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Moscow slavophilism 1840-1865: A study in social change and intellectual development.

Hughes, Michael John (1991) Moscow slavophilism 1840-1865: A study in social change and intellectual development. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science (United Kingdom).

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Abstract

The thesis is concerned with the social and political thought of the Moscow Slavophiles, a small group of writers and thinkers active in Russia during the middle decades of the 19th century. The existing literature has made little attempt to relate the Slavophiles' ideas to social and economic changes taking place in Russia, instead preferring to take a biographical or textual approach. Where attention has been given to the importance of wider social and economic factors, the treatment has usually been brief and discursive. This thesis tries to overcome the problem by devoting more attention to social and economic issues than has been customary in previous considerations of Slavophilism. Chapters 2 and 3 develop a detailed social biography of members of the Slavophile circle, casting doubt on the conventional view that they were representatives of the 'middle' provincial gentry, frightened by the prospect of economic change. In reality, they understood that economic change could offer benefits as well as Costs. Several members of the circle reorganised farming practices on their landed estates to take advantage of the commercial opportunities given by technical and economic changes in agriculture. Chapters 4-7 examine the development of Slavophile social and political thought, arguing that it evolved in response to changes in the social, economic and political enviroment. Before 1855, at a time when the repressive Government of Nicholas I was unwilling to countenance publicly the prospect of reform, Slavophile political ideas were expressed via the medium of bizarre historical and sociological theories. However, after Nicholas' death, when the new Government began to actively consider the possibility of emancipating the serfs, Slavophile ideas began to be expressed in a more mundane form. At the same time, the contradictions between the populist elements in their thought and their interests as members of the wealthy gentry became more apparent. This contradiction became even clearer after 1861, and eventually helped fragment the earlier unity of the circle. Chapter 7 examines a somewhat different theme; namely, the relationship between early Slavophilism and Panslavism. By examining Slavophile journals of the 1850?s, the thesis casts doubt on the idea that there is a clear theoretical and historical distinction between Slavophilism and Panslavism. Panslavism appealed to those grouped around Slavophile journals because it seemed to offer Russia an opportunity to find new allies in the international system at a time when its fortunes were at a low ebb.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: History, Russian and Soviet
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses
URI: http://etheses.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/1140

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