Social development has always been one of the central problems of sociology. The subject of economic sociology are factors and mechanisms for the development of economic life, its stages and stages, the main trends. There are two large groups of sociological development theories.

1. Linear theories of progress, considering the historical development of society as a movement from primitive economic and sociocultural forms to increasingly complex. Theories of progressive linear development of a society, as a rule, include notions about its stages or steps, which are universal and regularly replace one another. In general, all of humanity is thought of as developing progressively, in one direction, on the basis of universal laws. These theories can be attributed, first of all, to the theory of "double evolution" O. Comte, the Marxist theory of socio-economic formations, as well as the theory of "growth stages" and most modern modernization theories.

2. Theories of non-linear development, denying a single universal logical social and historical progress and interpreting the development of mankind as a change of historical cycles that do not have a common progressive direction (the theory of fluctuations of AP Sorokin) or development based on the sociocultural identity, the uniqueness of each society (the theory of civilizations and sociocultural identity).

Linear theories of socio-economic development

General characteristics of linear theories of socio-economic development

Linear theories of social dynamics, coming from the notions of the existence of universal human progress, go back to the law of double evolution O. Comte, who considered the history of thought and the history of society as a change in the theological, metaphysical and positive stages. In the latter, social life is governed by "sociocrats" and "industry". The most striking expression of linear concepts of social dynamics is the theory of K. Marx , which treats it as "natural-historical" process, emphasizing the universal and legitimate nature of the progress of society. This progress includes the stages socio-economic formations , whose socio-economic and socio-cultural characteristics are determined by the production method i.e. dominant relations in relation to property, forms of participation in social production, the size and manner of appropriation of the share of material wealth. The first, the most primitive of the formations identified by Marx, was the primitive communal, with primitive implements and the undeveloped division of labor, the absence of division of society into classes, almost equal access to the product produced by all members of society. The most developed in the technological sense was the capitalist formation, which relied on industrial production, acquired a mass character, developed a division of labor, the class antagonistic structure of society. The contradiction between the mass character of the productive forces and the private nature of the appropriation of the social product prepared, in Marx's view, the replacement of the capitalist socioeconomic formation by the most advanced, communist, eliminating all social contradictions and marking the entry of mankind into the era of "genuine history."

The real processes of the dynamics of economic life in different societies are explained in Marx's theory not simply through a reduction to the "materialistic" - economic or technical determination, and with the help of a complex and in-depth analysis of social relations about economic interests, where the materialistic determination "only in the final analysis" paves its way through a complex interaction of economic, social, legal, political, ideological and other factors. However, the processes of changes in the social and economic sphere are interpreted from the point of view of linear historical progress: thus, the destruction of the traditional social foundations of Indian society under the influence of British colonial domination is regarded by Marx as an accelerated path to the capitalist mode of production, which then creates direct prerequisites for the transition to the next, , stage. Those forms of socio-economic life that did not fit into the scheme - primarily the phenomenon of the "Asian mode of production", differing from both ancient slavery and European feudalism, created difficulties for the application of Marx's theory of the dynamics of economic life.

In the 50-60's. XX century. theories of linear social development, justified by the universality of technical and technological progress and the forms of economic and social life connected with it, have spread. These theories assumed that the development of technologies and the forms of production corresponding to them bring to life and adequate types of culture, and the more developed Western societies are a model for all other more technologically and economically backward countries. Social and cultural peculiarities of different regions of the world were perceived within the framework of these theories as secondary to the universality of technical and technological and economic progress.

A typical theory of universal social progress based on the progress of the technical and economic is the theory of "growth stages" American economist. Rostow . It describes the five stages of economic growth and the corresponding social progress through which, like the Marxian socio-economic formations, all societies pass, although each has its own specifics. The first stage of growth is a traditional society and its inherent primitive technology, based mainly on the muscular power, which corresponds to interpersonal social ties. Then there are the stages of transit, take-off and maturity, after which at the fifth stage of the mass consumption society , at which such a high level of production and welfare of the population is reached, that the structure of the economy changes in favor of technically complex durable goods (for example, cars, household appliances, etc.) and services. In 1960, when the work of W. Rostow was published, "The Stages of Economic Growth," he claimed that this stage was achieved only in the US, for other countries it is a more or less distant prospect. At the same time, adherents of theories of progress based on technical and economic development, believed that the "backward" countries in order to accelerate their development and consistently achieve higher stages of growth can borrow models of socio-economic structure - not only technology and technical innovations, but also institutions, norms, values ​​in more developed countries. This is how the idea of ​​the need for the spread of Western (more advanced) forms of sociality to all of mankind arose in order to accelerate its progressive development.

The most common basis of theories of linear progressive development is the paradigm of the transition from the traditional state to the modern one, presented, in particular, in the works of T. Parsons . A number of researchers of M. Weber's creativity, including T. Parsons himself, were of the opinion that when investigating in the "Protestant Ethic" and other works, the spiritual prerequisites for the genesis of Western capitalism and the underlying rationalization of the way of life based on it, the German sociologist revealing the "universal meaning" phenomena of Western culture. T. Parsons in the preface to the English translation of the "Sociology of Religion". M. Weber notes that it can hardly be doubted that modern Western society has become the primary model for the world as a whole.

In the middle of XX century. the theories of post-industrial society and postmodernism were created, and in the late 1990s, - and the theory of globalization, in which the paradigm of linear progressive development describes the social realities of the late XX - early XXI century. A well-known American sociologist and futurologist A. Toffler defined the stages that humanity is going through in its development, like successive waves: a traditional civilization based on land ownership is replaced by an industrial civilization, followed by a third wave. - The civilization, economic, social and cultural processes in which are determined by information. At this new stage of socio-economic development, information constitutes the main capital and wealth of society, the specificity of its production, distribution, exchange determines the nature of all socio-cultural processes.

thematic pictures

Also We Can Offer!

Other services that we offer

If you don’t see the necessary subject, paper type, or topic in our list of available services and examples, don’t worry! We have a number of other academic disciplines to suit the needs of anyone who visits this website looking for help.

How to ...

We made your life easier with putting together a big number of articles and guidelines on how to plan and write different types of assignments (Essay, Research Paper, Dissertation etc)