional coordinates of social space and time.
  26. M.CASTELLS (b.1942). Four components of society as social structure: production / consumption (economics), experience (social sphere), power, culture; these are being interlaced with the fifth component - technology. The distinguishing of resource, functional and structural coordinates of social space-time. Rejection of monism and adherence to pluralism: "I do not share the traditional approach to society as consisting of two strata laid o­ne over another, with technology and economics in the "basement," power in the "attic," culture in the "penthouse" ... The (modern) multi-cultural, interdependent world ... can be understood and changed o­nly (my italics - L.S.) if we approach it from a pluralistic perspective"[6]. The distinguishing of resource, structural and functional coordinates of social space-time.

Within the framework of the Marxist school of Soviet sociology we should mention N.I.BUKHARIN, N.D.KONDRATIEV, V.P.ROZHIN, V.S.BARULIN, A.K.ULEDOV, J.T.TOSHCHENKO and others who have made a significant contribution to the development of sociological tetraideas[7]. o­ne can also refer to dozens of other theoreticians who have been elaborating "four-dimensional" and kindred sociological ideas. This shows that tetrist thought is not something alien to sociology; more than that, it is o­ne of sociology's basic schools of thinking. It can rightly claim a position of prominence in theoretical sociology of the new century.

This trend is being formed inside pluralistic thinking, which prior to Montesquieu existed inside monism. The relations between monist and pluralism are asymmetric. Monism always totally rejected pluralism and treated it as a second-rate and eclectic school of thought. Pluralism, o­n the contrary, in its rejection of absolutization of o­ne or another social invariant characteristic of monism and the latter's claims to absolute truth, has tried to preserve and synthesize monism's invariants in new paradigms. Now let us briefly outline monism and pluralism in sociology.

The key issue of sociological theories is the issue of the number and quality of necessary and sufficient RESOURCES, these being vital for societies and individuals. Based o­n this criterion, two groups of theories can be distinguished, the two representing two main domains (fields) of sociological thinking. One domain is sociological monism or monistic sociology, which recognizes o­nly o­nE, PRIMORDIAL, necessary and sufficient resource of society, this resource engendering all other societal phenomena as secondary o­nes.

Another domain of sociological thinking is sociological pluralism, or pluralistic sociology, which recognizes SEVERAL - two and more - EQUALLY necessary and sufficient resources of society, to which all the other social phenomena come down to.

The principal difference between pluralism and monism consists in that the latter makes a clear-cut distinction between the PRIMORDIAL resource and SECONDARY resources derived from it; pluralism, meanwhile, considers all the resources it recognizes to be OBJECTIVELY EQUAL IN THEIR NECESSITY, although accords them different priorities, and the "primordial - secondary" kind of relation between them is RULED OUT. TetraSociology draws a distinctive line between the relation of priority and that of primordiality. It recognizes the former while rejects the latter.

Monism, recognizing o­ne definitive resource, in essence proves o­ne-dimensional. Monism is identical with o­ne-dimensionality and o­ne-sidedness, which precludes us from seeing the world's multi-dimensionality and multi-facets. Pluralism, o­n the contrary, recognizing several equally necessary resources, proves multi-dimensional. Pluralism is identical with multi-dimensionality and multi-facets, which corresponds with multi-facets of the world.

The quality of resources makes distinguishable in the sociology's two fields four essential, spread worldwide trends and basic paradigms. Most of the macrosociological theories come down to o­ne of these paradigms or a combination thereof.

Sociological monism distinguishes:

  1. IDEALISM (idealistic sociology), which reduces society to a single, spiritual (informational) resource in any form - absolute, objective, heavenly, collective, individual, communicative, etc: Plato, M.Weber, E.Durkheim, G.Simmel, V.Pareto, A.Schutz, N.Luhmann and many others. Of course, here as elsewhere, it is a little bit by a stretch that the thinkers are lined up - this is because there is no such thing as a "pure, single-meaning" concept.
  2. MATERIALISM (materialistic sociology), which reduces society to a single, material resource in any form - material, economic, productional, industrial, agrarian, corporal, physiological, biological, unconscious, etc: Marx and his numerous followers, neo-Marxism of L.Goldman and the Frankfurt school; Freudism, Freudo-Marxism, behaviorism and others.
  3. ORGANICISM (organicist sociology), which reduces society to a single, organizational resource in any form - e.g., organizations, social relations, connections, regulations, structures, systems, institutions, hierarchies, regulators, norms. Such is the sociology of A.Comte, Spencer, Lilienfeld, Gumplowicz, Levi-Strauss, Shils and others.
  4. EXISTENTIALISM (existential sociology), which reduces society to a single, existential resource, variously unique: people, individuals, groups, nations, races; in various forms of existence - spiritual (rational, artistic, religious, cultural, national), corporal (racial, genetic), will-based, characterologic: Nietzsche, Jaspers, Sartre, Camus, Tiryakian and others.

(It is possible to distinguish trends in monism based not o­n resources, but o­n processes, structures, states.)

Monistic trends are false, insofar they affirm the primordiality and absoluteness of a single o­ne of society's resource, but they are also correct, insofar as they recognize these resources as necessary for society's existence. Herein is historical parochialism as well as the significance of monistic trends.

Sociological pluralism, which began with Montesquieu's theory of factors (it was the mother theory of all pluralistic trends), distinguishes:

  1. DUALISM (dualistic sociology), which reduces society to two equally important resources, usually spirit and matter in various forms: M.Scheler, P.B.Struve, K.Mannheim and others.
  2. TRIALISM (trialistic sociology), which reduces society to three equally important resources, usually to spirit, matter, and organization in various forms: A.Weber, P.Sorokin, L.Althusser, J.Habermas and others.
  3. TETRISM (tetrist sociology), which reduces society to four equally important resources, usually spirit, matter, organization, people. To some extent, Marx's early ideas about four types of production and four spheres of social life can be considered as belonging to tetrism, as well as T.Parson's ideas about four societal functions and subsystems; F.Braudel's about four plenitudes of society; A.Toffler's about four spheres of society - socio-, info-, crato-, techno-; P.Bourdieu's about four social capitals and four fields of social space; etc. TetraSociology is o­ne of the variants of tetrism.
  4. PENTALISM (pentalist sociology), which reduces society to five equally important resources (S.Mikhailov and others). There are theories which point to more than five resources of society, but such theories are few, so we will subsume them under pentalism.

Historically, TetraSociology is, o­n the o­ne hand, a SYNTHESIS OF THE BEST QUALITIES of the four world trends of monistic sociology - the trends that have been emphasizing for centuries such necessary resources / foundations of society as people, information, organization, things; o­n the other hand, TetraSociology is a continuation and development of the tetrist trend of the pluralistic social thinking within the framework of the generalization of ideas of social space-time. In this respect, TetraSociology has nothing new in it, except a special synthesis and development of the ideas already known. This is why it can be considered a "new old" theory.

Main periods in the pre-history of TetraSociology. Its immediate source and beginning - the first in sociology's history form of pluralism - is the Montesquieu's theory of factors. It is with Montesquieu that the history of pluralism in sociology began.

Second period - I.Kant's dualism, carrying an embryo of tetrist sociological epistemology, the tradition to which tetrists consider themselves to belong: Parsons, etc.

Third period - the idea of four spheres of social production, formulated by young Marx in "German Ideology" (1844). This idea was later developed by him in a monistic, materialistic vein. If we disregard the extremes of economism, it can be considered as the first theoretical expression of TetraSociology. At that period, too, A.Comte distinguished two dimensions of sociology: social statics and dynamics, which were incorporated into TetraSociology.

Fourth period - for the first time in sociology's history, P.Sorokin proposed the category of "sociological pluralism" - a brilliant prediction of the collapse of monism - and introduced the notions of social space and time. These ideas by Sorokin serve as the basis for the TetraSociology's pluralistic outlook. Sorokin proposed the notion of the "social genetics," which TetraSociology incorporated too.

Fifth period - the evolution of the ideas of four spheres (subsystems, sectors, fields, and capitals) of society and social space and time. These ideas have been laid out by non-Marxist thinkers - Braudel, Parsons, Toffler, Bourdieu, Castells, etc. -, as well as by the Marxist o­nes - Bukharin, Rozhin, Barulin, Toshchenko, etc. These thinkers elaborated the notion of "social structures" (structuratics), which TetraSociology incorporated.

Sixth period. The history of TetraSociology as such began in 1976, with sociocultural leisure activities at the young workers and students club "Demiurge" and the adoption by it of the program of harmonious development of individuals. The first part of the brochure deals with the theoretical premises of the period.

The list of tetraideas and tetramotives in sociology's history and an analysis of the relation between monism and tetrism reveal a naturally determined tendency - TetraSociology emerged not as a chance offshoot, but as a natural development in sociology, as a natural result of sociology's transition from the priority of monism to the priority of pluralism, from dimensionless to definite-dimensional pluralism or postpluralism married with technologies. The course of sociology's history engendered all the theoretical premises for TetraSociology, which has been incorporated into it.

[1] Pythagorean gold verses. Moscow, 1995, p.30.

[2] Ibid. p.96-98.

[3] Kant I. Anthropology from the Pragmatical Point of View // Compositions in 6 volumes. Vol. 6, Moscow, 1966, p.360.

[4] Sztompka P. Concept of social structure: attempt of generalisation // Sociological studies, 2001, № 9, p.3-12.

[5] Sztompka, P. The Sociology of Social Alterations. Moscow, 1996, p.67, 28-31. Refusal of the author of a social statics o­n the ground that " all social reality represents simply (?) dynamics, the flow of changes " (there, p.26) is unpersuasive, as ignores objects of changes, question that changes, which is a question of a statics as social anatomy. A social statics, abstracting from changes, determining objects of changes, if it not absolutes, is so necessary for theoretical sociology, as well as social dynamics, that is proved by us further. Attempt to neglect o­ne for the benefit of another, as " o­nly correct ", it absolutization there is a break from principles of the pluralism and return to rejected by Sztompka the o­ne-dimensional, monistic approaches. His refusal from the theory of development, "developmentalism" (there, p.25) for the benefit of dynamics is so unpersuasive also o­n those to the bases. However, the recognition by him of four-dimensional social structures is an example of transition from traditional pluralism to postpluralism.

[6] Castells M. The Information Age: Economy, Society and Culture. Moscow, 2000, p.48.

[7] In more detail about the backgrounds of TetraSociology see my book: Sociology for the Pragmatists. Vol. 1, St-Petersburg, 1999, chapter 2 (in Russian).

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