Nikolay Bukharin:
Sociology and Theory of Socialism

Kononov I.F

Dr. Sci. (Sociol.), Prof., Luhansk Taras Shevchenko National University, Starobilsk, Ukraine

DOI: 10.31857/S013216250014305-8
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For citation:

Kononov I.F Nikolay Bukharin: Sociology and Theory of Socialism. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2021. No 5. P. 117-128


The article analyzes influence of N. Bukharin’s sociological thought on his understanding of transition from capitalism to socialism. This Russian Marxist shared doctrines of K. Marx and F. Engels that socialism had turned from utopian ideas into a scientific theory thanks to historical materialism and the theory of surplus value. Unlike many Marxists of his time, Bukharin took historical materialism to be sociology to develop. Sociology of Marxism influenced his theory of communism and socialism in two ways – explicitly and implicitly. As an explicit part it performed ideological, methodological and ideological functions. Scientific and ideological components were always mixed in his works making his constructions internally contradictory. As an implicit part, categories of Marxist sociology became instruments for socio-economic and political analyses. When carrying out these analyses at different times, he offered concepts: creative role of destruction when transiting to Communism, many forms of socialism and basic economic law of socialism. After the October Revolution N. Bukharin in times of the war communism validated feasibility of the left-wing communists arguing that even in the transitional period violence plays a crucial role. During the New Economic Policy he viewed socialism as a system of civilized cooperators in line with V. Lenin’s testament. He saw transition period as a market one, associated with the struggle for hegemony of the proletariat in relations to peasantry and new bourgeoisie. After Stalin’s “revolution from above” Bukharin tried to preserve his ideological influence in the USSR, having accepted basic tenets of Stalinism though his visions remained unchanged. Socialism was supposed to provide freedom for individual development.

N.I. Bukharin; sociology; Marxism; communism; socialism; transition period


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