Russian Sociology of Cinema in the Context of Society Development

Zhabskiy M.I.

Dr. Sci. (Sociol.), Leading Researcher, Research Sector of Academy of Media Industry, Moscow, Russia

Tarasov K.A.

Dr. Sci. (Cult.), Prof., Department of Sociology, Moscow State Institute of International Relations (University) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia, Moscow, Russia

DOI: 10.31857/S013216250007449-6
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Zhabskiy M.I., Tarasov K.A. Russian Sociology of Cinema in the Context of Society Development. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2019. No 11. P. 73-81


In the history of the Russian sociology of cinema (1910–2019), the development of which has been intermittent and fraught with drama, five waves of development are distinguished and discussed, interspersed with two tragic halts. The first wave is dated as a short prerevolutionary period. Russian researchers, under a strong impact from the social critique cinema in Germany and the very birth of the sociology of cinema there, strived to collect factual material regarding the impact of film spectacle on the souls of the young. Their nascent searchings were stopped by the 1917 revolutionary events and the ensuing civil war. The second wave (the mid-1920s to 1933) is the period of emergence and formation of the Soviet sociology of cinema. Researchers attempted to render some assistance to filmmakers in the latter’s tasks of schooling and enculturating the masses. Such activity on their part did not last long. In the administrative-command system of the 1930s, there was no place for the sociologist. Cinema found itself under Stalin’s personal control. The second long halt set in. The third wave (1963–1985) came as a period of rebirth and professionalization for the sociology of cinema under the conditions of Khrushchev’s «thaw» and the «developed socialism». The main stimulus for the progress was the problem of theater attendance and of cinema profitability. The fourth wave (1985–1991) was – according to its conception, anyway – the continuation of the third wave within the framework of «perestroika», with its course toward democratization and «glasnost». The societal position of the sociology of cinema improved significantly. The fifth wave (from 1991 to the present) is the period of restructuring the sociology of cinema, of its development and declining activity in the 2010s, premised on the subjectivization of the actual film policy and the contingent issue of financing the work of sociologists.

sociology of cinema; cinematic process; social changes; state; film audience


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Content No 11, 2019