Sociology on the move: The demand for the humanistic digital turn

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Abstract


Digitalization of society has ambivalent consequences: there are new benefits (‘smart’ technologies, artificial intellect, multiple knowledge), but at the same time digital risks and metamorphoses that traumatize the behavior and thinking of people, alienate them from social ties and life-worlds. These processes have become a challenge for sociology and other social sciences that strive to develop new approaches, among which the digital and humanistic turns are the most relevant. The author aims at (a) analyzing the impact of digitalization on the production of metamorphoses and side effects on society and man, which are related to new complex risks and manifest challenges to sociology; (b) developing the contours of the conception of ‘the digital turn in sociology’ and identifying its essence in comparison with other, previous turns in sociology - linguistic, risk, cultural, etc.; (c) proposing the means that allow to overcome or minimize the side effects of the existing type of digitalization - the author argues for the demand to move sociology in the direction of the integral use of the instruments of the digital and humanistic turns. The article considers new challenges to mankind and scientific knowledge as determined not so much by the very process of digitalization, but by its existing type based on principles of formal rationality, pragmatism, and mercantilism neglecting, in fact, life-worlds of people. This type of digitalization is not ‘universal’ and can be changed by an alternative humanistic trend of digitalization. In order to begin establishing the humanistic trend of digitalization scientists should integrate the theoretical instruments of the proposed digital turn with other interdisciplinary turns and especially with the humanistic turn.


About the authors

S. A. Kravchenko

Moscow State University of International Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia (MGIMO University); Federal Center of Theoretical and Applied Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences

Author for correspondence.
Email: sociol7@yndex.ru
Krzhizhanovskogo St., 24/35, bldg. 5, Moscow, 117218, Russia

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