A publication of the presented conception, indeed, can become an important step to expansion of the discourse not only in the domestic social science. Under certain conditions, this conception would attract attention of representatives of the foreign social science.
Head of the Committee
of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine
on Problems of Social Policy and Labour,
Doctor of Political Sciences, Professor
All who dare to give a new seeing of the two-millennium past history can be divided into three principal categories: great reformers, encyclopedists, and adventurers.
Being acquainted with the creative potential of the authors, I surely assert that they do not belong to the first and to the last. They are loyal followers of encyclopedists.
Their desire to give a possibility to the distressful mankind to look at old dimmed mirrors of its history in order that it could see a new outline of time deserves a deep respect and all kinds of support.
The authors of the conception are advantageously distinguished by the feature which was not seen in the others for a long time, namely, a brilliant expressive pride (in the best, positive sense of this word) setting in motion their aspiration to present a new logic, a new Ariadnes clue, to the XXI century for orientation in the labyrinths of social memory. Just this pride led the authors to such an immodest desire. However, in my opinion, it is this quality that should characterize the conceptual reinterpretation of the Epoch, because the Epoch requires an epochal (nonstandard, nontraditional, nonordinary, immodest) reinterpretation.
Such a conception has to get a chance and has a right to exist.
Candidate of Philosophical Sciences,
Member of the Union of Journalists of Ukraine
The idea of the research project «Social development AD» ripened in the authors collective during the last decade marked by radical changes in the world: downfall of the Berlin wall, disintegration of the USSR, subsequent economic decline in new sovereign states of Central and East Europe, and, on the contrary, economic jump of «south-asian tigers».
A new social situation, first of all in the regions of the so-called transformation, its noncontrollable and nonpredictable, in many respects, character, and the need in minimization of negative consequences of the transient period cannot help to stimulate a growth of interest in new conceptual approaches and attempts to reinterpret the past, explain the present, and foresee the future. Imperceptibly, rather quickly, and unconstrainedly, such terms as macroeconomy, world economy, geopolicy, geostrategy, globalization, international standards, all-mankind norms and priorities enter into the common use of politicians of the countries in transition. New tendencies also actualize the problem of integral indices of social (personal and social) development, without which any verification of appearing conceptual constructions is hardly possible.
Though the problem of integral indices in sociology remains unsolved, quite reassuring perspectives have arisen, in out opinion, at the last time. In this connection, we mention numerous works performed at the Institute of Sociology of the NAS of Ukraine in the 90s. From the first years of the existence of the Institute (October 1990), one observed the formation of scientific trends, unusual for the soviet sociological school, such as «the theory of catastrophes», «social synergetics», «sociology of gender», «socionics», etc. Achievements of the American and West European sociological thought found an increasing recognition there. All this together along with a growing activity of the Institute in the fulfillment of empiric sociological studies and difficulties caused by a nonlinear character of transformational processes have transferred the problem of integral indices directly into the plane of practical decisions. A rather large group of researchers was engaged by its solution (Vorona V. M., Ruchka A. O., Golovakha E. I., Panina N. V., Saenko Yu. I., Donchenko O. A., et al.).
Among works devoted to the problem of integral indices, we mention the monograph by Donchenko O. A. «Societal psychics» (1994), in which he substantiates a model of societal psychics, its intrinsic properties, states, and processes. Though this work has met an ambiguous attitude, however, the societal indices grounded in it seem to be sufficiently productive. They are able, in our opinion, to correctly describe typological «static» features of the socium (in a normative stable state) and to establish the presence of points of discontinuity in its genesis the «dynamics» (transient state).
Experiments performed by E. A. Afonin (1990-1999) became a certain supplement to the theoretical generalizations of Donchenko O. A. The former were based on the projective psychodiagnostic test, developed by E. A. Afonin, with colour preferences, which was approved on the random sampling of a volume of more than 1000 persons of both sexes, with various ages, education, and nationality in Ukraine. Russia, Belorussia, and abroad. The test reveals a sufficient technological workability and efficiency in sociological polls carried out in the frameworks of military-social investigations in the Armed Forces of Ukraine (1992-1995). A definite modification of the test ensures the realization of the sociological monitoring in Ukraine from 1992, which has established the beginning (1994) of societal (system-wide) changes, situational (short-term) formation of a rationalistic behavioural typology in the country (spring of 1995, 1996, 1998), and appearance (1999) of cuspidal tendencies related to the withdrawal of Ukraine from the crisis. These circumstances allow one to solve a number of applied prognostic problems connected with elections of peoples deputies of Ukraine, Head of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine of the third convocation, Kyivs mayor, and President of Ukraine. High technological potentialities of the methodics open wide perspectives for it in solution of a number of traditional problems of the normative period (establishment of limits for age categories for optimization of budget social payments; harmonization of relations in social institutions; dynamization of the governmental policy, etc.).
The experiments performed and their results on the whole gave the necessary basis for statement of the question on the application of the new procedure to the analysis of large social systems. The first attempt of such an analysis was made in papers: «Development of Ukraine: macrosocial approach [in Ukrainian] // Viche. 1996. No.1. P. 45-55; Ukraine Europe World: on the way of co-evolution [in Ukrainian] // Visnyk Kharkiv. Derzh. Univer. 1999. No. 433. P. 13-16. The most integral conceptual exposition of the idea of this project was given in the final part of the scientific report «Social relativism or sociology of social changes» presented by one of the authors on October 22, 1998 at the conference hall of Vernadsky National Library of Ukraine (see Appendix 1). As a certain incentive to the beginning of an immediate development, we mention the decision of two public organizations (Ukrainian Social Innovation Society and Atlantic Council of Ukraine) and Information and Library Department of the Secretariat of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine to initiate works on realization of the idea of the project. According to the adopted decision, the preparatory stage of development and, at the same time, the campaign on attraction of the attention of the scientific community including the west one.
From the first steps of the project statement, its working group informs the scientific community in a proper way about the course of implementation of the main idea. The project booklet (see Appendix 2) was spread among the institutes of the NAS of Ukraine and colleges of Ukraine. For the purpose of a search for foreign partners, the project announcement was spread at meetings of the Section of libraries and research services of parliaments of the world in the frameworks of the 65th Conference of the International Federation of Librarian Associations (August 1999, Bangkok, Thailand) and among the participants of the Conference of correspondents of the European Center of Parliament Studies and Documentation (October 1999, Bern, Switzerland). Special letters were sent to the Representatives of UNO in Ukraine and, in particular, the coordinator of the PRUNO project Mrs. Mridula Ghosh who expresses the readiness to render support to this project. The composition of the working group is presented in Appendix 3.
We would like to say a few words about the general scheme of organization of our research project.
The project includes two research blocks. The first is a historical-sociological one. It constitutes the basis of the scientific direction, whose conception, properly, presented in this publication. The principal goals of this block consist in a periodization of the historical process and its substantial analysis at the global (macro), continental (medi), and national-state (micro) levels of analysis from the positions of the proposed approach. Here, the question is mainly the verification of systems of periodization, which are constructed by using the ideas of universal epochal cycle of the social development. The analysis of the level of national-state formations is