Leonid Grinin

Leonid Efimovich Grinin (Russian: Леони́д Ефи́мович Гри́нин; born in 1958) is a Russian philosopher of history, sociologist, political anthropologist, economist, and futurologist.

Leonid Grinin
Alma materVolgograd State Pedagogical University
Known forhis World History periodization and typology of state systems
AwardsIn 2012 he was awarded with the Gold Kondratieff Medal[1] by the International N. D. Kondratieff Foundation.
Scientific career
Fieldsphilosophy of history
InstitutionsVolgograd Center for Social Research

Born in Kamyshin (the Volgograd Region), Grinin attended Volgograd State Pedagogical University, where he got an M.A. in 1980. He got his Ph.D. from Moscow State University in 1996.

He is a Research Professor and Director of the Volgograd Center for Social Research, as well as Deputy Director of the Eurasian Center for Big History & System Forecasting. He is Editor-in-Chief of the journal Age of Globalization (in Russian), a vice-editor of the journals History and Modernity, Historical Psychology and Sociology of History and Philosophy and Society (all in Russian), and a co-editor of the Social Evolution & History and Journal of Globalization Studies[2] and co-editor of almanacs History & Mathematics[3] and Evolution.[4]

Dr. Grinin is the author of more than 440 scholarly publications in Russian and English, including 30 monographs and other scholarly publications dealing with his research interests. In 2012 he was awarded with the Gold Kondratieff Medal[5] by the International N. D. Kondratieff Foundation.

Major contributions

Leonid Grinin's current research interests include Big History and macro-evolution, globalization studies, economic cycles, the long-term trends in the cultural evolution and evolution of technologies, periodization of history, political anthropology and long-term development of the political systems, world-systems studies.

Periodization of history

Grinin suggests a four-staged periodization of historical process. The transition from one stage to another is the change of all basic characteristics of the respective stage. As the starting point of such a change Grinin proposes the production principle that describes the major qualitative stages of the development of the world productive forces. Grinin singles out four principles of production: Hunter-gatherer; Craft-Agrarian; Industrial; and Information-Scientific. To clear up the chronology of the beginning of each respective stage he proposes the three production revolutions: the Agrarian or Neolithic Revolution; the Industrial Revolution, and the Information-Scientific Revolution[6]

Future technological development

Leonid Grinin connects major technological achievements with the Cybernetic revolution. He thinks that the technologies will develop in the direction of self-regulating systems which will penetrate many spheres starting from medicine to food production. With respect to possible dramatic changes of the human organism he argues that they may rise unprecedented ethical issues and seriously damage many vital aspects of our life including familty relations, gender, and morals [7]

Development of political systems

Grinin insists that the two-stage scheme of the state macroevolution (Early State – Mature State) proposed by Henri Claessen and Peter Skalnik is not sufficient, and suggests that it should be modified as "Early State – Developed State – Mature State", emphasizing that the differences between developed and early states are no less pronounced than the ones between the former and the mature states.[8]

Globalization and sovereignty

In the world political science the subject of change, ‘diffusion’, or ‘disappearing’ of national sovereignty is widely debated. Grinin argues that on the whole globalization contributes to the change and reduction of state sovereign powers, and he investigates the reasons and consequences of the deliberate voluntary reduction of sovereign prerogatives as most states voluntarily and deliberately limit the scope of their sovereignty.[9]

People of celebrity

Grinin also investigates the influence of the personal celebrity factor on the social life of modern society, analyses celebrities as a special stratum and reasons for the rapid increase in the importance of social role of personal celebrity. He argues that personal celebrity is to be added to the list of those features that determine the major forms of inequality and by analogy with Peter L. Berger's 'knowledge class people' suggests defining the stratum of people whose occupation is connected with celebrity and whose major capital is celebrity with the notion ‘people of celebrity’.[10]

Among other things it has been suggested by Grinin to view social Anagenesis/aromorphosis as a universal / widely diffused social innovation that raises social systems’ complexity, adaptability, integrity, and interconnectedness.[11]

Great Divergence and Great Convergence

Together with Andrey Korotayev he has also made a significant contribution to the current Great Divergence debate.[12] As is noted by Jack Goldstone, the "new view, carefully presented and rigorously modeled by Grinin and Korotayev, provides a richer and more nuanced version of the “Great Divergence,” bridging many of the differences between the traditional and California viewpoints. Yet they go further. Amazingly, by building a model utilizing human capital (education), global population growth, and regional productivity, they show how both the Great Divergence and the recent “Great Convergence” (the economic catching up of developing countries) are phases of the same process of global modernization." [13]

Selected bibliography


  1. The International N. D. Kondratieff Foundation Archived 2013-10-12 at the Wayback Machine
  2. Journal of Globalization Studies
  3. A series of the almanacs dedicated to various aspects of the application of mathematical methods to the study of history and society
  4. almanac Evolution
  5. "The International N. D. Kondratieff Foundation". Archived from the original on 2013-10-12. Retrieved 2012-08-22.
  6. Grinin L. Production Revolutions and Periodization of History: A Comparative and Theoretic-mathematical Approach. Social Evolution & History. Vol. 6, num, 2, 2007.
  7. Grinin, Leonid; Grinin, Anton L. Global Technological Perspectives in the Light of Cybernetic Revolution and Theory of Long Cycles. Journal of Globalization Studies. Volume 6, Number 2 / November 2015.
  8. Grinin L. Early State, Developed State, Mature State: The Statehood Evolutionary Sequence. Social Evolution & History. Vol. 7, num. 1, 2008, pp. 67-81
  9. Grinin L. Globalization and Sovereignty: Why do States Abandon their Sovereign Prerogatives? Age of Globalization. Number 1, 2008
  10. Grinin L. ‘People of celebrity’ as a new social stratum and elite. In Hierarchy and Power in the History of Civilizations: Cultural Dimensions (pp. 183–206). / Ed. by Leonid E. Grinin and Andrey V. Korotayev. Moscow: KRASAND, 2009.
  11. Leonid Grinin & Andrey Korotayev. Social Macroevolution: Growth of the World System Integrity and a System of Phase Transitions. World Futures, Volume 65, Issue 7 October 2009 , pages 477–506.
  12. Great Divergence and Great Convergence. A Global Perspective (Springer, 2015, with Andrey Korotayev).
  13. Goldstone, Jack A. "Great Divergence and Great Convergence in a Global Perspective." Social Evolution & History 15.2 (2016): 197-198.
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