To the Issue of Sociology of Collective Spiritual Phenomena (Theoretical and Methodological Aspect)

Gorshkov M.K.

Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Director, Federal Center of Theoretical and Applied Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia

DOI: 10.31857/S013216250012674-4
ID of the Article:

Work on this paper was supported by Russian Science Foundation, project No. 20-18-00505.

For citation:

Gorshkov M.K. To the Issue of Sociology of Collective Spiritual Phenomena (Theoretical and Methodological Aspect). Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2021. No 2. P. 3-14


The article focuses on theoretical and methodological conceptualization of sociological analysis of the spiritual life of societal phenomena. The author refers to the consideration of collective (mass) spiritual entities, which for the most part have practically “fallen out” in recent decades from the conceptual apparatus of sociology and empirical measurement practices. In order to determine the most adequate indicators for their sociological study, they were divided according to their substantive grounds into two levels – collective spiritual-psychological and spiritual-practical formations. The first ones include social feelings, public moods and attitudes, as well as moral environment, and the second ones – public opinion and public motives. Their description is accompanied by a review of their intrinsic characteristics. Interpretation and operationalization of the concepts expressing both levels of mass phenomena of the spiritual sphere is made with reference to the distinction between “public consciousness”, “consciousness of society” and “mass consciousness”. A generalized survey of the features and characteristics of various types of collective spiritual formations includes consideration of the “state of consciousness” and “social situation” as key phenomena and concepts that express them. It is concluded that it is the social situation, not social relations (as often asserted), which affects the quantitative and qualitative characteristics of collective spiritual formations as the states of consciousness of large social communities. At the same time, they correlate, in philosophical terms, as an essence and phenomenon, as continuous and discontinuous, as a process and its result.

collective spiritual formations; consciousness of society; mass consciousness; social feelings; public mood; moral environment; public opinion; public motives; state of consciousness; social situation
Content No 2, 2021