This illuminating volume provides a new understanding of the subjective identity and public roles of Russia's Europeanized elite between the years of 1762 and 1825. Through a series of rich case studies, the editors reconstruct the social group's worldview, complex identities, conflicting loyalties, and evolving habits. The studies explore the institutions that shaped these nobles, their attitude to state service, the changing patterns of their family life, their emotional world, religious beliefs, and sense of time. The creation of a Europeanized elite in Russia was a state-initiated project that aimed to overcome the presumed "backwardness" of the country. The evolution of this social group in its relations to political authority provides insight into the fraught identity of a country developing on the geopolitical periphery of Europe. In contrast to postcolonial studies that explore the imposition of political, social, and cultural structures on colonized societies, this multidisciplinary volume explores the patterns of behavior and emotion that emerge from the processes of self-Europeanization.The Europeanized Elite in Russia, 1762 1825 will appeal to scholars and general readers interested in Russian history and culture, particularly in light of current political debates about globalization and widening social inequality in Europe.
Publisher: Northern Illinois University Press
Number of pages: 420
Weight: 544 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 25 mm
"This volume successfully showcases the range of research possibilities and interpretive explorations that microhistory and the history of emotions can produce. It also succeeds in bringing Russian and European scholarship to an Anglophone audience."
--The Russian Review
"This groundbreaking volume offers an effective balance between posing broad questions and analyzing particular examples (in a series of paired micro-histories or case studies), and it challenges the imagination, opening the way for further thought and investigation."
--Marcus Levitt, author of The Visual Dominant in Eighteenth-Century Russia (NIU Press, 2011)
"The editors and contributors have found a number of fresh or little examined stories to illustrate their general point that the westernization of the elite cannot be captured in the current reductive models, but must be understood as the product of a complex and sometimes unexpected combination of European influences and inherited domestic practices."
--David Ransel, author of A Russian Merchant's Tale