We have already noted that, on the boundary of the third millennium, the global transformation stimulates changes in the spiritual sphere, and actual problems become sharper due to a greater nonpredictability of behaviour of subjects of the historical process. Similar social phenomena stimulate the necessity of harmonization of interdisciplinary scientific studies, new theoretical approaches, adequate methodologies for analysis and forecast which would be relevant to the historical challenge.
Since the history of sociological thoughts is a pure source of principal ideas of the sociology of history, we turn to the analysis of the state of scientific interpretation of the problem of social development.
This problem can be solved by considering the main conceptions of social development in the historical context through the prism of problematic-chronological discourse, which allows one to show the self-identification of the main doctrines and a scientific-critical dialog between them.
On the theoretical level, the basic contraversivity was already considered in the doctrines of O. Comte (1798-1857) and Ch. L. Montesquieu (1689-1775). The latter, as distinct from O. Comte, did not trust in the idea of progress. At the same time, Ch. L. Montesquieu advanced a fruitful idea on the influence of geographical environment on the social development and definition of a historical situation. Here, we can find the origin of geopolicy and geoeconomy which, in the period of globalization, render a growing effect on the historical situation not only in specific countries and regions but on development of the whole civilization.
As distinct from Ch. L. Montesquieu, O. Comte was a supporter of the idea of unity of the whole history of the mankind, because the single intention of the history consists in the progress of human intellect. Therefore, sociology should be a system of positive knowledge on the society. One of the moving forces of the history was a disorder of thinking at every individual historical stage. The process of development was described by O. Comte in terms of «statics» and «dynamics». The last is characterized as a sequential change of the necessary stages of establishment of the human intellect and society for attainment of a static state, i.e., social order. Therefore, progress is comprehended as a development of the rational in persons. As for the progress of a society, O. Comte connected it with the evolution of social (human) consciousness, the sequential change of three dominating types of outlook:
1)theological one, when the leading tendency of social development is the competitiveness between religious ideas and an originating scientific knowledge;
2)metaphysical one, which characterizes speculative-philosophical consciousness;
3)eventually at the highest stage, the scientific positive consciousness and positive style of thinking are established. This is related with the well-known optimistic aphorism of O. Comte about the creative role of science: «To know in order to foresee, and to foresee in order to be able». The positivistic tradition, beginning from O. Comte, is connected with ideas of social engineering, i.e., a more or less conscious definition of the vector of social development.
The all-embracing conceptualization of the history was developed by Hegel who considered the historical process as that of establishment of the notion of freedom.
The most characteristic doctrine during establishment of the evolutionary-materialistic approach to the history was that of K.Marx (1818-1883). In the marxist conception, the history is considered as a progressive natural-historical process of variations in and change of social-historical formations. This mechanism was formulated as follows: «Every social formation does not die until all productive forces, for which it presents a sufficient place, will have developed, and no new higher production relations appear until the material conditions for their existence in the midst of the very old society will have ripened». Such an evolutionary approach became a theoretical foundation of the activity of social democracy.
On the other hand, we recall that Marx inferred in the work «Lui Bonapartes brumaire, 18»: all previous revolutions improved the state apparatus, but it should be broken for the sake of establishment of the dictatorship of proletariat. Class struggle is already represented as a moving force of the history. Such a revolutionary marxism became a practical guide to action in countries with outdated rhythm of industrialization. However, the appearance of the socialist system after the II World war, which included the USSR and its satellites, did not become «the end of the pre-history». At the same time, the dogmatization of the social-philosophical theory of marxism dealed a fatal blow at it. On the other hand, the new phase in development of the industrial society, which was related with marginalization of the class structure where the proletariat formally represented a major part, has transformed the social structure of countries being in the advance-guard of the historical process.
The comprador capitalism in developing countries did not create a proletariat in the classical marxist sense of this term. Similar tendencies limited the creative potential of marxism, though impetuous events in the second half of the XX century (for example, youth riots in the Western Europe in 1968) allowed one to say about neo-marxism for some time. In the former USSR up to the period of «perestroika» (1985-1991), the severe ideological control gave no possibility to freely develop even for a nonorthodoxal marxist thinking. The flow of denunciatory literature did not allow one to separate cereals from weeds. In fact, neo-marxist theoretical investigations were terminated without any real start. One of the last attempts was the book of S. Platonov, where the author comprehends the notion of communism and seeks for an answer to the rhetorical question about what can occur after communism. He analyzes the development of the mankind from the pre-history, i.e., the epoch of estrangement, through the epoch of destruction of private property, every of the production means of which is a stage of withdrawal of one of the layers of estrangement, to the epoch of «positive humanism», a free association of universally developing individuals.
The notion of historical process in the materialist tradition is based on the stadial interpretation of the human history as a unit global process of development and change of formations. In the marxist paradigm, there were yet no attempts to theoretically explain the contemporary social situation of breaking the soviet model of socialism. This testifies to that marxism remains on pages of the history but on the periphery of an actual scientific discourse related with the positivistic solution of the problem of social engineering.
Comtes positivistic tradition was developed by the English sociologist and philosopher H. Spencer (1820-1903) who connected sociology with the idea of evolution. The basis of his conception was the analogy of state with biological organism.
Similarly to a biostructure, a state has its own life circle: birth, growth, ageing, and downfall. This idea was developed by O. Spengler who considered the historical fate of the European civilization and by L.N.Gumi-lev who analyzed ethnogenesis.
On the boundary of the XIX-XX centuries, a positivistic interpretation of social mechanisms was presented by E. Durkheim (1858-1917). The main idea of his conception reduces to a search for social harmony under objective conditions of division of social labour. As distinct from Marx who accented attention on the estrangement of a worker from results of his/her work under conditions when division of labour is based on private interests, Durkheim considered this problem from the viewpoint of relations between the individual and group. Since collectivistic societies are historically primary, the individual arises from the society but not the society from individuals. Social mechanisms are regulated by a search for the harmony of agreement. Moreover, organic solidarity is caused by labour division. From the methodological viewpoint, it is worth to note the approach of Durkheim to the definition of social roles.
The absolutization of rationalization and the linear progressive theory are opposed by the conception of W. Pareto (1848-1923). Whereas O. Comte considered the evolution of the man, on the whole, as the motion from fetishism to positivism through the theological and metaphysical stages regardless of certain delays, these four images of thinking, according to Pareto, normally interact at various levels in all the time. For the whole mankind, there is no obligatory transition from one type of thinking to another in the form of a single and irreversible process, but there are transient oscillations, defined by societies and classes, relative to the influence of each of these means of thinking. It follows that definite tasks related to the development of the society are solved at specific historical stages through a change of governing elites. New elites are formed from lower strata, flourish, and then decline. The idea of cyclicity becomes pivotal for the social theory.
The rationalistic conception of M. Weber (1864-1920) approaches the history and sociology not as two different disciplines but as a whole methodological system. In his study, the historian aspires to define a causal significance of various elements having created a unique conjuncture, but the