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Coordinates of social space-time

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2.3. SST coordinates

The theory of SST is TetraSociology's backbone and basis. TetraSociological theory of SST is a multidimensional, global model of social world free of o­ne-sidedness of monistic models. SST theory can be constructed only axiomatically and then verified by practice, empirically and by technologies. Let us formulate the axioms and construct the system of SST parameters-invariants. We will distinguish among SST parameters: a) coordinates, b) the social, c) constants, d) indices.

Coordinates are the most common SST parameters. They determine SST's architecture, which correlates with nature's spatial-temporal architecture because society is the part of it. Based o­n this we will formulate the first, synthetic axiom of SST's theory: being a continuum of three spatial and o­ne temporal coordinates, SST is as four-dimensional as physical space-time.

If in Einstein's relativity theory physical space-time is determined by the invariants of mass and bodies' kinetic energy, then SST is determined by social invariants. As J.Turner wrote, social world "displays certain timeless, universal and invariant properties; the sociological theory's objective consists in discovering these universal properties and understanding how they act". o­nly thus probably "to understand how the social world works"[1].

Sharing this opinion, we will formulate the following analytical axiom of SST theory: Resources, Processes, Structures are social space's coordinates (invariants), while States of society's development are the social time's coordinate. RPSS is the abbreviation. Let us explore their characteristics.

SST's coordinates are independent/dependent. They are independent insofar as they express the widest possible qualitative differences of society, each o­ne irreducible to another. They are dependent insofar as they are inseparable, variably dependent and interinclusive.

SST's coordinates are necessary and sufficient. They are necessary because with at least o­ne of them missing society cannot exist. The social world cannot exist without resources, processes, structures, states. Its equal dependence o­n each of the coordinates makes them equally necessary and rules out relations of primogeniture/primordiality, while the difference in the coordinates' influence o­n society makes them different in priority. Taken together they are sufficient for society's existence in TetraSociological sense. Let us briefly explore each coordinate.

Society's resources are society's necessary components/parts, its permanent foundations, without which society cannot exist, and which it incessantly uses and reproduces. Society cannot live without resources as its parts/components it incessantly consumes and reproduces. Resources are indispensable for the social world. They make resource wholeness of society. The criterion distinguishing resources is its incessant use and consumption by society. Society's resources are social. They supplement natural resources and are produced from them but not identical with them. Resources coincide with people's previous reproductive employment and are identical with their past social time, which gets materialised and estranged in resources. Resources determine society's processes, structures and states and therefore have priority over the latter, although they are not primordial because they cannot exist without those three.

Society's processes are the necessary changes in resources and society's permanent reproductive functions of resources. Society's constant consumption of its resources requires their constant reproduction, which makes out of social world an integrated "machine" reproducing its resources. Processes represent society's reproductive integrity. They coincide with the totality of people's current reproductive employment (occupation) in resources reproduction. Without reproductive processes, resources reconstruction and society's existence are impossible; these processes, therefore, are as necessary to society as resources. The criteria distinguishing processes consists in changes, functions and modifications of resources. Coinciding with people's current employment, processes are identical with people's current social time, which remains qualitatively unchanged. It is a "small, quantitative" time. Resources diversity and differentiation determine diversity and differentiation among the processes of resources' reproduction.

Society's structures are the necessary links, relations and connections between resources and society's reproductive processes. They constitute society's structural integrity. Integrating resources and processes, structures represent an amalgamation of people's previous and current employment and social time's past and present. The unity of resources and the processes of its reproduction represents the criterion for distinguishing structures. Resources and processes can exist o­nly as a whole, therefore structures are as necessary for the social world as resources and processes. Resources' and processes' differentiation and diversity determine structures' differentiation and diversity. Reproductive structures are society's structural-functional components and parts, but not resource components/parts.

Society's states are the necessary phases, cycles, periods of society's evolutionary development from its inception/inchoation to its fall/destruction. States are phases of the evolution of the social world and all its parts, these phases replacing o­ne another, coming, going and returning. States constitute the social world's evolutionary/genetic wholeness. (This is "big, qualitative," or historical time.) States express the social world's (and its parts') finiteness and temporal limitations. They are the results of the totality of people's past and current reproductive employment over big stretches of social (historical) time of society. The social world's states are determined by the states of its constituent societies. Each society, during its lifetime, passes through a number of states of development, these states' distinctive features being determined by the measure of equilibrium, proportionality and balance between society's fundamental reproductive structures. Thus, the criterion distinguishing states consists in a fairly long time-period of society's existence characterised by a particular measure of equilibrium between its structures.

General properties of RPSS coordinates consist of the following. The coordinates are universal; between them exist the relation of variable interinclusion as part to the whole; they are axes of the system of coordinates of the SST's four-dimensional continuum. They provide cognition of the social world in four-dimensional rhythmics. The coordinates of resources, processes and structures represent spatial, mainly synchronic totalities, while states represent mainly diachronic totalities. (On space-time dialectics, see below.) Resources constitute social statics, processes - social dynamics, and structures - social structuratics. Spatial coordinates of resources, processes, structures constitute social morphology; states, social genetics. Therefore, the social world and any of its phenomena can be considered as having: statics (resources), dynamics (processes), structuratics (structures), genetics (states of development). These dimensions of the social world, and its SST's coordinates are matched by analogous social theories: statics, dynamics, structuratics, genetics. Such theories are not something new in sociology. The first two were suggested very long ago - by A.Comte; the third o­ne, by Giddens (as "theory of structuration"); the fourth o­ne, by Sorokin and others. These theories constitute the sections of TetraSociology; the latter incorporates them into the global model of social world.

The SST coordinates that we have outlined allow for an explanation of the different examples of the classification of sociological theories and the theories' differentiation into monistic and pluralistic, morphologic and genetic, static and dynamic, structural and functional, etc. Thus, P.Sorokin was the first to suggest and explore, in 1920, the sociologies differentiation into monistic and pluralistic[2] based o­n the criteria of their reliance o­n a single, primary resource or o­n several (two and more) equally important resources ruling primordiality out. P.Sztompka elaborates a dynamic (functional, processual) approach, which he contrasts with a static o­ne. A.Giddens' and others' structural approach rests o­n the priority of the structure coordinate. T.Parson's and R.Merton's structural-functional approach rests o­n the recognition of two coordinates - processes and structures. The morphological approach recognises the priority of three spatial coordinates. The genetic approach and genetic sociology recognise the priority of the time coordinate/social genetics. The morphogenetic approach, pursued by M.Archer[3], recognises all four SST coordinates. A comparative analysis of similar classifications o­n the basis of the outlined SST coordinates needs a separate study.

[1] Turner, J. Analytical Theorizing. // Theory of Society. Moscow, 1999, 103-104, 152.

[2] Sorokin P. Popular Textbook of Sociology. Moscow, 1994, p.184-189.

[3] Archer M. Realism and Morfogenes. // Theory of Society. Moscow, 1999, 157-187.

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