Novosibirsk State Pedagogical University Bulletin, 2018, vol. 8, no. 1, pp. 107–123

The concept of tradition in contemporary western academic discourse

Illarionov G. A. 1 (Krasnoyarsk, Russian Federation)
1 Siberian Federal University

Introduction. The article is devoted to solving the problem of definition of concept of tradition. The problem is caused by pluralism and relativism in using this concept. Different approaches to tradition serves as a source of social conflict. The research goal is to summarize conceptual foundations of the notion of tradition through a consideration of the antinomies of its attributes and functions through the analysis of the use of the concept in the Western literature.
Materials and Methods. The study is based on methods of conceptual and structural analysis, revealing the concept through exploration of its elements, emphasizing the main structural relations and the opposition in it. The material for the analysis includes the works of the following foreign researchers of the tradition, published in the English language: C. Badik, A. Giddens and S. Bronner, M. Bevir, Y. Yadgar, M. Beckstein, G. Kegler, etc.
Results. As the result of the research, the author has summarized the main forms of using the concept of tradition in English academic literature. An approach to tradition based on the complementarity of two understandings of the concept is proposed. Tradition can be considered as objective, immutable core of culture, transmitted through the generations. At the same time, tradition may be seen as a semiotic construct, generated in real time by people based on their perception of the past. The overall picture of tradition appears in the form of a modular system, consisting of subconcepts.
Conclusions. The construction of the generalized unified theory of social inheritance, consistent with the conceptualizing of tradition, implies the overcoming of the antinomies of its attributes and functions. The way to overcome the problem lies in the use of methodology based on the principle of complementarity. The reasons for preventing the spread of such approach are socio-cultural bases of studying the concept of tradition.


Tradition; Concept of tradition; Attributes of tradition; Function of tradition; Objectivism; Constructivism; Posttraditional society

35.333 Michael Oakeshott | Idealist | British Idealism

The concept of tradition in contemporary western academic discourse

For citation:
Illarionov G. A. The concept of tradition in contemporary western academic discourse. Novosibirsk State Pedagogical University Bulletin, 2018, vol. 8, no. 1, pp. 107–123. DOI:
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Date of the publication 28.02.2018