As he examines administrative reform of Russian rural local government between the abolition of serfdom and World War I, Francis William Wcislo takes as his theme the repeated attempts of tsarist statesmen to restructure the most critical mediating link between the autocratic state and a rapidly modernizing agrarian society. His broader objective, however, is to use the issue of autocratic politics to probe the character and evolution of bureaucratic mentalit in this period.
Wcislo links the social, psychological, ideological, and institutional nexus of the bureaucracy with its social underpinnings in rural society and lays bare the connections of the bureaucratic world with its traditional social base among the service nobility and the peasantry. Placing the conflicting views of officials within the context of the two political cultures of old regime society, he shows how bureaucratic reformers anxious to promote civic culture were undermined by defenders of traditional autocracy and the society of service estates (soslovie) with which that autocracy had coexisted. This defense of tradition and the resulting failure of reformist initiatives were fundamental to the crisis of Russia in the early twentieth century.
Originally published in 1990.
The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback and hardcover editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.