Who is known as the French Sorokin? | Sociology for CUET by Vikash Ranjan | Sociology Guru

French Sorokin

Question: Who is known as the French Sorokin?

  1. Emile Durkheim
  2. Georges Gurvitch
  3. W.W. Rostow
  4. Morris Ginsberg

Answer: (2)

Georges Gurvitch: The French Sorokin

Georges Gurvitch, often referred to as the “French Sorokin,” was a prominent French sociologist born in Russia in 1894. His intellectual journey, deeply influenced by philosophical and sociological currents, led him to become a key figure in the field. This essay explores Gurvitch’s life, intellectual influences, major contributions to sociology, and his distinctive approach to sociological inquiry.

Early Life and Education:

Georges Gurvitch’s early life unfolded against the backdrop of Russia’s sociopolitical upheavals. Born in 1894, he was witness to the Russian Revolution of 1917. Gurvitch pursued his education at the universities of Petrograd and later at the University of Paris, where he would eventually establish himself as a leading sociologist.

Intellectual Influences:

Gurvitch’s intellectual formation was shaped by a rich tapestry of philosophical and sociological influences. Among the philosophers, Hegel and Bergson left an indelible mark on his thinking. However, it was the sociologist Pitirim A. Sorokin who played a pivotal role in shaping Gurvitch’s sociological outlook. The association with Sorokin, often termed the “Russian Sorokin,” marked a significant phase in Gurvitch’s academic journey.

Academic Career:

Gurvitch embarked on an academic career that spanned multiple countries and institutions. He taught at the universities of Petrograd and Strasbourg before finding his academic home at the University of Paris, where he continued his scholarly pursuits until his death in 1966. His contributions extended beyond teaching, as he assumed editorial roles for prestigious journals, including the Cahiers Internationaux de Sociologie and the Journal of Legal and Political Sociology.

Major Sociological Writings:

Gurvitch’s scholarship covered a broad spectrum of sociological themes, reflecting his analytical prowess and intellectual curiosity. Some of his major works include “The Sociology of Law” (1942), “Essais de Sociologie” (1938), “Eléments de sociologie juridique” (1940), and “La vocation actuelle de la sociologie” (1950). These writings delved into areas such as the sociology of law, social classes, and the nature of social time.

Distinctive Analytical Approach:

Gurvitch’s approach to sociology was characterized by a high level of analytical rigor and a nuanced understanding of social phenomena. He advocated for a heightened awareness of symbolic nuances in social life, emphasizing conceptually distinct levels in human experience. Gurvitch also underscored the importance of dialectical and oppositional mechanisms in society, challenging prevailing perspectives.

Microsociology and Macrosociology:

One of Gurvitch’s enduring contributions was his conceptualization of microsociology and macrosociology. He argued that these two dimensions of sociology operated at distinct levels, each requiring different methods of investigation. While this distinction has gained acceptance among sociologists, Gurvitch’s assertion about the methodological divergence has faced criticism, particularly from neopositivists and functionalists.

Legacy and Impact:

Georges Gurvitch’s legacy endures in the annals of sociology. His emphasis on nuanced analysis, dialectical understanding, and the interplay of symbolic elements has left an indelible mark on the discipline. Gurvitch’s engagement with diverse sociological themes contributed to the richness and complexity of sociological inquiry, making him a pivotal figure in the intellectual landscape.


Georges Gurvitch’s designation as the “French Sorokin” encapsulates the recognition of his profound impact on sociology, reminiscent of the influence Sorokin had on him. Gurvitch’s life journey, intellectual influences, and contributions underscore the dynamic nature of sociological thought. As contemporary sociologists continue to grapple with intricate societal issues, Gurvitch’s analytical insights serve as a source of inspiration and a testament to the enduring relevance of his scholarship.


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Frequently Asked Questions:

1. Question: Define the term “ethnic movement” and provide an example from India.

Answer: An ethnic movement refers to a collective effort by a group sharing common cultural, linguistic, or religious traits, seeking to assert their identity and rights; an example from India is the Khalistan Movement in Punjab.

2. Question: Identify the main objectives behind the Gorkhaland ethnic movement.

Answer: The Gorkhaland ethnic movement primarily seeks to establish a separate state for India’s Nepali-speaking population in the Darjeeling region, advocating for linguistic and cultural recognition and political autonomy.

3. Question: What was the Operation Blue Star, and which ethnic movement was it related to?
Answer: Operation Blue Star was a military action in 1984, aiming to remove Sikh militants hiding in the Golden Temple in Amritsar; it is related to the Khalistan movement, which sought a separate Sikh country.

4. Question: Mention a critical factor that triggered the emergence of ethnic movements in India, as discussed by Dipankar Gupta.
Answer: Dipankar Gupta emphasized that ethnicity is fundamentally a political process, wherein caste and religion, the key components of identity formation, are politicized by leaders for vested interests.

5. Question: What were the primary reasons for the Assam Ethnicity conflicts involving Bodo tribals and Bengali Muslim settlers?
Answer: The Assam Ethnicity conflicts primarily stemmed from issues related to immigration, land rights, and resource allocation, leading to clashes, riots, and evolving relationships among indigenous communities to address challenges.

6. Question: Briefly describe the role of the Dravidian Movement in terms of caste and societal structure.
Answer: The Dravidian Movement, led notably by E.V. Ramasamy, aimed to establish an egalitarian society, focusing on anti-Brahmanism and advocating for equal rights for backward castes, while also introducing reforms like self-respect marriages.

7. Question: Name the prominent ethnic movements in North-East India and specify one common objective.
Answer: Prominent ethnic movements in North-East India include the Nagas’ and Mizos’ struggles; a common objective was to gain autonomy and recognition for their distinct tribal identities and cultural uniqueness.

8. Question: What is the key argument of Gail Omveldt regarding traditional Indian society and multiculturalism?
Answer: Gail Omveldt opposed romanticizing traditional Indian society, arguing that hierarchy has always dominated it and dismissing the notion that multiculturalism is an intrinsic feature of Indian society as a myth.

9. Question: Briefly explain the social hierarchy factor as a contributing element to ethnic movements as suggested by Olzak.
Answer: Olzak suggests that the construction of hierarchies among ethnic communities, which often leads to the suppression of one group by another, is a key factor that can instigate social and ethnic movements.

10. Question: Identify one consequence of the unequal economic development factor within the context of ethnic movements in India.
Answer: One consequence of unequal economic development is the marginalization and underdevelopment of certain groups, leading to feelings of alienation and sometimes initiating ethnic movements as these groups strive for equality and recognition.

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