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Borisova P. A. Law and Social Justice in the Works of B. A. Kistiakovsky

(Russian State University for the Humanities)

Abstract ♦ Due to large-scale social change, the issue of justice is increasingly often brought up in public discourse. This idea has been variously interpreted over time, with specific national traditions arising. These traditions have been influenced by outstanding researchers of the past, which are thus of special interest. Such were the views of the founder of the Russian school of legal sociology B.A. Kistiakovsky (1868–1920). This article investigates his contribution to social studies.

Justice, according to Kistiakovsky, cannot be implemented in institutional forms where a law-based society is absent and no legal culture of an intelligentsia exists. In the methodological sense, he counterposed the categories of necessity and obligation. Necessity as a category is not applicable to researching social phenomena and processes, because it cannot relevantly account for their spontaneity and variability. In many respects, this is because the main subject of social relations is man, with their specific values, orientations and inherent freedom of choice. Hence, Kistiakovsky suggests considering the social through the category of obligation, with a special focus on socio-cultural features of Russian society, and in particular, on its collective and individual values.

The legal scholar took a special interest in the problems of professional ethics and sociologists’ responsibility before the society. In Kistiakovskys opinion, the task of the sociologist exceeds mere gathering of empirical information. It must then be systematized into theoretical schemes and models. Sociologists should strive to find the only true scenario of social development based on two criteria — freedom and justice. The category of obligation is thus of high value both in the methodological and professional sense, appealing as it does to the notions of service and debt that sociologists owe to the society.

Freedom and justice, according to Kistiakovsky, are possible only in the conditions of a law-based society, since it is law that allows the ideas of justice to take shape of institutional forms. Thus, law and justice in Kistiakovskys theory act as the pivotal categories. It is through them that we can best study the social as reflected in personal values, needs and orientations of both individuals and social groups.

Keywords: justice, social justice, sociological heritage, B.A. Kistiakovsky

Borisova Polina Alekseevna, Postgraduate student, Department of the Theory and History of Sociology, Russian State University for the Humanities. Postal address: 6 Miusskaya Sq., Moscow, Russian Federation, 125993. Tel.: +7 (495) 250-66-21. E-mail: Research adviser: M. B. Bulanova, Doctor of Social Science.


Citation: Borisova P. A. (2015) Law and Social Justice in the Works of B. A. Kistiakovsky [ ]. Znanie. Ponimanie. Umenie, no. 1, pp. 310-319. (In Russ.). DOI: 10.17805/zpu.2015.1.31

Submission date: 5.02.2015.



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