Open Access

The Culture as System, the System of Culture: Aleksandr Bogdanov on Proletarian Culture and Proletarian Art

   | Dec 22, 2021


In my paper, I first focus on Aleksandr Bogdanov’s systems theoretical understanding of culture and highlight the tektological foundations of culture. In this part, I analyze his organizational account of culture and interpret his tektological approach as a theory of the social dimensions of culture and the cultural dimensions of society. Second, I discuss the term ‘proletarian culture’, its definition and its role in Bogdanov’s theory of socialism. I argue that Bogdanov’s vision of a future socialist society is connected with establishing a socialist culture. He considers the proletariat a bearer of socialist ideology and deduces its unique political role from its unique position in the system of social knowledge. With his idea of proletarian culture, Bogdanov drafts a programme of proletarian evolution which challenges Lenin’s programme for proletarian revolution. My last step concerns Bogdanov’s account of proletarian art. I argue that, in order to understand Bogdanov’s concept of art properly, we should differentiate between the terms ‘culture’ and ‘art’. The category of culture appears to be a form of organization of a social group, and the category of art is a form of aesthetic self-understanding and self-expression of a social group. My analysis focuses on proletarian art as a form of the self-consciousness (ideology) of the working class.