Changing Attitudes in Soviet Russia: Documents and Readings

Changing Attitudes in Soviet Russia: Documents and Readings

Changing Attitudes in Soviet Russia: Documents and Readings

Changing Attitudes in Soviet Russia: Documents and Readings

Excerpt

The paucity of the documentary material available in this country, as well as the linguistic difficulties, are widely held responsible for the present state of English studies in the various aspects of Soviet social life. From this diagnosis a need for the publication of translated materials in suitable selection seems to follow; but the difficulties with which such an attempt is faced are formidable. No selection can avoid being influenced by the editor's subjective opinion about what is relevant and what is not, and his standard of selection, like any other scientific activity, is subject to criticism; but it is distinctly undesirable that his choice should be dominated by the chance of what the various libraries to which he may have access happen to have acquired years ago. No success is conceivable unless we can start with a clear definition of our main interest and select from amongst the materials available those that answer the questions put. In the U.S.S.R., even more than in other countries, attitudes once adopted and sufficiently widespread to arouse the sociologist's interest are likely to find numerous expressions which vary only in slight details; thus we are likely to satisfy our interest without considerable gaps in content, however much the literary quality of the documents selected may be influenced by the hazards mentioned.

In the spring of 1944 the late Prof. Karl Mannheim suggested to me that I publish in this Library a number of volumes dealing with the changing attitudes prevailing in Soviet Russia towards specific aspects of social and political life. This suggestion supplied a definite standard of the highest, and hardly controversial, scientific interest, as the basis of our selection; on the other hand, it could not be denied that that standard in itself implied serious problems. Proper assessment of the respective importance of the elements of continuity and change is amongst the most urgent, and most difficult, tasks of the students of Soviet society. We chose as the subject of the first of the planned volumes a field which, apart from being in itself of considerable interest to sociologists in all countries, provides an unequivocal illustration of the change in attitudes observable in the course of the Russian revolution.

A major revolution is not identical with the military and . . .

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