Ethnocultural Processes In The Light Of The Synergistic Philosophy Of History


The paper presents the methodological aspect of research on problems of ethnocultural interaction within the St. Petersburg school of social synergetics. In a complex ethnic environment, a situation is possible when overcoming social contradictions requires the formation of a spectrum of new ideals that can become independent. But their realization is fraught with the disintegration of a single value system of an ethnic group, the disintegration of an ethnic system into several subethnos. A new dominant social ideal is needed, capable of stopping disintegration and uniting the decaying world. There is a “passionary push” (L.N. Gumilev) as a factor in the rapid spread and realization of a new social ideal in a complex ethnic environment. The reason for the emergence of a new ideal, the reason for its spread and realization, is the system of contradictions inherent in ethnogenesis. The acuteness of old social contradictions gives rise to a whole range of new ideals — projects coming out of the crisis. The selection of a successful ideal occurs because of the law of relevance. Differentiation and integration of ideals imply a spontaneous process of social selection of needs, interests, goals and desires of people, reproducing the structure of social organization. An individual freely meet his needs only through the appropriate organization can. The problem of the severity of inter-ethnic conflicts, especially in conditions of modern globalization, can be removed by searching for a common direction of development related to scientific and technological progress and processes of improving social organizations.

Keywords: Ethnogenesisidealstereotypelaw of relevancesuper-selectiontolerance


Any ethnic group, in order to realize its dominant social ideal and maintain a stereotype of behavior, seeks to form a stable structure of reproduction of its life activity, which includes the economy (material production), politics (organizational sphere, state), ideology (spiritual sphere) and proper reproduction of the population (human sphere). The normative content of behavioral stereotype and social ideal implies the inclusion of the characteristics of all spheres and aspects of the life of an ethnos, people or nation. Standards of economic activity, organizational skills and abilities, intelligence and sharpness, as well as character, health and appearance of representatives of one or a number of ethnic groups - all this should be reflected in the synthetic ideal, which allows to combine not only individuals, but also entire nations into a global super-ethnos, allow us to create a set of generally accepted rules of behavior, to form an effective stereotype of behavior in a complex inter-ethnic environment. This requires serious philosophical, general scientific and private scientific research, the creation of relevant theories explaining ethnocultural patterns and predicting new ones. Such a complex subject as ethnocultural interactions requires, in our opinion, a synergistic approach. The methodology of the synergistic philosophy of history (SFH) has a scientific apparatus (system of concepts and principles) corresponding to the complexity of the subject.

Problem Statement

When the social ideal and the ethnic stereotype of behavior in their interaction are analyzed, the ambiguity of the notion “ethnic stereotype” disappears, and only the generalized objective characteristics of stable forms of behavior, and not just an idea of ​​them, remain in understanding. Unity and the opposite of ideal and stereotype is one of the sources of ethnogenesis, accomplished through self-organization, or mutual transitions of chaos and order. The ethnos' being is the reproduction of its states “with noise”, “with errors”, i.e. there are bifurcations and fluctuations, when the random factor changes the ratio of probabilities when selecting and implementing one of the many evolutionary possibilities of the social system.

Research Questions

The experience of history, especially modern, shows that the moral norms of different nations that once participated in numerous interethnic conflicts, differently evaluated such acts as murder, robbery, deception, violence, etc .: for some, they were shameful, and for others, by contrast, glorious deeds. Why? What contributes so differently to the requirements of morality, to the "ten biblical commandments"? No one will deny the existence of common values for all people, especially such as life, family, children, freedom, well-being. Another thing is important: how these values develop, where they evolve and what they turn into. Every single person has a need for such values, however, being included in the macro levels of socialization (state, corporations, enterprises, etc.), he is experiencing a change in his ideas about values. He sees how the structure of his will and choice mutates; man ceases to be himself. There are images of "ours" and "not ours", causing ambivalent feelings. This is due to the dominant social (ethnic) ideal, which requires its supporters to obey and transform the environment in accordance with the standards. The fundamental contradiction that determines social dynamics is the contradiction between the individual and society, between the will of the individual and the collective will. Hence the problem of ordering the chaos of the micro level - the actions of many individual wills. From the theory of self-organization it is known that the chaos of the micro level of the social system causes a periodic change of order and chaos at the macro level. The ideal, as a model of behavior adapted to present and possible conditions, is designed to smooth out the main contradiction - between the individual and society, to form an integrity consisting of many units, each of which seeks to create "its own society". Morality requires a high amplitude: on the one hand, it is the morality of the individual, including “within” society, and on the other, the morality of the individual as a public resource, part of the whole. As a result of social selection, governed by non-linear laws, society tries on the model of behavior that won.

In this connection, we relate two concepts: simple selection and super-selection. The problem of super-selection indicates the possibility of jumps in the evolution of society. Assume that there is a universal assembly mechanism that received, within the framework of the St. Petersburg scientific school of social synergetics (“the school of V.P. Bronskii”), the name “super-selection as a selection of selection factors”, which manifests itself at all levels of the organization. The complexity of the system is determined by its ability to realize different capabilities. Such systems are reproduced with a greater number of errors than simple ones, and therefore they have more evolutionary perspectives. On the other hand, minimization of manifestations of complexity is the law of system stability, which, first of all, manifests itself in the way of its coexistence with similar systems. The coordinated behavior of social systems, for example, within the framework of interethnic interaction, makes them relatively simple in terms of functioning. This is how a new holistic culture, super-ethnos, is formed. It is here that the selection and superuber distribute its influence on the evolution of the system: the selection inherent in a single scale of change is less significant for a short time, and superuber – another scale of change, more significant and long-term. Simple selection becomes a super-ball when its actions affect the structure of the deep possibilities of the evolution of the system. Fomin (2000) believes that the integrity of the simplest systems is ensured by a small number of simple organizational mechanisms. "With the growth of the system, their number is growing, and the nature of their actions is complicated. <...> In this regard, it is possible to introduce the concept of mechanisms of the second order (metamerism) as a means of ensuring the unity of all the mechanisms of the system and organizing their optimal interaction" (Fomin, 2000, p. 33). At the same time, the question arises: is the super-ball a permanent factor in evolution, or does it begin to manifest itself only from a certain level of complexity, because it is characterized by a certain structural depth of selection of opportunities? For the emergence of cooperative processes, a new level of complexity is required, and especially now – in the context of growing rates of historical development, global interdependence of countries and peoples, in the context of growing global problems and crises. If the selection can be characterized by one verse of Herman’s aria from the opera by P.I. Chaikovskii “The Queen of Spades”: “What is true? Death is one. ... Today you, and tomorrow I”, then super-selection determines the direction of many such private selections, private fluctuations. The influence of super-selection, without naming the term itself, was successfully expressed by Gumilev (1989): “Everything ...“cultures ”, despite local peculiarities, developed and perished so uniformly that it is impossible to discern a common dialectical process” (p. 412).

Purpose of the Study

In a complex ethnic environment, a situation arises when overcoming new contradictions requires the formation of a spectrum of new ideals. The concept of an ideal is connected with the idea of a subject devoid of any contradictions, where the essence coincides with existence, and this is the image of the desired future. “The ideal through the activity of the subject initiates the emergence of a hierarchy of values in society. However, its implementation, eliminating some social contradictions, inevitably gives rise to others, for example, conflicts of fathers and children, the state and civil society, between ethnic groups, etc.” (Busov, 2012, p. 298). Society is in crisis when people who are guided by different value priorities are not able to agree, since the versions of the new ideals become independent, and their carriers are ready to make sacrifices for the sake of the triumph of their ideal. In this case, the disintegration of the ethnic system into several subethnos can follow. Will a new dominant ideal arise that can unite a decaying world? According to Branskii (2000), the stereotype of behavior is associated with conformism - adaptation to the natural and social environment; the ideal is with transformationism, that is, with the transformation of both, and the other. Both of these components are an expression of the needs of the ethnos. They are expressed in the continuous process of differentiation and integration of ideals associated with the dynamics of ethnic behavioral stereotypes through regulatory influence, the law of relevance formulated by Branskii (2000), according to which, “in the process of ethnogenesis, the correspondence of the ethnic stereotype of behavior and social ideal manifests itself” (p. 23). A series of such repetitive matches leads, through super-selection, to the emergence of a stable dominant ideal, attracting an increasing number of supporters to its side.

In the era of Russian revolutions beginning of the twentieth century there were many old stereotypes in the Russian super-ethnos, some of which could correspond to the new Marxist ideal. An analysis of the conformity of the Russian ethnic stereotype with the idea of communism was conducted by Berdiaev (1990) in his work “The Origins and Meaning of Russian Communism”. The properties of the “Russian soul”, in his opinion, include dogmatism, asceticism, maximalism, religiosity, the search for social truth and the kingdom of God on earth, the ability to sacrifice and patiently endure suffering, but also to show rudeness and cruelty, messianism, “always , at least in an unconscious form, like the Russian faith in Russia's special ways” (Berdiaev, 1990, p. 116). The correspondence between the ethnic stereotype and the social ideal, where the first is the objective and observable component of the ethnos’s life, and the second is the subjective component expressing the ethnos self-consciousness, within which the social ideal is formed and functions, determine the interethnic interaction - to create strong unions (super-ethnic groups) or, on the contrary, to the disintegration of the whole into parts.

In modern Europe, we are witnessing a growing inter-ethnic conflict related to migration from the countries of the Middle East and North Africa. The reasons are known – and the main one, in our opinion, is civil wars in countries where many ethnic groups live with different habits, stereotypes and views of a “right and good” life. They rushed to a prosperous, again from their point of view, Europe, where they faced new problems. There was a sharp discrepancy between ethnic stereotypes of migrants and ethnic stereotypes and social ideals of Europeans. Conditions are necessary for the law of relevance to take effect, and this is a long process, since a high level of new intersubjective ideal is required, including the interests of both local residents and migrants. “The ideological compromise ... is unattainable without the search for ideological tolerance, which allows to neutralize the aggressiveness of the oppositional intersubjective ideals dominating in the communities...” (Branskii, Pozharskii, Mikailova, Busov, & Zobova, 2017, p. 61).

Research Methods

The methodology developed in the framework of the “V.P. Branskii school” includes, as a particular case (on the basis of the correspondence principle) dialectics in its main historical forms, represented by the names of Hegel and Marx, creatively transforming it. A characteristic example of the assimilation of the principles of dialectics and at the same time an indication that dialectics needs further creative development is the teaching of Gumilev (1989) on ethnogenesis.

Gumilev (1989) emphasizes that ethnic history is not the end-to-end (global) progress of human existence, the steady rise from lower to higher forms, not repetition (in a certain rhythm) of the same cycles (occurrence-flowering-decline-death) the emergence (as a result of drive impulses) and the disintegration of ethnic groups. Ethnos, according to Gumilev (1989), are included as elements in the biosphere, being the upper links of geobiocenosis. He introduced a systematic approach to the theory of ethnos, however, he encountered the difficulty of interpreting the biosocial nature of ethnic groups. Gumilev (1989) recognized the social system-forming element of the ethnos as a self-identification of a group of people of the type: “we are so-and-so, and all other others (not we)”. On its basis, an ethnic stereotype of behavior is developed, expressed in the imperative (the dominant ideal).

Biological backbone element of the ethnic group named the phenomenon of drive. Passionality is the biochemical energy of the living substance of the biosphere, which determines the ability of ethnic groups to perform work and show historical activity (Gumilev, 1989). SFР interprets the “passionary push” as a bifurcation, as a factor in the rapid spread and realization of a new social ideal in a complex ethnic environment. The acuteness of old social contradictions gives rise to a whole range of new ideals — projects coming out of the crisis. The selection of a successful ideal occurs as a result of the operation of the law of relevance, i.e. as a result of the coincidence of the conditions for the implementation of a new ideal, its standards, with the standards of at least one of the old behavioral stereotypes in a complex ethnic environment. Believing the drive to be a “biological” trait, the scientist faced a methodological problem related to the difficulties of using the apparatus of natural science in the social field.

The methodology of Branskii’s (2002) scientific knowledge in the context of speculative research allows modeling using so-called “gestalts” – auxiliary structural images. In Gumilev (1989), the Gestalt method was manifested in the study of the ethnic field, similar to “known electromagnetic, gravitational and other fields, but at the same time different from them” (p. 170). Gumilev (1989) is tries to create a speculative model of an ethnic field that functions in the logic of a gestalt – a physical field. As a result, the concept of “ethnic field” seems to hang “in the air”, not relying on well-defined and scientifically developed methods. The same, unfortunately, the conclusion suggests itself in relation to the open concept of “passionarity”, which is mistakenly regarded as a biological factor of ethnogenesis.


Inter-ethnic relations in historical time are experiencing a change in the phases of cooperation and conflict, and the forms of both cooperation and conflict are updated. This pattern correlates with another cyclical pattern, characterized by the phases of the unification of ethnic groups and their separation or even the disintegration of a single ethnic group into subethnos with the possibility of their further transformation into independent ethnic groups. So, in the twentieth century the British colonial empire, the Austro-Hungarian empire, the Russian empire underwent disintegration. The formation of the USSR was a period of unification of the ethnic groups of the former tsarist empire, but at the end of the century the super-ethnos of the USSR underwent disintegration. The formation of the European Union in the last century is being replaced by the process of disintegration, the same fate awaits the empire created in the last century by the United States. Branskii (2000) called a similar cycle “the imperial pendulum of history”.

In the history of relations between Russia and the peoples of the Caucasus there were peaceful and fruitful periods, but there were also wars. And geopolitics has always interfered in these relationships: the confrontation between Russia and Persia, Turkey, England, the USA and Europe. Immediately after the collapse of the USSR, Russia's relations with the Caucasian and Baltic republics, with Ukraine, and Moldova became aggravated. It should be recalled the words of Lermontov (1958) regarding the Russian character:

I was unwittingly struck by the ability of the Russian person to apply to the customs of those peoples among whom he happens to live; I don’t know whether this property of the mind is worthy of blame or praise, only it proves its incredible flexibility and the presence of this clear common sense, which forgives evil wherever it sees its necessity or impossibility of its destruction. (p. 339)

Today, the political conflict between Russia and Ukraine has led to a growing gap in economic and cultural relations. In 2007, a sociological study was conducted to assess the properties of the ethnic stereotype of Russians, Ukrainians and Belarusians. In the Russian respondents' assessment of the “modal image” of Ukrainians, “trickery” was in the first place, “hospitality” in the second place, and “greed” in the third place. Also, in the assessment of the Ukrainian stereotype was put such a socio-political characteristics as "nationalism". Approximately in the same sequence Ukrainians and Belarusians were rated. In the evaluation of the modal image of Russians (Russian stereotype) by the Ukrainian and Belarusian respondents, “kindness” was in the first place, “hospitality” was second, and “laziness” was third (Sikevich, 2007). In the work of Sikevich (2007) is represented by a rich sampling, frequency analysis, and the nature of empirical generalizations makes it possible to speak about stable trends in interethnic interactions between Russia and Ukraine. The point is that the nationalist ideal, which is widespread today in Ukraine, forms “by itself” and the corresponding stereotype of behavior, which, of course, will have an effect on the increasing differences between Ukraine and Russia.


Ethnic groups as social organizations unite social and individual will and constitute a system where people, ideas, attitudes and things function in concert. In order for an individual not to become a “cog” as a result of social exclusion, his life in an organization must bear aesthetic, ethical, religious, as well as legal nature and meaning. Through the appropriate organization the individual is able to freely meet their needs. Modern technosphere allows you to do this quite effectively. The improvement of social organizations, including ethnic groups, is most feasible only in the context of the scientific and technological revolution, which can serve as a “locomotive” of history.

The realization of the unity of freedom and tolerance cannot do without the willful orientation on the part of individuals and society. The manifestation of tolerance for other people's opinions, interests and ideals is the will, but intelligent, civilized, which obeys the objective (in particular, technical) laws of social self-organization, and does not go against them. There are objective conditions for the peaceful coexistence of nations and nationalities, governed by certain laws of social self-organization, expressed in the level of improvement of social organizations. We see this as a pledge to solve the problem of minimizing interethnic conflicts.


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21 January 2020

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Busov*, S., Zobova, M., & Rodukov, A. (2020). Ethnocultural Processes In The Light Of The Synergistic Philosophy Of History. In D. Karim-Sultanovich Bataev, S. Aidievich Gapurov, A. Dogievich Osmaev, V. Khumaidovich Akaev, L. Musaevna Idigova, M. Rukmanovich Ovhadov, A. Ruslanovich Salgiriev, & M. Muslamovna Betilmerzaeva (Eds.), Social and Cultural Transformations in the Context of Modern Globalism, vol 76. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 554-560). Future Academy.