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The structuration of Russian society in the 19th and early 20th century (based on the works of domestic researchers)

Lyudmila A. Belyaeva, Doctor of Sociology Institute of Philosophy of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia,
mailto: bela46@mail.ru
ORCID ID=0000-0003-0538-7331
The structuration of Russian society in the 19th and early 20th century (based on the works of domestic researchers).
Vestnik instituta sotziologii. 2020. Vol. 11. No. 2. P. 14-36

DOI: 10.19181/vis.2020.11.2.639

Дата поступления статьи: 10.03.2020
This Article is downloaded: 45 times
Topic: Social Determinants of Russian Society: Yesterday and Today

For citation:
Lyudmila A. Belyaeva. The structuration of Russian society in the 19th and early 20th century (based on the works of domestic researchers). Vestnik instituta sotziologii. 2020. Vol. 11. No. 2. P. 14-36
DOI: https://doi.org/10.19181/vis.2020.11.2.639


This article represents the first stage of a research project dedicated to analyzing the structuration of Russian society throughout the period since the mid 1800’s and until this day. The timeline for part one includes the period up until 1917, while part two will be dedicated to Soviet and post-Soviet times. This article utilizes the methodology of A. Giddens, who suggested using the term “structuration” in order to analyze social relationships in space and time. This methodology implies examining structuration processes through the lens of those studies which were conducted during periods when radical shifts were occurring within the structure of Russian society. The main event which defined the direction for social change turned out to be the emancipation of the serfs in the Russian Empire, which lead to shifts in the population’s structure: accelerated development of a working class, social transformations in the village, and the advancement of internal migration in Russia. The article shows that in Russia these processes were accompanied by science, which included official agencies conducting population censuses, studying the composition and working conditions at factories and plants (this function was carried out by plant and manufactory inspectorates), as well as studies conducted by scientists and practitioners. The works of Nikolai Kalachov, N. Flerovsky, Evgeny Pogozhev, Mykhailo Tuhan-Baranovskyi and others aided in developing detailed social characteristics of workers and their position in the structure of society and at work. Studying the village (and consequently the largest social class – the peasants) was the prerogative of provincial councils. Comprehensive monographic studies were conducted by Piotr Semionov, Vassily Pokrovsky, Vassily Orlov, Piotr Chervinsky, Fedor Shcherbina, as well as other researchers. The article shows that the population’s structuration at the turn of the century in regards to the territorial aspect depended on resettlement and internal migration to a significant degree. Remarkable studies of this process were conducted by Denis Davydov, Evgeny Anuchin, Isaac Hourwich, Ivan Yamzin and other Russian scientists. Aside from scientists, practitioners also took part in these studies. The Russian intelligentsia actively partook in field research. The educated class’ efforts made it possible to attain valuable data on society’s structure, on the state of social relationships in Russia, migration processes, and the social characteristics of society’s key structural elements – peasants and workers.


 structure, social structure, census, studies of the working class and peasantry, zemstvo studies, monographic studies, relocation, colonization


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