There is no question that Sorokin was a sociological giant, one whose pioneer studies The Sociology of Revolution, Social Mobility, Contemporary Sociological Theories, and of course, Social and Cultural Dynamics, to name just the most obvious provided basic frames for major sociological fields. But although an academic professor, he was also a prophet, one who felt his responsibility to decry certain conditions and behavior patterns of modernity, to warn of their consequences, and to seek or prepare us to go beyond the normative crisis of late modernity". (Edward A. Tiryakian)

The Overall Doctrine

To Sorokin, the process of human interaction involves three essential elements: human actors as subjects of interaction; meanings, values, and norms that guide human conduct; and material phenomena that are vehicles and conductors for meanings and values to be objectified and incorporated into a sequence of actions. Not unlike Max Weber, Sorokin (except during his early years as an apprentice sociologist) rejected any attempt to study human affairs without reference to norms, meanings, and values. "Stripped of their meaningful aspects, all the phenomena of human interaction become merely bio-physical phenomena and, as such, properly form the subject of the bio-physical sciences.'' Hence, in Sorokin's sociological thought the emphasis is on the importance of cultural factors, that is, of superorganic elements, as determinants of social conduct.

To understand personalities as subjects of interaction, and society as the totality of interacting personalities, one must bear in mind that they rest on a foundation of culture a culture that consists of the totality of meanings, norms, and values possessed by interacting persons and carried by material vehicles, such as ritual objects or works of art, which objectify and convey these meanings.

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