Academy of Strategic Management Journal (Print ISSN: 1544-1458; Online ISSN: 1939-6104)

Research Article: 2017 Vol: 16 Issue: 4

Structural Features of Social Process in Context of Social Transformations and Factor of Temporality: Methodological and Conceptual Aspects

Vitaly V Popov, Rostov State University of Economics


Oksana A Muzika, Rostov State University of Economics

Yana V Kozchenko, Rostov State University of Economics

Veronika G Semenova, Rostov State University of Economics

Svetlana A Petrushenko, Rostov State University of Economics

Sophia I Maksimova, Rostov State University of Economics


Social Process, Factor of Temporality, Temporal Scale, Alternatives, Social Development.



Research of content and structural characteristics of the social process in socio-historical development has a long philosophical tradition: The ideas of Aristotle, Hegel, D. Locke, G. Leibniz, I. Kant and etc. Socio-philosophical specific of the consideration of the concept of temporality basically outlined the directions of formation of an adequate conceptual apparatus for the study of social processes. However, intensive researches on transitional periods (Dolgov, 2012; Fedotova, 2010b) and times of transit at the present time have not led to systemic generalizations of both substantive and conceptual nature. The limited theoretical and methodological tools of systemic analysis determined the local character of the representation of the structural features of social processes in the study of social dynamics.

In the history of philosophical thought various concepts of the structure of social processes on the basis of transition periods, periods of transit have been developed t, which led to positive results. In modern foreign literature the concept of interval, moment, periodic structures indicated options for their possible correlation was formulated (Elizbarashvili, 2014; Hawking & Penrose, 2012; Meyer, 1988; Rescher, 1998) (Asio & Khorasani, 2015; Khorasani & Almasifard, 2017).

The relevance of the study is determined by the fact that modern social philosophy has not adequately investigated the issues related to the importance of transition periods in the study of the structural characteristics of social processes. However, such transition periods are not only relevant to the mechanisms of progressivity and the development of social processes. They define the main trends characteristic of the social system in which progressive development is interpreted within the boundaries of the selected interval, of society. The article deals with one of the first attempts of consideration in contemporary philosophical literature of the immersion of temporal ontology in content and structural aspects of the social process leading to social transformation on the basis of moment-interval of the time structures.

The scientific novelty is that in order to adequately reflect the specifics of social processes, we developed the concept of temporal referents, based on different types of interval structures highlighting the main characteristics and extensions, concerning the peculiarities of the internal dynamics of a transforming society, which are represented in the socio-philosophical research field.

The results are of practical importance in the solution of philosophical, sociological and political problems of a methodological nature. They relate to the various aspects of designing a temporal periods of transit in the forecasting system of the formation of society taking into account the specific pragmatic and semantic models. They are used in the solution of problems of methodology of sociological and historical discourse.


The research methodology of this study is mainly based on the application of methods of temporality and to identify characteristics of the content and structure of the social process of the transforming society (Popov, Kiselev & Ukolov, 2016; Popov, Musyka & Ukolov, 2016).

When the discourse concerns the structural analysis of social process, identifying its essential structure, units, usually the researcher starts to study a particular segment, using the temporal ontology, which is associated with the schema of "future-present" (Popov, Muzyka, Kiselev & Ukolov, 2016). It is impossible in this case not to draw attention to the fact that there are a number of issues, which originate from the theory or preference or the theory of modalities, for example, of the pair of potential-current and past easily passes into the scheme future-present. The correlation of the future time segment and this segment will be explored from the standpoint that the actual present involves the segment of future time.

Therefore, it can be noted that in the framework of ontology of social philosophy the category of coincidence which is quite important in this case goes somewhat to the side (Udaltsova, 2010). The complex social developments that began in the distant past that took place in the segment of real time and received a particular implementation in the segment of the future may not get any interpretation (Turchin & Batin, 2013).

Of course, the study of the structure of social process from the standpoint of the whole complex of events which reflect this development which includes the future and the past time in the philosophical literature was not sufficiently studied. However, the same can be said about some other points. For example, we can talk about the social changes taking place in the structure of the social process. Social process is studied not only in terms of temporal scale, but also taking into account the complex social developments that may belong to different segments on the timeline: It can be future, present and past (Pyrozhkova, 2015). At the same time we don’t exclude the variant when the study takes into account the social changes that have taken place on a range of social events and occur parallel to the general line of social development (Popov & Scheglov, 2014).

When it comes to the transformation of complex social events a certain sequence of complexes of social events is generally assumed. At the same time, paying attention to an important fact connected with the fact that the complexes of social events may take place from a segment of the past, i.e., to pass through a segment is present, which causes that they can identify opportunities, prospects or the development trend of social process in relation to segment of future time. In this sense, it is important to emphasize the fact that such understanding of social process should be considered as having a sufficiently deep intrinsic social change. Such changes usually relate to the problem of selecting a specific social or historical object, which in this case is not simply inserted in the context of social development and has a tinge of one or another philosophical school.

The reasoning comes about the way, as in this case it is important to understand the transformation that can happen with this changing facility. The authors fully agree with Vladimir Popov (2014), that social change should be seen as a transition object from one state to another state that occurs within a certain time interval. Of course, it is impossible not to draw attention to the fact that the above definition seems somewhat universal, since it does not involve the entire spectrum of semantic aspects related to the implication of the concept of change or its conceptual interactions with other dynamic concepts, such as transformation, destruction, transformation, etc. But this definition really shows the essence associated with different pairs of states of the object on a temporal scale. By implementing this idea, it can be noted that in this way the understanding of social changes affects and changes the whole complex of social events. We emphasize that it is quite difficult to establish a direct interaction between the transformations of complexes of social events and local social changes on a temporal scale. These two aspects are the priority in studying the social process.

In fact, when the discourse comes about the fact that social process is studied from the standpoint of chronology, in this situation, a social subject as the researcher can rely on the existence of such a situation when you can fix the linearity of the last segment, the segment is present and to suggest some prospects, alternatives and trends associated with the representation of the script segment in the future. The authors do not idealize the diagrams, since they are designed for the most common cases and can even say that, to some extent, they are sketchy and primitive.

The fact is that they do not presuppose such cases that concern situations in which the future and past will have the most different trends. Thus, it is natural that the structure of social development and the transformations that occur in complex social developments with regard to the social subject will significantly differ (Kislov, 2010; Kovtunova, Loytarenko, Popov & Shcheglov, 2014). Although, in this case, we can say that certain coordination is set between them and the point of coordination is the segment of the present time. It is lawful to agree with the position of several representatives of analytical philosophy, that the available transitions of transit associated with the presence of social development and social change should above all be noted on a chronological scale.

In such case, it becomes quite convenient to record the desired state of the changing object with which to relate, such as, procedure, interpretation or evaluation and complexes of social events. You can look at the problem from the other side. If we highlight particular part of the state of the social subject in the context of social development of the temporal scale, this state can be understood in such a way that it fixes some degrees of development of the social subject.

In this case, the social object is considered from the standpoint of its formation not only in the future and the present, but also in the past. At the same time there is a very curious question concerning that interpretation when such social changes may have a discourse about what social changes in the proposed n-dimensional structure, can acquire its integral character with their own relationships and interaction.

The reasoning is connected to the fact that, exploring the present as a border between present time and past time, it is possible to emphasize that social change in the fragment of the past makes a real impact not just on the events that happen in the present, but also on the interpretation, evaluation in the context of the present. Moreover, it may even touch on some of the fixed conditions of social change that the researcher as a social subject prefers to consider in the future fragment of time. Such a case is quite interesting, as there is some correlation of the sequence of social change and the particular causal aspect of the same social changes which marked social changes relative to the segment the last time is able to predict the other variable of the social object with respect to the fragment of the future tense.

Results and Discussion

The literature review and its analysis using our approach showed that it is possible to emphasize that the presented n-level sequence of social events actually has 2 parts: The part associated with consideration of social events and the part associated with consideration of social change.

In any case, the selected levels are correlated between themselves, they do not compete, do not contradict, because they really express the full range of all available conditions, social changes, facts and phenomena in relation to segment of future time and also in relation to the segment of the past. We emphasize that in this case, that some intentions relate to the segment of the past, because the question really applies to this situation that social events get interpretation and comprehensive evaluation from the point of view of context and index of some present that can be expressed in three persons.

These manifestations involve the interpretation of the end of social events in a past time, we also have to say that social events get the interpretation and estimation in the present time and definitely a social event can be indexed in relation to future time, not simply implementing them in it, but presenting from the point of view of those scenarios that are possible and would form a potential future. Incidentally, in this case, the discourse will relate not even to social events, but what kind of a social subject a researcher is, what are the social perspectives and social possibilities that can be derived from these events and how realistic is the way they may be embodied in the segment of future time.

Meanwhile, the study of a certain level of social change in the context of temporal chronology necessarily entails some treatment to the linear sequence of chronological events or perhaps certain states changing the subject, which in this case, by definition, will be recorded on the timeline. Thus, it is possible to commit not just a sequence of social events from the point of view of their linearity, although methodologically it was important to put them in a priority position, but not to forget in this case about the social subject, because in such a situation, issues such as trends, prospects, potentiality, alternatives acquire special significance and it is natural that they should be considered as existing ones.

While studying the structure of social process, pay attention to the fact that there are different levels of its analysis and the priority level apply to a certain state of a changing object in relation to the timeline. Of course, this scale will be seen in a diagram of the three stages of time and will emphasize the temporal sequence. This problem is not sufficiently developed in the Russian philosophical literature. And those who are still engaged in issues of social change from the standpoint of temporal structures in the framework of the research of national literature (Klinkova, 2014; Spaskov, 2011), experienced a certain influence of modern analytic philosophy, especially the ideas of Georg von Wright and in this case, social change was somewhat schematic and was presented almost exclusively as transition between states. However, such domestic philosophers as Karpenko & Popov (2014) described this situation in details.

They noted that the transition or transit between different states of changes in the context of the local sequences can cause enough interest, both from the point of view of addressing the social changes in the context of social development and in the development of ontology philosophy of time. Therefore, these scientists have put the emphasis on the fact that, in principle, of course, the sequence of states of social change causes some scholarly interest; however, the research emphasis is to move for some other things, namely, the transition of transit, transition states, to the states of the social changes in the structure of social processes, etc.

On this basis, we emphasize that when a social process is examined in the context of one or another type of the past and then, in a segment of the present with the transition to the future time, in a chain of social changes that would eventually form the particular chronology regarding social change in general. In this regard, in our opinion, the problem should be moved to some other level, because in this case, to a greater extent, we consider various linear and periodic structure of time on which we consider different social development. The transition from past through present to future also represents to some extent a certain process, therefore the researcher largely deals with some chronological sequence of those or other social events.

In our opinion, it's all right, but the emphasis in this case should be transferred to different kinds of deterministic options, because of course it is difficult to assume that the very social development will be laid exclusively in a linear development and will have no branches, alternatives, trends, etc., i.e., something that will form a new research field that is formed at the boundaries between past and present, between present and future and in the end defines some of the scenarios or pictures of fragments of the future tense.

Therefore, if the researcher in the framework of the study of certain problems exclusively selects deterministic variant, then naturally, he will encounter a methodology of cause and effect, of establishing between them certain relations and, in general, all the work anyway will be built around linear fixed conditions of social change in their opportunities and their interpretations. Ultimately, the study won't get very from a certain sequence of initial and subsequent conditions of social change, especially since there are many questions as to what, ultimately, be understood as an intermediate state of social change and to understand how to understand their final state when there are periods of transit, when they end, begin and what they actually happens, in terms of structure and in terms of their content.

The scheme, of course, in the general view shows some of the essence of the social process associated with certain local changes in the structure of the social development. But at the same time, some problems still stay apart. In this regard, if one reasons the presence at some scale of the temporal correlation of the segment and the last segment of the future, then probably it is necessary to note the presence of a plurality of conditions of social change in relation to the social object.

Such fixation is clearly needed, since otherwise, it is difficult to talk about social change as the social object in general and about changes in complex social developments because they, ultimately, will form the reporting segments on a common time scale. In this case, the deterministic position should be legitimate, because in this case, it is justified, assuming that the departure from deterministic positions in the context of social change concerns the fact that, for example, as a social object, is correlating with a segment of the past, can itself cause a variety of local social changes, which in the end can only manifest in the future and most importantly in this case, is that the interpretation and assessment of such social change cannot occur in the present tense. Of course, we cannot deny the fact that a segment of this largely demonstrates the prospects and trends associated with social change.

At the same time, we emphasize that some determination of the last segment relative to the segment of the future does not really always imply some dependence of the segment is the last segment from the unworthy and even more so, the segment from the present segment of the future. In this regard, please note that in the first place still there is the idea of transition, the idea of transit states, namely the idea that social change characterizes the periods of transit in the context of social processes, despite the fact that in this case we do not contradict the fact that social processes can move from different states to other states, forming some kind of general scheme.

But still we pay special attention to the fact that this scheme is not as primitive as is sometimes represented in modern literature, it has a deep character that is somehow related to the fact that in the social changes that characterize transition periods, there are different levels of social existence. Of course, when a social entity establishes some functional dependencies between social changes and based on these functional dependencies identifies a number of interactions and relations between different local social changes, social processes, it is not always able to tie them together around this time. But then there is also the issue of how these relationships and interactions can be organized around a past time or in relation to the states which can be regarded as states that are both segments of the future time.

That is, there are a lot of questions that require a sufficiently clear methodological position and very local solutions at the level of a particular temporal structure. In this case, first of all, we should say that the relationship between different levels in the framework establish social change should be transferred into a kind of correlation between social events and social changes that will give the opportunity to talk that belonging to the segment of the present to some extent mitigates this question.

Social events are organized in the future development of social trends, not only considering the index of the present, but given the fact that such social events go through the segment is present and in this present time, not only through their interpretation, but their assessment and, ultimately, a comprehensive evaluation. This implies that next time they can shape social trends, within which there is a representation of some scenarios regarding the future of the segment.

These scenarios can be not just recorded, but interpreted and evaluated, especially if the researcher prepares some projects, it is possible to have direct access to some of the practical realization of the situation. Also, noting the deep intrinsic nature of the changes themselves, the authors are inclined to believe that this essential nature in general affects the problem from the point of view that a simpler allocation scheme on a chronological sequence of temporal segments should consider a deeper level associated with the transition periods that determine the very development of social events and historical events. Of course, in our view, these two points are interrelated, so the study of the problem, of course, in the future will involve fixing levels, social changes and social events.

In cases when there is a study of the structure of social process from the standpoint of the presence of a set of characteristics concerning both the temporal structures and those characteristics that are secondary in relation to such temporal structures, it should be noted that in this case the fore issues are associated with conceptual-semantic features. The fact that, first of all, it is necessary to pay attention to the fact that, if there is an analysis of the social process from the point of view of a particular temporal structure, it is necessary of course to decide whether the structure is cyclic, interval or periodic-interval. On the other hand, each of these structures has its own characteristics, which may be associated with duration, finiteness, continuity, etc., i.e., everything that directly concerns social events, social object and social change.


This study, the social process is examined not just from the standpoint of the vision of some abstract researcher, acting in this case as a social subject and the focus is largely done on the very structure of the society in which the priorities are dynamic categories, the result of this study will be very significant. Although in this regard, the authors just say that, unfortunately, in the modern scientific literature on the methodology of philosophical knowledge, a holistic system of dynamic categories is not yet formed. We emphasize that the structure of social development from the point of view of its perception by a social entity for the use of an adequate conceptual apparatus to reflect not only the structure but also the expression of philosophical, methodological position of the researcher, i.e., the social subject, should be built in a certain way. In the scientific and philosophical literature, the structure of social process from the perspective of interpretation and evaluation of its local subject does not seem to be usually in a systematic pattern. Therefore, it is argued that the scheme of functional dependence, which was used in the study of the structure of the social process, may be suitable for the role of a local methodology, in which the local social entity will represent the social development of a systematic form.


The study was performed with financial support of Russian Humanitarian Science Foundation grant in the framework of the research project “Transformation strategies for study of the dynamics of social reality”, No. 16-33-00003; with the financial support of Russian Humanitarian Science Foundation grant No.15-33-0121. "Public-private partnership in Russia: Problems of institutional development and the fight against abuses of power".


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