“Contemporary Social and Cultural Crisis” by P. A. Sorokin (1938)

 

 

 

Sorokin, ‘Contemporary Social and Cultural Crisis’ – Harvard Alumni Bulletin

 

 

 

Posted here (above) is the following downloadable PDF file:

 

“Contemporary Social and Cultural Crisis”

By Dr. P. A. Sorokin, Professor of Sociology

Harvard Alumni Bulletin

Vol. XL, No. 16

February 4, 1938

1. 512-514

 

 

Sorokin gave this address in December 1937 as part of a series of radio talks

 

 

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We have here Sorokin writing in the characteristic style of the years following the publication of his Social and Cultural Dynamics, the fist three volumes of which were published in 1937 —  a style that foreshadows that of The Crisis of Our Age, which was published in 1941.

Scholars currently studying Sorokin’s early works in Russian are learning more about his career as a writer. Overlooked (mostly) in the past was the early journalistic experience he had. Sorokin qua writer is a topic that deserves study. One will find, I believe, both strengths and weaknesses.

The fact that Sorokin wrote the majority of his major works in a second language is not something to be ignored. Even in this rather straightforward article, there can be seen occasional infelicities in grammar and wording.

 

 

— Roger W. Smith

   August 2019

 

 

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addendum:

 

An article of interest — in Russian — which I have not yet seen has recently been published:

 

Американский этап лингвистической биографии Питирима Сорокина (“The American Stage of Pitirim Sorokin’s Linguistic Biography”)

 

by Сергиева Н.С. (Natalia S. Sergieva)

 

Полилингвиальность и транскультурные практики (Polylinguality and Transcultural Practices)

 

Vol. 16, No..1 (2019), pp. 35-44

 

 

Abstract:

 

The article discusses the features of the bilingualism of an eminent sociologist of the twentieth century Pitirim Sorokin in the American period of his life. The purpose of the study is to identify and explain the linguistic features of his scientific thinking in connection with the development of his scientific worldview. The study is based on the materials of Pitirim A. Sorokin Collection at the University of Saskatchewan (Canada). Archival manuscripts and research notes allow us to trace the process of changing the language and switching codes in the professional activities of Pitirim Sorokin after moving to the United States of America. It has been established that the use of a mixed metalanguage by Pitirim Sorokin can be considered as additional evidence of the continued connection with the Russian period of his life and scientific activity. Russian remained for him a tool of scientific thinking, planning and management.

“In Memoriam: P. A. Sorokin” (Supplement, Indian Journal of Social Research, 1968)

 

 

 

tributes to Sorokin – Indian Journal of Social Research, April 1968

 

 

Posted here (PDF file above) is a series of post mortem tributes to Pitirim A. Sorokin that were published in in 1968 as a special supplement to the Indian Journal of Social Research, Volume IX, Number 1 (April 1968), pp. i-xvi

 

“In Memoriam: Pitirm Alexanderovich Sorokin: January 21, 1889-Feburary 10, 1968, pp. i-iii

 

“Reminiscences of Sorokin,” by Charles P. Loomis, pp. iv-viii (written by Professor Loomis in 1959 and published posthumously)

 

TRIBUTES:

 

by Carle C. Zimmerman, pp. ix-xii

 

by Kenneth V. Lottich, pp. xii-xiii

 

The New York Times (reprinted from an anonymous obituary, condensed and slightly edited), pp. xiii-xiv

 

by Kewal Motwani, pp. xiv-xv

 

by Arnold J. Toynbee, pg. xvi

 

by Michael V. Belok, pg. xvi

 

by Santosh K. Nandy, pg. xvi

 

 

The editor of the journal, respsonsible for assembling the supplement, was G. C. Hallen, Professor of Sociology at J. V. College, Baraut (Meerut), India

 

 

 

— posted by Roger W. Smith

   August 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sidney Hook and Lewis Mumford on Sorokin

 

 

1 Sidney Hook, ‘History in Swing Rhythm’ (review of Dynamics) – Nation 7-10-1937

 

2 Lewis Mumford, ‘Insensate Ideologue’ (review of Dynamics, vols. 1-3)

 

3 Sidney Hook review of The Crisis of Our Age – NY Herald Tribune 1-11-1942

 

4 Sidney Hook review of Society, Culture and Personality – NYTBR 8-17-1947

 

5 Lewis Mumford review of The Reconstruction of Humanity – J of Religion

 

 

Several of the most savage — if that is not too strong a word; one can safely say highly critical and damaging — reviews of Pitirim A. Sorokin’s major works were written, not in scholarly journals, but in newspapers and a magazine by two polymaths: the American historian, sociologist, philosopher of technology, and literary critic Lewis Mumford and the American pragmatist philosopher Sidney Hook. It is hard to gainsay the validity of conclusions reached by these two prominent New York intellectuals about flaws in Sorokin’s scholarship, his methodology, his overreaching in sweeping statements and conclusions, his carelessness in the use of evidentiary material, his lack of objectivity in works supposedly the result of exhaustive research based on data compiled scientifically.

What I would be inclined to say is that Sorokin wrote hastily and aimed high — at profundity and broad scope. I feel that the criticisms are valid. Sorokin’s flaws should be acknowledged. They do not necessarily invalidate his works (written during the mid-twentieth century, when, as Sorokin wrote, mankind was in the midst of crisis unprecedented “in all its stark and unquestionable reality” … “of an enormous conflagration burning everything into ashes”), the breadth and depth and timelessness of which are indicators of their lasting importance.
— Roger W. Smith

   August 2019

 

 

I have transcribed and posted here (above), as downloadable Word documents, the following reviews:
review of Social and Cultural Dynamics, Vols. 1-3

by Sidney Hook

The Nation

July 10, 1937
review of Social and Cultural Dynamics, Vols. 1-3

by Lewis Mumford

The New Republic

July 14, 1937

pp. 283-284

 

 

review of The Crisis of Our Age: The Social and Cultural Outlook

by Sidney Hook

New York Herald Tribune

January 11, 1942
review of Society, Culture, and Personality: Their Structure and Dynamics

by Sidney Hook

New York Times Book Review

August 17, 1947

 

 

review of The Reconstruction of Humanity

by Lewis Mumford

The Journal of Religion

Vol. 29, No. 4 (October 1949), pp. 301-302

 

 

 

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Sidney Hook (1902-1989) was an American philosopher known for his contributions to the philosophy of history, the philosophy of education, political theory, and ethics. After embracing Communism in his youth, Hook was later known for his criticisms of totalitarianism, both fascism, and Marxism-Leninism.

Lewis Mumford (1895-1990) was an American historian, sociologist, philosopher of technology, and literary critic. Noted for his study of cities and urban architecture, he had a broad career as a writer. His works ranged from a groundbreaking study of Herman Melville to books such as The Culture of Cities and The City in America; The Condition of Man; and Technics and Civilization, in which he divided human civilization into three distinct epochs, in a manner somewhat similar to Sorokin.