Social Science and Russian Studies: Value Added or Obfuscated?

International programs

In Russian/Soviet studies in the West, historians and literature scholars have played central roles. Social scientists, mostly in political science, stepped into the ring after World War II, often pursuing modernization and totalitarian theories whose insights ultimately were overshadowed by errors of logic and fact. Political scientists have returned with useful insights on political economy, voting, and policy-making. But what about sociology-what has it offered in the past, and what can it offer in the future? This discussion considers insights and possibilities from sociology past (especially Max Weber and Barrington Moore), sociology present, and insights from outside Russian studies that could be imported. In particular: how much depth of the area is required to make useful contributions, and how important is explicit and transparent "theory" for making real sense of Russia past, present, and future?


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Speaker: Dr. Jeffrey K. Hass,

Associate Professor, Department of Sociology & Anthropology, University of Richmond Professor, Faculty of Economics, Department of Economic Theory, St. Petersburg State University (Russia).