The main types of social theories are Social Philosophy

Main types of social theories

There is an immense number of theories of social development. At first glance, it seems that there are no landmarks in this vast sea of ​​social theorizing. In fact, this is not the case.

You can outline the general classification of modern social theories and make up a kind of "card", or a scheme of modern social theorizing. Such a scheme will show, in particular, the place of liberalism, conservatism and socialism under consideration in social theorizing, and will allow to clarify their relations with other types of social theories that have been put forward since about the XVIII century.

Let radicalism mean the demand for a decisive, radical transformation of society, not particularly considering the old social institutions and individual freedoms. At the root of radicalism is usually a complete dissatisfaction with the preceding history, the existing society, now living man. Radicalism presupposes the desire to destroy the old society to its foundations and create a new, much more perfect society, a perfect man and, perhaps, a more perfect natural environment worthy of a new society and a new man.

Reformism, as the opposite of radicalism, will mean, respectively, a gradual, step-by-step transformation of society that does not set global goals and takes into account the value of existing social institutions and traditions, embodying past experience. Reformism is usually skeptical of the idea of ​​creating some ideal society and a perfect person, calling for appreciation of what is already there, despite all its imperfections. In politics, radical people or movements are usually called the "left" and are opposed to the "right" or conservative reformists.

By collective values ​​ we understand what is considered positively valuable by some social collectives or society as a whole. To individual values ​​ in this case will relate everything that is preferred by individual people, is the object of any of their desire or interest.

Social theories can be divided into two classes, depending on whether they are supposed to be radical or, alternatively, gradual ways of social transformation. On the other hand, such theories can be divided into those that give priority to collective values ​​over individual values, and those that value individual values ​​above collective ones. Combining these two divisions, we get four basic types of modern social theories: socialism, anarchism, conservatism and liberalism.

Socialism requires a radical transformation of society in order to establish collective values. Anarchism presupposes an equally decisive transformation of society, but with the intention of asserting individual values. Conservatism is based on the gradual reform of society, giving preference primarily to collective values. And, finally, liberalism implies a gradual transformation of society with the aim of maximizing the widespread introduction of individual values.

It should be noted that when we talk about types of social theorizing, we mean not so much theory in a more or less strict sense of the word, as different styles of thinking about social problems, different ways of approach to solving such problems. Within each of the types of social thought, there are many specific, with varying degrees of clarity, formulated theories, partly competing, partly solidarizing with each other.

In particular, there is no single concept of socialism acceptable to all socialists. On the contrary, different versions of socialism are sometimes so far apart that the identification of their deep community turns into an independent problem (for example, socialism, which presupposes internationalism and the socialization of property, and socialism based on the idea of ​​superiority of some nations over others, preserving owners, but making their authorized state to manage property). Even in Western Marxist socialism there are numerous currents that lead to polemics with each other.

Socialism, anarchism, conservatism and liberalism are, so to speak, pure types of social thought. On their basis, various intermediate types of theories arise, which have become particularly widespread in the 20th century. So, liberal, or democratic, socialism, sometimes called socialism with a human face, complements the concept of socialism with certain ideas of liberalism; neo-liberalism is the result of the assimilation by the classical liberalism of certain elements of conservatism, etc.

The above scheme covers the social concepts put forward in the last three centuries. Each of these concepts can be found remote ideological predecessors. But the presence of such, sometimes very remote kinship of recent and existing in the distant past social theories can not be grounds for asserting that socialism is as old as human history itself, and the main elements of the theory of socialism were still in Plato or that certain fragments of anarchism are contained in the philosophy of Zeno and the Stoics, etc. Such statements are clearly unhistorical.

Next, the main ideas of liberalism, conservatism and socialism will be considered.

Anarchism proclaims its goal immediate and radical liberation of the individual from all varieties of political, economic and spiritual power. According to VI Lenin's description, "anarchism is bourgeois individualism turned out inside out. Individualism as the basis of the whole worldview of anarchism. " Anarchism as a special course of social thought powerfully manifested itself in the late XIX - early XX century. The names of the United States theoreticians of anarchism MA Bakunin and PA Kropotkin are well known. However, by the middle of the last century, theoretical anarchism was almost exhausted, and it will not be considered further.

It can only be noted that the modern so-called antiglobalism is an anarchistic concept, and can be called neoanarchism.

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