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The intellectuals and the idea of the nation in slavophile thought
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political Science.
2001 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This dissertation analyses the first expression of Russian nationalism, formulated by the Slavophiles in the second quarter of the nineteenth century. Against the common view of the Slavophiles as reactionary dreamers, indifferent to politics, it argues that Slavophilism was a conscious project for social change. Through focusing on the problems addressed by the Slavophiles, rather than the ideas that have generally been regarded as central to their ideology, Slavophilism can be seen as a reaction to the feeling of Russian backwardness. With a new intellectual agenda demands for a unique, national culture were raised. Every nation should contribute to a common humanity. The absence of a genuine Russian culture was therefore a sign of backwardness. But, it was not only Russia's role as a nation that was being questioned. The role of the Russian intellectuals, regarding themselves as leaders of their nation/culture, was also questioned leading to an identity crisis. In their view, what Russia lacked, they the intellectuals lacked. However, Romanticism, the very instigator to Russia's predicament, also provided a solution: It was possible to resuscitate a dormant national spirit through a moral regeneration of the national community. This was precisely what the Slavophiles suggested through their notion of a specific Russian enlightenment. It was an attempt to develop a latent Russian culture so that it could make a Russian contribution to the universal enlightenment. Giving the intellectuals the role of articulating this culture, the Slavophiles solved their crisis of identity.

This study concludes that the nationalism of the Slavophiles was not state-oriented, but a culture-oriented nationalism directed at the nation. Nevertheless, it was not indifferent to social change and involved safeguarding the nation from state intervention. In Slavophilism, ideals of progress, enlightenment, and universalism were upheld. Thus this version of Russian nationalism was not antagonistic to the West. The study therefore questions the notion that Russian nationalism involves the dichotomy Russia versus Europe. It also questions the dichotomy between cultural/conservative and political/ liberal nationalism, concluding that all nationalism is about social change and thus of political significance.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Political Science, Stockholm University , 2001. , 185 p.
Series
Stockholm studies in politics, ISSN 0346-6620 ; 78
Keyword [sv]
Nationalism, historia, Ryssland, 1800-talet, Slavofilism
National Category
Political Science
Research subject
Political Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-143662ISBN: 91-7265-316-7 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-143662DiVA: diva2:1103713
Public defence
2001-09-20, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Note

Diss. Stockholm : Stockholms universitet, 2001

Available from: 2017-05-30 Created: 2017-05-30 Last updated: 2017-07-12Bibliographically approved

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