Social History Yearbook 2001/2002

Russian Social History Yearbook 2001/2002

Social'naja istorija. Ezhegodnik, 2001/2002.
(Social History. Yearbook 2001/2002)
Moskva, ROSSPEN, 2004, 624 p.


History and Theory

I.M. Savelieva and A.V.Poletayev - History as knowledge of social reality
The intention of the article is in the first instance to indicate the possibilities of a sociological approach to historical knowledge concerning the subject of the discipline. It took more than 2000 years to differentiate social reality from physical reality and transcendental reality and to identify the subject of history which nowadays is treated as past social reality. After a brief overview of this process the authors present a thorough analysis of the structure of the historical subject. Its three sections deal with three systems of social reality - the social system (society), the system of culture and the system of personality. The elements of different subsystems of social reality - politics, economy, norms and institutions, symbolic systems, individual actions, etc. - are examined in both traditional and modern historiography.

Micro and Macro History

B.G. Mogil'nitskij - Fernand Braudel's "Total History" as an Example of a Synthesis of Micro and Macro Approaches in Historical Research
The author considers that there is no gap between macro- and microhistory. A researcher can easily use both methods of analysis at different stages of his work. If in previous research macro approaches used to dominate, in our days, the success of micro history brought up the question whether a synthesis of macro- and micro approaches is feasible. Not only would this open up further avenues of historical research, it would also bring a new quality to our understanding of the past. The works of Fernand Braudel offer a perfect example of such a synthesis. The aim of the article is to attract attention to this work as a possible model for the combined use of macro and micro approaches in historical research. The model does not pretend to be universal and suitable for all historical genres but its effectiveness in interdisciplinary research is evident.

Labour History

I.M. Pushkareva and N.L. Pushkareva - "The New Labour History" in Foreign Historiography.
During the last 15 years the study of mass movements in pre-revolutionary Russia, workers' history and labour history have become a marginal, "forgotten" topic in the countries of the former Soviet Union. Filling this gap the authors try to demonstrate the importance of continuing research in this field and the need for new generations of historians of mass movements and specialists in conflictology to reinterpret the vast amount of sources gathered in the Soviet period. Analyzing the approaches of Western labour studies, and evaluating the results of these studies the authors underline the potential for future research that couples the reconstituted labour history to history of everyday life, psycho-history, history of mentalities, gender history, narratology and other new tendencies in historical thought.

V.S.Tjazhel'nikova and A.K. Sokolov
The Attitude to Work: Continuity and Discontinuity in Soviet Work Ethics.

Work ethics are a complicated mixture of moral principles and material or non-material incentives. The answer to the basic question why people work is different for each historical period. New incentives and moral principles appear, which partly incorporate traditional values, thus producing a work ethic that contains both new and older elements in a mix that is specific for each period. During the Soviet period it was attempted to change labour and distribution relations on the basis of Marx's ideas. The authors analyze the formation of the labour ethic of Soviet workers, the role played in this by their peasant background, state policy initiatives in this area during the 1920s and 1930s, the system of training workers that was developed in the 1930s, and the work incentives used by the authorities. This text is the first part of a larger work, of which the second and final part will appear in the yearbook next year.

M.Ju. Mukhin
Work Incentives in Soviet Industry in the 1920s-1930s (A case study of the Kujbyshev Electrical Factory, Moscow)

In the early 1930s, under the slogan of socialist competition, Soviet factories witnessed a concerted campaign to increase productivity through an intensification of labour. The paper analyses how various work incentives (shock brigades, progressive piece-rates, samozakreplenie) were operated to this aim at the shop-floor of the Electrofactory - a symbol of Soviet modernization and one of the biggest enterprises in Moscow. The central focus of analysis are the reasons why this campaign failed and petered out towards the middle of the 1930s.

S.B. Oulianova
Mass Economic-Political Campaigns as a Means of Enhancing Labour Motivation in the 1920's. (The campaign aimed at increasing labour productivity in Leningrad industry in 1924-25

The problem of labour productivity is one of the key issues in the studies of the Soviet economics of the 1920's. Mass economic-political campaigns that became a characteristic feature of that time, were one of the ways to increase the efficiency of production. The present article studies the meaning that the workers of Leningrad industry construed in the slogan of increasing labour productivity and their attitude to the campaign that was carried out under this slogan in 1924-25. The workers were concerned that their welfare and conditions of work might deteriorate. The workers considered the indifference and even hostility of the engineering and technical staff to be the main obstacle to the successful realisation of the campaign; they also believed rationalisation of production, modernisation of equipment and full usage of industrial capacities to be the main means of raising labour productivity. The strongest protest among the workers was caused by the measures taken to toughen factory regulations, lower the rates and revise the norms of output. However, in reality the increase of labour productivity in the 1920's was mainly achieved through the intensification of labour, a greater efficiency of each worker, and stricter discipline.

Gender History

N.L. Pushkareva
"Male" and "Female" Text Analysis (Feminist Linguistics and Social History of Gender).

The article traces the evolution of the feminist direction in linguistics, and demonstrates the theoretical impact of the work of well-known specialists in this sphere - R.Lakoff, D.Spender, S.Troemel-Ploetz. It demonstrates the value of these concepts for the analysis of historical narratives - both - oral and written, including folklore (proverbs, fairy tales etc.). A further dimension of historical knowledge is explored in the very recent research on nonverbal behaviour, which the author sees as the key to the "reading" of figurative sources from the past.

T.G. Leontieva
The Role of Women in the Life of the Orthodox Parish (Late 19th - Early 20th century).

The author traces the evolution of the influence of women in the life of the Orthodox parish, and assesses the role it played in periods of intense social change, distinguishing between situations in which women formed an element of stability that helped preserve tradition in the parish, situations in which women were the driving force behind a process of change in the parish, and situations in which women effectively placed themselves outside of parish life by openly violating traditional norms and modes of behaviour, thereby undermining the social cohesion within the parish. In terms of religious behaviour four types of women can be identified - those from families of priests, those from peasant and poor urban families, educated women from the privileged classes, and, finally, "the intellectual women" who included the first generation of feminists, atheists and other women whose behaviour shocked the parish community. The influence and role of every group was different, but generally speaking there is no indication that women had some sort of a calming or stabilizing influence on parish life in the period of reform and revolution that is being examined in the article. Women's religious behaviour evolved in sync with the changing gender roles in society at large, thereby breaking existing confessional traditions.

Ethno-Social History

V.A. Popkov
Diaspora: Identity and Networks.

The article deals with ethnic Diasporas. It focuses on different ways of understanding the phenomenon. Some new concepts clarifying the essence and the roots of the phenomenon are considered here. The article explores the distinctions between "classical" and "modern" Diasporas, and analyses the role of links between diasporas and national states in historical development. Special attention is paid to the sociological analysis of ethnic dispersions and to possible ways of comparing them to classical Diaspora models, in particular to the Jewish Diaspora. The author arrives at a new interpretation of the Diaspora phenomenon.

Russian Youth Abroad

A.Ju. Andreev
Russian Students in German Universities in the 18th - early 19th Century: a Social Analysis

The article deals with Russian students in Germany in the 18th - early 19th century. The author has carried out a comprehensive search for Russian students in the printed matricula of German universities, including Strassburg and Leiden, which are treated as belonging to the German space of higher education. The author has made a thorough attempt to separate students from Russia proper from Baltic barons and catholic Polish nobles studying in Germany, which also were subjects of the Russian empire at the time. His analysis shows that the social composition of the Russian studentship abroad was determined by social developments in Russia rather than by admission policies adhered to by Western universities. The disproportionately high percentages of Russian students in the most advanced universities like Halle, Goettingen, and Strassburg, show that Russian parents aimed for the most prestigious education in sending their sons and daughters to study abroad. The article identifies three main social groups among the Russian studentship in German universities: students from central Russia (mainly Moscow and St. Petersburg), from East Ukraine (provinces of Charkov and Poltava), and students from families of naturalized Germans. There were three main "waves" of educational migration from Russia. The first and the last of these were triggered off by conscious government efforts by Catherine II and Alexander I at sending students abroad in order to tap Western academic and scientific resources, while the second wave was spontaneous and came from below. This shows that by the late eighteenth century at least part of Russian society already realized the importance of higher education and the university system for the future development of the Russian state.

D.A. Gutnov
Young Russians in Paris, 1900-1910: a Social Approach to the History of the Russian Emigration

The article is devoted to one of the less well-known pages from the history of the Russian émigré community in France at the beginning of the twentieth century. Paris was the center of this community, both for France and for Western Europe as a whole. This survey analyses some social, cultural and every day aspects of the life of Russian emigrants in Paris. On the basis of many different sources, collected in various Russian and European archives, the author attempts to arrive at a complex reconstruction of the social infrastructure of Russian life in Paris, including revolutionary activity as well as the functioning of Russian libraries, cafes, clubs and schools. Contrary to the commonly held opinion that Russian émigré life in Paris developed primarily as the result of post-revolutionary immigration, research reveals that the social infrastructure of the Russian émigré community in the capital of France was formed long before the start of the "era of revolutions and wars" in Russia.

A.A. Sal'nikova
Russian Emigrant Children's Writings as a Source on the Social History of Russia, 1917-1920.

What do Russian emigrant children remember about their life in Russia? What is their attitude to the new Bolsheviks' order? How do the 1917 Revolution and the Civil War affect each of the boys and girls, each of their families and the Russian children's community as a whole? The article attempts to give an answer to these and other questions connected with the history of Russian childhood in 1917-1920. The work is based on a unique source put together by the children themselves - their school compositions. These were written by the pupils of Russian emigrant schools in the first half of the 1920s and were collected by the school teachers in the framework of a special programme of the Russian emigrant Pedagogical Bureau. Their analysis provides an insight into the inner world of the children, their emotions, everyday cares and joys, and brings to light the specific features of the way in which children's memory functions. Special attention is paid to the differences between the texts of boys and girls, as well as between younger and older children.

Social History of War

O.S. Porshneva
Social Behaviour of Russian Soldiers during the First World War (1914 - February 1917)

Through an analysis of soldiers' letters intercepted by censorship commissions during the First World War the author attempts to reconstruct the social behaviour of Russian soldiers, the formation of their social psychology and the influence this had on behavioural patterns. By the second year of the war a syndrome of distrust towards the authorities started to develop among the soldiers. In the severe war-time conditions a complex of negative emotions previously connected to the image of the external enemy was transmitted onto the image of an internal enemy that was identified as the real source of the war and all the suffering it had brought. As a result of this behavioural shift soldiers became active participants in the political events that rocked Russia in 1917. The change in public psychology was also an important factor in the social transformation that took place during those years.

A.B. Astashov
Russian soldiers and the First World War: Psycho-Historical Research on the Experience of War

The research is based on tens of thousands of fragments from soldiers' correspondence, selected the by military censorship, as well as on soldiers' folklore. The article focuses on the transformation of the traditional consciousness of soldiers of peasant origin under the impact of war experience. War experience is regarded in the context of the social experience of a war of the modern industrial type, which exercises a powerful influence on the psychology and mentality of people from a pre-modern environment and provokes a "culture shock". The consequences of this "culture shock" for people from a peasant background assumes the character of an identity crisis, which often manifests itself as a stress disorder or a lingering depressive syndrome. It deeply influences social behaviour, leading to the rejection of battles, to fraternisation and desertion, the search of an "internal" enemy, as well as changes in family life and sexual behaviour. This "culture shock" and its psycho-social consequences were important factors in shaping the mentality of a generation traumatized by the war experience, and gives rise to the image of the "labourer of war" as the creator of a new modern society.

A.V. Golubev
Soviet Society and the "Image of the Ally" during the Second World War

The article is devoted to the analysis of stable foreign policy stereotypes, characteristic for different cultures and epochs, - the image of the enemy and the image of the ally, the concrete contents of which might vary in rather unexpected ways. Russia participated in both world wars as a member of a powerful coalition and therefore the "image of the ally" played an important role in public consciousness, including the decision-making process in the country. The influence of Soviet ideology in the construction of this image is obvious, but archival documents reveal a gap between official propaganda and public opinion on the image of the ally. The changed considerably in the course of the war as the informal contacts between Soviet and foreign solders became more frequent.

Criminal History

A.G. Airapetov
Crime in Budapest and Vienna in the Late-19th and Early-20th Century: a Comparative Study

In the article, an attempt is made to compare the social, professional, and socio-geographical parameters of crime, its structure and the motives behind the criminal behaviour of certain categories of the population in the two capital cities. Drawing on crime statistics, police reports, press coverage, fiction and works by Austrian, German and Russian experts on law from the turn of the century, the author reveals similarities and specific features of the criminal situation in the two parts of Austria-Hungary. It is also shown that not only the challenges of socio-economic modernisation but also the socio-cultural environment of a big city and the psychological peculiarities of the adaptation of different social groups to the imperatives of the market could serve a source of crime.

Soviet Social History of 1920s-1930s

Between "Tsar-Famine" and "Comrade Harvest" (1921-1922)

The article deals with the famine of 1921-1922 that engulfed a huge area including the Volga region, the Urals and Western Siberia, the Crimea and South Ukraine, as well as parts of Azerbaijanian, Armenian and Kazakh territories. The article deals with the survivors of this famine. On the basis of peasants' letters to the authorities the author attempts to identify the main "survival techniques" in these extreme conditions. People resorted to a wide variety of survival strategies, ranging from mass migration to cannibalism. The 1921-1922 famine deeply changed the psychology and behaviour of the Soviet population, particularly the youth. This manifested itself in moral and social degradation, led to rising crime rates, violence, bribery and blackmail. Centuries' old survival strategies based on peasant mutual assistance were destroyed. This is visible during the famine of 1932-1933. The two famines broke the moral strength of the nation and made it incapable of mounting resistance to the regime.

T.M. Smirnova
The Children of Soviet Russia (The activities of the VTsIK Children's Commission, 1921-1924)

Child care was among the priorities of Soviet policy. The author tries to determine what kind of care this was. The materials of the Commission for improvement of the conditions and everyday life of children of VTsIK (All-Russian Central Executive Committee) make it possible to reconstruct all aspects of the state's policy towards children, as well as its practical realization in the early 1920s. The Children' Commission set up orphanages, took care of food supply, and developed new systems of education and medical care. The implementation of children's policy was beset with problems in these difficult first years of the Soviet state. For the first time in Russian history systematic information was gathered about orphanages, their condition, and the number of children they housed, was gathered systematically. The efforts of the Children's Commission had little impact on the situation, though, and brought little tangible changes to the good. After 4 years of work the problem of homeless children was just as persistent as in the year when the commission was founded.

Personal Sources in Social History

V.G. Bezrogov
Autobiography and Social Experience.

Historical memory has two different levels - collective memory and individual memory. Collective memory consists of a crude grid of historical reference points shared by all individuals, whereas individual memory is much more detailed and multi-facetted. In his individual memory a person becomes a unique historical source. At the level of the individual, however, collective and individual memory can coexist in different ways. They can supplement, or to the contrary, override each other, competing over the reflection of historical reality. Autobiographies, belonging to the realm of individual memory, relate to collective memory in the same three ways. They can coincide with collective memory, they can show a broader picture of the past, or they can offer a more narrow perspective on historical reality. The author discusses different types of autobiographies, the main principles that historians ought to adhere to in working with them, areas of research in which historians mainly use them (in particular social and oral history), as well as the potential of autobiographies for future research.

E.D. Braun
The World of Gentry in the Age of the Wars of the Roses: the Social Dimension

The article analyses two collections of letters from the period of the wars of the roses and arrives at the following conclusions. The English gentry at that time considered themselves to be part of several social networks which could be represented as concentric circles. In the first place this was the nuclear family up to the second grade, secondly a broader circle of relatives up to the fifth-sixth grade, thirdly a circle of "servants" (persons lower on the social ladder than the gentry that enjoyed the financial, political and legal support of the gentry in exchange for various services), fourthly a circle of "friends" (gentry associations generally based on land interests and serving to uphold these interests by all means, including local wars), fifthly a circle of "well-wishers" (networks of several "friendly" unions with non-conflicting interests), and, at last, the "party" (a union of "well-wishers" headed by somebody from among the lords, more often the direct seigneur). All of these networks existed within the framework of the country community, with the exception of the "parties", which sometimes, depending on the power of the principal, could operate at a national level as well. The majority of these features are usually seen by historians as the necessary attributes of gentry communities of the XVI-XVII centuries. The article demonstrates that the gentry community as a specific phenomenon from English social history already takes root in the XV century.

Information Resources

The Collections of the State Social and Political Library - A Treasure Trove of Facts and Sources on Social History

The article relates the history of the library of the Institute of Marxism and Leninism under the auspices of the Central Committee of the CPSU, which later became the State Social and Political Library. The author stresses the importance of preserving the inviolability of its structure and its collections as gathered in the Soviet period. He demonstrates the potential for historical research in the fields of conflict studies, gender studies, the history of mass movements, intellectual and biographic history and argues that the collections are not valued sufficiently by specialists on the social history of Russia and Europe.

I.M. Pushkareva
New Sources on the Labour Movement in Pre-Revolutionary Russia: "Labour Movement in Russia. 1895-1917. A Chronicle".

The idea to gather different sources on the labour movement took shape at the beginning of the 1980s. Historians from all former republics of the USSR worked in 108 archives for years in order to illustrate the social activity of workers in the pre-revolutionary period with the help of archival documents. The papers were systematized in chronological order an at present already seven volumes have been published (including the years 1895-1901). This publication provides detailed information on different workers' organizations and societies, on forms and types of workers' protests as well as workers' agitation materials. It opens new perspectives for historical research on the labour movement.

G. Kessler
Labour History of Twentieth Century Russia; Perspectives for Further Research
Roundtable discussion, Institute of General History Russian Academy of Sciences, 2 October 2001

On the initiative of the Center of Social History of the Institute of General History (Moscow) and the International Institute of Social History (Amsterdam) labour historians from Russia and abroad gathered at a roundtable discussion at the Russian Academy of Arts and Sciences to reflect on the achievements in their discipline over the last ten or so years, and to set an informal agenda for future research. Participants had been invited to interpret the term labour history as broadly as possible, and a variety of potentially rewarding areas of research was touched upon in the discussion, ranging from working class organizations and their political activity to themes as diverse as the slave labour of the Gulag and postwar workers' consumer culture.