This paper argues that the theories of Edward A. Ross and Pitirim A. Sorokin have more in common than is generally realized and documents unrecognized reciprocal influences between the two scholars. Ross developed a social-psychological reading of history emphasizing externally induced change; while Sorokin championed a cultural interpretation grounded in the concepts of immanent causation and the principle of limits. Closer examination, however, shows that Sorokin’s theory of creative altruism resembles Ross’s linear evolutionism. The complementary emphases of the paradigms are consistent with the contexts in which the theorists trained: Ross expresses youthful American optimism while Sorokin articulates the stoicism of the older Russo-European civilization.
Nichols, Lawrence T.
"Sociological Paradigms and Civilizational Studies: Complementary Contributions of E. A. Ross and P. S. Sorokin,"
Comparative Civilizations Review: Vol. 36
, Article 4.
Available at: http://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/ccr/vol36/iss36/4