Estate, Class, and Community: Urbanization and Revolution in Late Tsarist Russia

Daniel R. Brower


In what ways did the development of cities in late tsarist Russia
alter the character of social relations and conflicts in that key
period? At first glance, the question may appear poorly posed. It has long been customary to assess the history of Russian society in the nineteenth century and early twentieth centuries in terms of estate and class, to evaluate change by class differentiation, and to look for the sources of social conflict in the strains engendered by the transformation (to the extent it occurred) of a "society of estates" into a "society of classes." The urban centers of the country fran this point of view provided merely the setting in which key segments of the population experienced and reacted to new economic forces and political
pressures. Recent books in the social history of the time have
substantially enlarged and enriched our understanding of the changes under way among the urban population.

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