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Friendship, trust and conflict as basic concepts of social theory

Priority areas of development: sociology


To develop a conceptual framework for the general sociology / sociological theory via introducing novel basic concepts.


1) To explore the conceptual structure and logical dynamics of “friendship”, “trust”, and “conflict”;

2) To clarify and redefine these notions in order to modify contemporary sociological theory for current practical problem-solving;  to meet the requirements of pragmatic, action-oriented research, and phronetic social science


Historical analysis of philosophical, legal and sociological literature and theoretical construction of the conceptual framework; theory-oriented research data analysis.

Key results

The main outcome of the research project consists of:

First, theoretical design of the research was modified so as to meet the current trends in the social sciences, first of all, practical involvement of theoretical knowledge to the urgent problems of social practice solution (so-called phronetic social science and action research).Theoretical results may be used to create and enrich the sources of sociological description and provide grounds for the solution of social problems of current Russian society. Second, it was sorted through that trust backgrounds social interaction and relationship, acting as a kind of "social glue", which is inevitable for the work of any power or authority. The construction of trust is complicated; it can apply both to the institutions, and the relations between individuals, and take a variety of forms, sometimes becoming almost invisible due to the more distinct, differentiated forms of social communication. Third, it was explicated that the basic relationship of friendship and conflict as the two types of reciprocity, are not only opposed but also complementary in modern society. Thus, the power and authority permeate underlying interpersonal relationships, which are constructed as friendly interaction or conflict on the basis of the diverse forms of fuzzy trust. This is not just a term useful only for the theoretical purposes, but the category of pragmatic description of the social world, allowing for the embedded knowledge in a concrete situation; it is made for to study the particular circumstances of the action -- from the everyday behavior of the crowd to the politically important decisions. Such a pragmatic descriptions become necessary in an age of scarce, even extinct, conventional schemes, namely -- the collapse of the globalization concept.

This presupposes in the future, on the one hand, proceeding with the work on a purely conceptual resources, expanding the opportunities of consistent and subtle sociological descriptions and explanations. On the other hand, it does need to deepen the theoretical work aimed at understanding the broader context of social events, including international ones.



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