Evolution of Science and Technology / Mokslo ir technikos raida, Vol 1, No 1 (2009)

Change in the Soviet Authorities’ Attitude towards Sociology in Lithuania (1960–1989)

Valdas Pruskus


Two principal reasons stimulated the Soviet authorities to draw attention to sociology and grant it the right (though limited) to exist. The first reason was introducing a course on the fundamentals of Scientific Communism based on practice, and therefore it was necessary to do sociological research in order to form its basis. The second reason was the need for the management of scientific society the implementation of which was impossible without sociological researches.
For the purpose of turning sociological researches to reality, the Soviet authorities took certain measures. Sociological research centres were established in scientific research institutes and higher schools. At a later stage, sociological services were founded in enterprises, institutions and organizations. For coordinating sociological research activities, the following sociological research control centres were established: the Council coordinating sociological researches in the higher school of the Republic and the Republican Social Economic Planning Coordination Council. The control of sociological researches was based on their restriction and not permitted to overstep the ideological limits of that time.
Sociological research centres and sociological services performed a number of sociological researches. Most of work was done in the field of production and work sociology. Such issues as the specificity of work contents, the influence of engineering progress, the number of staff members training them for production activities, employees‘ satisfaction of working procedure, wages and views, the attitude towards work, moral and social psychological climate in the group, etc. were investigated.
Researches into work sociology were often of the applied nature, however, at the same time, they contributed to the development of academic sociology. Academic works on sociology were published and conferences were held. Since 1970, after forming the concept of social planning, the range of sociological work was expanded. Apart from activities at work, social, cultural and daily pursuits were started to be registered and described. The situation of the social structure was also analyzed and investigation into family sociology was carried out. Research activities performed by the youth accounted for quite a large part of sociological work.
Notwithstanding the fact that the newly reborn sociology broadened and enlivened social science, it did not succeed in making itself entirely free from the clutches of the ideology of that time. Sociology had to observe methodological orientation being in compliance with Marxism-Leninism views. Such popular ideologies peculiar to the problems of social research as emphasis on the cult of work and the rejection of many values (e.g. religion) were considered as ‘bourgeois’, i.e. unacceptable, and thus not suitable for research. Many painful to the nation processes, namely the consequences of private property liquidation and deportations, the specificity of social psychological climate under the conditions of totalitarianism were not described. Sociology lacked pluralism; it could not fully fulfil the function of society self-knowledge. The human being was engaged in sociology only in the context of economic development aimed at creating socialism. There were no investigations into a number of important parameters for social psychological distances between classes and strata.
Social theories and specific analyses did not reveal vertical shadow differentiation between the members of the contemporary society. The manner of living of the sub-culture representatives placed on the lowest stages of the social structure as well as immigrants was treated poorly. Researching lacked the humanist approach, a deeper revelation of meanings and theoretical soundness. Despite these restrictions, at present, there is a possibility of conducting real research on the society and related processes thus joining the community of sociologists worldwide.


Article in Lithuanian

Article in: Lithuanian

Article published: 2011-04-02

Keyword(s): sociology; soviet authorities; researches

DOI: 10.3846/est.2009.06

Full Text: PDF pdf

Mokslo ir technikos raida - Evolution of Science and Technology ISSN 2029-2430 eISSN 2029-2449