THEORY OF THE SOCIO-CULTURAL SYSTEMS
AS FOUNDATION FOR POTENTIAL CONFLICTS ANALYSIS
Simferopol - 1989
This article is the brief presentation of the theory of socio-cultural systems. In this particular case, we make an accent on the aspect of applying the theory to analysis of potential conflicts. First of all, we wish to define more precisely the principal terms used further.
SOCIO-CULTURAL SYSTEM (SCS) - type of the socio-cultural formations dominating in a socio-cultural evolution. SCS-s include main part of the World’s population and inhabited territories. SCS-s are characterised by great sizes of their territories and considerable quantities of own population; they possess original standards of a space, society and state organisation as well as many unique qualities because of those they do differ drastically from the rest of the socio-cultural formations.
Unique characteristics of SCS-s are as follows: ability to expand own homeland at the expense of socio-cultural assimilation of a new territories; ability to generate complicated structure of own space, with internal buffer zones, in order to protect and defend itself from other SCS-s; complete cycle of the space socio-cultural assimilation which includes seven principal stages; domination of the inner logic over outer factors which are always used in a strict correspondence with the SCS’ evolution internal order; ability to create naturally dependent vassals in a course of socio-cultural transformation of other territories; own world religion, or its own unique version; ability to widen a circulation of own language outside own homeland, and first of all - in the internal buffer zone and among the naturally dependent vassals; reliability and self-sufficiency of own economy; ability to generate and invent stable original economic standards and forms which may have no analogues outside a specific SCS.
There are eight SCS-s, and in the process of their evolution, each of them goes through seven stages. With this, at every stage SCS-s acquire specific distinguished forms. Thus, there are 56 essentially different external forms of SCS-s to understand which we should base all the theoretical interpretations on a correct generalisation of a very high level.
INTERNAL BUFFER ZONE OF SCS - qualitatively original and distinctive socio-cultural part of the SCS’s space that is always located on the “outskirts” of the SCS’s homeland, along its borders with other socio-cultural formations. Internal buffer zone is destined mainly to protect homeland of a particular SCS from immediate contacts with alien SCS-s and their possible aggression. It may border with an external socio-cultural buffer zone as well as an internal buffer zone of a neighbouring SCS. Organisation of an internal buffer zone is characterised by many distinctive qualities determined by the specific evolutionary process of the SCS this particular buffer zone belongs to.
EXTERNAL SOCIO-CULTURAL BUFFER ZONE - type of the socio-cultural formations that evolves to separate two or more alien SCS-s. As a rule, external buffer zones border not immediately with the SCS-s, but with their internal buffer zones completely controlled by their own SCS-s. External buffer zone as a special socio-cultural formation is characterised by extreme instability and dependence on dynamics of those SCS-s it separates.
Classic examples of the external buffer zones as a special type of the socio-cultural formations that separate Western and Russian SCS-s are East-European buffer zone (Poland, Czech State, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria) and North-European buffer zone (Finland, Sweden, Norway).
SOCIO-CULTURAL DOMAIN (SCD) - type of the socio-cultural formations that is quite similar to socio-cultural system, but possesses a substantial quantity of principal distinctions. It’s characterised by stable and prolonged existence as well as specific economic, social and cultural forms. Fundamental differences compare to SCS are that SCD-s are categorically unable to assimilate and transform new territories into own homeland, expanding it with this, and create naturally dependent vassals: so, there is no systematic work with space as in case of a socio-cultural systems. The effect is a sort of socio-cultural conservation: SCD-s do not change / expand their own space and in general do not evolve in themselves during very prolonged periods; modern results of such phenomenon are quite modest sizes of their territories. Another essential SCD-s distinction from SCS-s manifests itself in their extraordinary situational behaviour.
At the present level of knowledge about socio-cultural formations and processes, there is no possibility to determine the reasons for emerging differences of socio-cultural systems and domains with respect to space, but it’s possible to describe all the details and components of these distinctions.
Examples are Japanese and Judaic SCD-s.
MIXED SOCIO-CULTURAL REGION - territory that has no distinct internal socio-cultural dominant and where various socio-cultural formations (SCS-s, SCD-s and buffer zones) co-exist. As a rule, these are regions of the young historical assimilation that, in some perspective, gain socio-cultural certainty, but with this may retain in their boundaries presence of a several socio-cultural formations. Most probable evolution of mixed socio-cultural regions is into naturally dependent vassals and external buffer zones, and as a more rare case - into part of the homeland of some SCS.
HOMELAND - the most profoundly transformed in a socio-cultural respect territory where representatives of a certain socio-cultural formation lived and / or still live during historically prolonged interval of time, absolutely securing this territory as their own. Homeland’s territory is always furiously protected and defended from any outside invasions. Representatives of the alien socio-cultural formations may be present there only for a brief time and with many a restrictions that especially concerns homelands of socio-cultural systems.
NATURALLY DEPENDENT VASSAL - relatively integral territory with own population that retains some unprincipal differences from the neighbouring, dominating over it SCS, but became this SCS’ inalienable part as a result of prolonged and systematic socio-cultural transformation. It is important that sizes of states - naturally dependent vassals may vary essentially: the point isn’t size in itself, but a special socio-cultural type of these formations. Naturally dependent vassals may possess a considerable amount of political and economic independence, have quite complicated, and at times conflicting, relationships with their dominants, being actually just a part of a dominating SCS.
ENCLAVE - territory of a historically temporary domination of a particular SCS within another socio-cultural formation. Genesis and evolution of enclaves are diverse and in many respects depend on specific characteristics of a particular SCS’ dynamics. As a rule, enclaves are generated during process of expanding areas controlled by one or another SCS. They carry out important socio-cultural tasks, but are not lasting as from historical point of view. Next in turn stage of the SCS evolution may become the reason for enclave’s degradation, even in the absence of an external pressure.
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To analyse potential conflicts, it’s extremely important to take into consideration typological and time –spatial characteristics of the socio-cultural formations’ nature that are described in detail in our articles (5, 6).
We suggest typological description of socio-cultural systems (SCS), socio-cultural domains (SCD), socio-cultural buffer zones, and mixed socio-cultural regions, according to the following plan:
SOCIO-CULTURAL SPACE: Relatively large areas of permanent inhabitancy; Homeland where significant quantities of its population live permanently; Ability to expand the homeland, through assimilation into it new territories; Ability to generate complicated internal structure of own socio-cultural space, as a response to demands from the outside (existence of an internal buffer zones); Ability to generate civilisations as a form of the own territory sporadic colonisation and assimilation, at the early stages of evolution; Ability to independently generate one or several stable states within own socio-cultural space; Concentration of the considerable reserves of vitally important natural resources within own socio-cultural space; Ability to generate ecological crises as a steps in assimilating own socio-cultural space.
SOCIO-CULTURAL TIME: Stable existence during historically considerable intervals of time; Complete cycle of the own socio-cultural space formation which includes series of successive stages determined by the inner logic of the space evolution.
CONTACTS WITH OUTER WORLD: Correlation of inner logic and outer factors. Ability to resist socio-cultural pressure from the outside; Ability to create socio-cultural enclaves to transform and assimilate alien territories; Ability to create socio-cultural enclave-communities; Ability to establish colonies, military-political and economic vassals outside own homeland; Ability to create naturally dependent vassals in a course of a socio-cultural transformation of other territories.
POPULATION: Existence of a relatively large quantities of own population; Ability to conduct a successive socio-cultural assimilation of alien population, by including it into own structure together with the new territories; Ability of population to retain its qualitative specific characteristics within alien socio-cultural formations; Extent of a socio-cultural homogeneity of the population; Ability to generate migrations of population for socio-cultural transformation of other territories; Ability to generate migrations of population to diffuse it into other socio-cultural formations, with no purpose of their transformation; Ability to maintain multinational structure of population, with various languages, within own socio-cultural formation.
RELIGION, LANGUAGE AND SPIRITUAL CULTURE: Own specific world religion, or its own unique version; Ability to propagate and diffuse own version of religion outside own socio-cultural formation for transformation of other territories; One or several dominant languages; Ability to widen circulation of the own dominant language(-s) as a daily used one(-s) outside own socio-cultural formation.
The full typological description of the socio-cultural formations in accordance with the above named points counts for a 100 pages; it is partly published in our works (5, 6). The great importance of such typology for the potential conflict analysis is that it defines the standard situations when military, political, economic, and social conflicts may arise. There is a strict logic of their situational rising as well as evolution of the conflict complete cycle.
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An important achievement of our theory is that it presents the possibility to create correct models of time-spatial processes in the course of socio-cultural formations’ evolution. It is now possible to describe the evolution of the socio-cultural formations’ morphology. These “space-time” models of the SCS-s evolution were published in our articles (5, 6). Unfortunately, it is impossible to reproduce all of them here once more: there are 56 models characterising periods of the SCS-s evolution and some extra 122 models characterising subperiods in the SCS-s evolution. Below is the list of periods in the various SCS-s evolution.
1. Initial period of the Barbarian-Nomadic SCS existence, surrounded by neighbours not internally ready to integrate with it socio-culturally (from ancient times until I century AD). 2. Establishing the buffer zone with Western SCS (I century - end of the IV century AD). 3. Socio-cultural integration of Barbarian-Nomadic and Western SCS. Rise of the renewed Western SCS (end of the IV century - second half of the VII century AD). 4. Creating the buffer zones between Barbarian-Nomadic SCS and all of its neighbouring SCS-s (from second half of the VII century until late XII century). 5. Socio-cultural integration of Barbarian-Nomadic SCS with all the neighbouring, accessible to it SCS-s. Socio-cultural assimilation of the Barbarian-Nomadic SCS territory and population into these SCS (late XII - 1380-s). 6. Rise of the Barbarian-Nomadic SCS residual homeland and population. Conflict of various neighbouring SCS-s for its socio-cultural assimilation, with the Barbarian-Nomadic SCS itself marionette participation in the process (late XIV century - middle of the XX century). 7. Establishing the Barbarian-Nomadic SCS residual homeland and population on the borders of Russian and Chinese SCS-s as their external buffer zone (from the second half of the XX century and for some future)
1. Initial sporadic colonisation of the homeland territory in the most ancient civilisations and unknown old centres of inhabitancy (XXX - VII centuries BC). 2. Initial spatial defining of the Muslim SCS territory and its early acquisition in the form of Empires. Conflict with Western SCS of its second stage for buffer spaces (750-s - 330-s BC). 3. Socio-cultural contest of Muslim SCS. Creating the internal buffer zones on borders with Western SCS. Assimilation of the other socio-cultural systems’ population within the Muslim territories (from 330-s BC until early VII century AD). 4. Islam as the product of the socio-cultural contest; unification of the Muslim territories based on Islam. Beginning of the Muslim controlled spaces growth, and establishing the buffer zones between Muslim SCS and all of its neighbouring SCS-s (Western, Barbarian-Nomadic, Hindu and Black African) (early VII century - 1258). 5. Socio-cultural integration with Barbarian-Nomadic SCS. Further growth of the Muslim controlled spaces into the territories of Black African and Hindu SCS-s. Creating the military-political vassals and buffer zones with all the neighbouring SCS-s (1258 - early XVIII century). 6. Conflict for buffer spaces with various SCS-s. Loss of the military-political vassals and the alien socio-cultural systems’ permanent presence in the Muslim homeland. Diffusion of the Muslim communities outside the Muslim homeland (early XVIII century - 1970-s). 7. Liberation of the Muslim homeland and its internal buffer zones from the alien socio-cultural systems’ permanent presence. Political-geographical transformation of the Muslim SCS space based on its own socio-cultural standards. Conflict with other SCS-s for the external buffer zones (from 1970-s and for some future)
1. Initial period of the Chinese population existence and Chinese SCS creation (from legendary Hsia Dynasty 1800 - 1500 BC to Eastern Chou Dynasty 770 BC). 2. Socio-cultural contest for creating the most efficient socio-cultural standard for Chinese SCS (from 770 to 221 BC - Eastern Chou Dynasty). 3. Unification of the Chinese SCS territory based on the chosen socio-cultural standard. Beginning of the homeland growth and establishing the naturally dependent vassals (221 BC - 317 AD). 4. Creating the internal buffer zone on the North, new naturally dependent vassals on the West and new homeland on the South (317 - 1211 AD). 5. Socio-cultural integration with Barbarian-Nomadic SCS. Creating the internal buffer zones, naturally dependent vassals and homeland growth on the South. Unification of the socio-culturally transformed territories into the united state (from 1211 until 1840-s). 6. Defining the buffer zones’ territories through conflict with various SCS-s. Military, political and economic presence of alien socio-cultural systems in the Chinese homeland. Beginning of the Chinese population intensive diffusion around the World (from 1840-s until the Great Cultural Revolution). 7. Creating the integral internal buffer zone and liberation of the Chinese homeland from the alien socio-cultural systems’ presence. Establishing the Chinese enclave-communities within Western SCS and the mixed socio-cultural regions (as from the end of the Great Cultural Revolution and for some future)
1. Initial period of the Western population existence and Western SCS creation. Initial sporadic colonisation of the homeland territory in the most ancient civilisations (from ancient times until 770 - 750-s BC). 2. Greek-Roman times. Western homeland growth. Rise of the first Empires and Greek-Roman communities outside the homeland. Establishing the buffer zone with Barbarian-Nomadic SCS (770 - 750-s BC - 380-s AD). 3. Socio-cultural integration with Barbarian-Nomadic SCS. Transformation and further expansion of the homeland. Creating internal buffer zones. Defining the new ideological grounds of Western SCS based on Roman Catholicism (from 380-s AD until the Crusades beginning). 4. Socio-cultural contest of Western SCS. Transformation of the Pyrenees Muslim enclave into internal buffer zone. Creating naturally dependent vassals in the East-European buffer zone. Expansion outside own homeland into the mixed socio-cultural regions (from the Crusades beginning until the discovery of America). 5. Global overseas colonial expansion of Western national states. Growth of the homeland in the mixed socio-cultural regions with Western predominance (1490-s - 1918). 6. Global war against other socio-cultural systems headed by Russian SCS. Losing the control over colonies. Reversion of Western population into own homeland and its redistribution between the mixed socio-cultural regions with Western predominance and traditional Western territories (1918 - 1990-s). 7. Transformation of the European homeland and stimulating further population redistribution between the territories of old homeland and mixed socio-cultural regions with Western predominance. Creating the American and South-Eastern internal and external buffer zones (from 1990-s and for some future)
1. Initial period of the Slavonic world existence, with undeveloped socio-cultural differences (from ancient times until 882 AD). 2. Period of the socio-cultural differences defining in the Slavonic world. Early accumulation of the Russian SCS territory and population as well as establishing the internal and external buffer zones (from 882 until middle - end of the XI century). 3. Socio-cultural contest for creating the most efficient socio-cultural standard for Russian SCS. Socio-cultural integration with barbarian-nomadic SCS (from the end of the XI century until 1572). 4. Creating the united Russian State, with utmost homeland, based on Moscow socio-cultural standard (from 1572 until 1700). 5. Imperial program of the Russian SCS: creating naturally dependent vassals and further homeland growth; expansion into neighbouring SCS-s as resistance to Western SCS pressure onto these SCS-s (from 1700 until 1917). 6. Communist program of the Russian SCS: defining boundaries of own socio-cultural spaces (especially internal and external buffer zones); leading the global war against Western SCS expansion outside its homeland (1917 - 1991). 7. Nationalist program of the Russian SCS: re-structuring own socio-cultural spaces; maintaining balance of socio-cultural powers in the World (from the end of the XX century and for some future)
1. Initial period of the Indian population existence and rise of the ancient Hindu civilisations as a form of sporadic colonisation of the territory. Rise of the Hindu SCS religious, cultural and social foundations (2500-s - 327 BC). 2. First contacts with Muslim SCS. Beginning of the homeland growth and establishing the North-Western buffer zone (327 BC - 711 AD). 3. Muslim SCS attacks withstanded. Creating the buffer zone on the joints with Muslim SCS (711 - early XIII century). 4. Muslim SCS intervention and establishing the vassal military-political control over the Northern and Central regions of the Hindu homeland. Further evolution of the Hindu homeland (early XIII century - 1658). 5. Military-political control of the Great Britain and co-operation with it to withstand the Muslim SCS expansion. Adaptation of Western innovations and Hindu population diffusion into other socio-cultural formations as a vassals of British colonists. Creating the internal buffer zones; conflict with Muslim and Chinese SCS-s for the external buffer zones (1658 - 1945). 6. Transition to an indirect forms of co-operation with Western SCS in the struggle against Muslim and Chinese SCS-s. Extreme point of the conflict with Muslim SCS for control over buffer zones. Further developing the internal buffer zones; efforts to transform the external buffer zones into naturally dependent vassals (from 1945 and for some future). 7. Prognostic stage: Retention of the indirect forms of co-operation with Western SCS to withstand the Muslim and Chinese SCS-s expansion. Final stages of creating the internal and external buffer zones. Political-geographical transformation of the Hindu homeland based on its own socio-cultural standards (more distant future)
1. Initial existence of the South-American population and sporadic colonisation of the territory in form of the most ancient civilisations (from ancient times until the end of the XV century). 2. Socio-cultural integration with Western and Black African SCS-s. Spatial colonisation / assimilation of the territory and creating the renewed basis for South-American SCS (from 1490-s until the 1823 Monroe Doctrine). 3. Establishing the internal buffer zones and re-structuring own territory based on the national states’ principles. Permanent military-political and economic presence of Western SCS (represented by the USA) (1823 - 1918). 4. Operative involvement of the USA into South-American SCS rising. Introduction of economic, social and military innovations. Further creating the internal buffer zones. Co-operation of South-American and Russian SCS-s in the struggle against permanent presence of the USA (1918 - 1980-s). 5. Liberation of the South-American SCS homeland from military, economic and political presence of all the alien socio-cultural systems. Creating the buffer zone with Western SCS (in the mixed socio-cultural region with Western predominance in North America). Operative conversion of the submitted Western economic and social innovations (from 1980-s and for some future). 6. Prognostic stage: Socio-cultural contest in South-American SCS and its re-structuring in accordance with the own renewed socio-cultural standards (this period may last for a 100 years or more). 7. Prognostic stage: Further intensive development of the South-American SCS territory based on its own socio-cultural standards (quite distant future)
BLACK AFRICAN SCS
1. Initial period of the Black African population existence on the territory of its homeland, at the stage of clan-tribal organisation (from ancient times until IV century AD). 2. Beginning of the contacts with Muslim SCS, rise of the early States; creating the Northern and Eastern internal buffer zones (IV century - 1490-s). 3. Beginning of the contacts with Western SCS, creating the Western and Southern internal buffer zones. Overseas diffusion of the Black African population and establishing the enclave-communities within alien socio-cultural formations. Participation in the evolution of South-American SCS, on its 2nd stage (1490-s - 1880-s). 4. Spatial seizure of Black African SCS by Western SCS. Introduction of the superficial economic, social and military innovations. Co-operation of Black African and Russian SCS-s in the struggle against Western SCS control over the Black African homeland (1880-s - 1960). 5. Liberation of the Black African SCS homeland from military, economic and political presence of all the alien socio-cultural systems. Operative conversion of the submitted economic and social innovations (from 1960 and for some future). 6. Prognostic stage: Socio-cultural contest in Black African SCS and its re-structuring in accordance with the own renewed socio-cultural standards (this period may last for a 100 years or more). 7. Prognostic stage: Further intensive development of Black African SCS based on its own socio-cultural standards. Establishing connections between the Black African homeland and its overseas enclave-communities (quite distant future)
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We also present here the general table of periods and subperiods in the socio-cultural systems’ evolution. The “socio-cultural age” is extremely important for understanding potential political, economic, religious, ethnic and regional conflicts.
GENERAL TABLE OF PERIODS AND SUBPERIODS
IN THE SOCIO-CULTURAL SYSTEMS’ EVOLUTION
|Periods of evolution|| |
Number of completed subperiods in the SCS’
|Number of completed subperiods by the time when 7.1. begins|
|Number of subperiods within a period|
|Barbarian-Nomadic SCS||1||2||3||2||3||5||unknown for the time being||17||17|
|1||2||4||3||3||4||unknown for the time being||18||18|
|1||2||2||4||5||3||unknown for the time being||18||18|
|Western SCS||1||5||2||2||5||2||unknown for the time being||18||18|
|1||2||5||2||4||2||unknown for the time being||17||17|
|1||3||2||3||4||unknown for the time being||prognosis||15|| |
17 - 18
|South-American SCS||1||3||2||2||unknown for the time being||prognosis||prognosis||9|| |
17 - 18
|1||3||2||2||unknown for the time being||prognosis||prognosis||10|| |
17 - 18
number of subperiods within a period
|unknown for the time being|| |
Prognosis 139 - 142
Автор Dmitry V. Nikolaenko