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The Legacy of Pitirim Sorokin in the Transnational Alliances of Moral Conservatives

Uzlaner, Dmitry; Stoeckl, Kristina

This article examines the legacy of Pitirim A. Sorokin (1889–1968), a Harvard sociologist from the Russian emigration. The authors scrutinise Sorokin as one of the nodal points for today’s moral conservatism. As a scholar, Sorokin has been relegated to the margins of his discipline, but his legacy as a public intellectual has persisted in the United States and has soared in Russia over the last three decades. This article examines Sorokin’s reception in these two nations, some of whose citizens have facilitated the burgeoning transnational phenomenon of twenty-first-century moral conservatism. Four aspects of Sorokin’s legacy are especially relevant in this context: his emphasis on values, his notion of the ‘sensate culture’, his ideas about the family, and his vision for moral revival. The authors conclude that Sorokin functions as a nodal point that binds together individual actors and ideas across national, cultural and linguistic barriers. The article is based on a firsthand analysis of moral conservative discourse and documents, on qualitative interviews and on scholarly literature.

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