Alla Morozova ~ “Physiological Collectivism” of Alexander Bogdanov: Idea and Practice

A new (short) essay on Bogdanov’s ‘physiological collectivism’ in Russian – link (and PDF). Here is the abstract in English:


© 2020 Morozova Alla Yurievna, candidate of historical sciences, senior researcher of the Center «History of Russia of the 19th – the beginning of the 20th centuries» Institute of Russian History of Russian Academy of Sciences (Moscow, Russian Federation) Abstract. The goal of the paper is to study the idea of «physiological collectivism» and attempts to implement it. This idea was proposed by Alexander Bogdanov (1873–1928), a philosopher, naturalist, and one of the leaders of Bolshevism, who saw it as the highest manifestation of collectivism, on the principles of which the society of the future would be based. In Bogdanov’s opinion, «a peculiar revolutionary meaning» of blood transfusion consists in «support of one organism by vital elements of another …, in direct biophysical cooperation». In the last years of his life Bogdanov concentrated his efforts on the activity of the Institute of Blood Transfusion created by him and on the researches and experiments connected with blood transfusion, which he considered as practical realization of the idea of «physiological collectivism». It is this story that is considered in the paper, but not from a medical point of view, but as one of the manifestations of Bogdanov-collectivist. The author of the paper considers various assumptions as to why in 1926 Bogdanov, who was disgraced and «excommunicated» from Bolshevism, was given the opportunity to create the Institute of Blood Transfusion, and comes to the conclusion that this decision was most likely dictated by the desire to channel Bogdanov’s activity in the sphere as far from political life as possible. The paper also analyzes the circumstances of Bogdanov’s death as a result of the experiment (the 12th exchange transfusion of blood) and concludes that it was not a suicide or a disguised murder, but a tragic accident associated with the lack of development of medical science at the time. This conclusion is based on the results of modern physicians’ research. The author of the paper emphasizes the role and importance of the activity of the Institute established by Bogdanov in the process of building the blood transfusion service in this country.

Keywords: history of Bolshevism; A.A. Bogdanov; collectivism; «physiological collectivism»; exchange blood transfusion; Institute of Blood Transfusion; rejuvenation of the body; political struggle in Soviet Russia of 1920s; blood transfusion service; proletarian culture; medical experiments.

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