Wednesday 4 April 2018 11.00 - 13.00M-2 - ELI03 : From State to Local: Governing a Region
PFC/02/017 Sir Peter Froggatt Centre
The general topic of Romanian rural area during the interwar period was approached from three main perspectives: the case studies of Romanian school of sociology during the 30s, a series of works focusing on the agrarian reforms (1919/1921 and 1945) and studies regarding the collectivization and the fate of the ... (Show more)
The general topic of Romanian rural area during the interwar period was approached from three main perspectives: the case studies of Romanian school of sociology during the 30s, a series of works focusing on the agrarian reforms (1919/1921 and 1945) and studies regarding the collectivization and the fate of the kulaks during the 50s. Nevertheless, little work was done on the topic of local elites and their relation with the State.
The presentation will focus on the interwar rural elites in Romania, by using as a case study the Bordei Verde commune in Braila County, and will approach two main issues: the crystallization of elite groups during the interwar period and their connections with the 19th century elites and the relation between the local elites and the State. The main hypothesis of the paper is that in the particular case of Romania, one can notice a close connection between the local elites and the State, as shown by the fact that most of the identified elite members occupied positions in local administration.
This situation can be explain by two categories of factors. The first one is represented by the worldwide reduction of the prices of agricultural products during the Great Depression, which made the small scale agriculture typical to Romania economically inefficient during the 30s. The second category is peculiar to Romania and is represented by a combination of strong interventionist policies and weak administrative structures to implement them, a situation which was used by the village level bureaucracy in order to strengthen their power at the local level. The result was the development of local elites eager to act as state representatives in the villages, hence less able and willing to oppose the state promoted policies and propose local alternatives. (Show less)
Ovidiu Iudean : Building Middling Elites as Part of Minority Nation-building: the Romanian Middle Clergy and Law Graduates from Transylvania during Dualism
The process of nation-building of various politically-disenfranchised ethnical minorities in modern composite states was very often characterized by the emergence of strategies designed to support the social-economic advancement of their own members. Alongside endeavors meant to improve the cultural and confessional status of these groups, as a way of ensuring ... (Show more)
The process of nation-building of various politically-disenfranchised ethnical minorities in modern composite states was very often characterized by the emergence of strategies designed to support the social-economic advancement of their own members. Alongside endeavors meant to improve the cultural and confessional status of these groups, as a way of ensuring that their identities would not be erased by the policies of the dominant state, such strategies also entailed the creation and maintenance of certain elite groups, able and willing to mediate between state actors and institutions and minority communities. In the case of Transylvania during Dualism, the Romanian nation-building project – though not always assumed as such by all of the Romanian elites in this region – involved the creation of a category of intermediary actors, who could successfully represent both the interests of the Romanian nation and simultaneously be part of a larger system, which would enable them to be trusted by the state with a modicum of decision-making power. These were the individuals trained in law who could accede to civil service within the Hungarian administrative and judicial system, whose studies were often financed by national scholarship funds. A second category of intermediary actors also unwittingly emerged, namely that of the Romanian Orthodox and Greek-Catholic middle clergy, who needed to balance the concurrent interests of their respective churches, with those of their nation and their communities, and finally with the state. Parish priests, especially those in rural milieus, were the mouthpieces of the national movement, more moderate orientations, and their higher church authorities. Like the graduates of law employed in various civil offices, parish priests were a profoundly split elite category.
The present paper proposes a comparative analysis of these two intermingling elite groups – graduates of law employed in county-level administration and the Orthodox and Greek-Catholic middle clergy – focusing not on those who stood out and obtained exceptional positions, but on the average, unexceptional majority. It therefore examines their educational pathways, to what extent they were supported by national scholarship funds, their professional tracks and the degree to which they were integrated into the institutional settings for which they had been trained. It also takes into consideration their family and social-economic backgrounds, in order to ascertain according to which criteria the national elite recruited those who would, in time, supplant them in the struggle for affirmation. We regard this endeavor to dig up the roots of elite nation-building as a necessary step in explaining the extent of its success, regardless of regional characteristics. (Show less)
Svitlana Potapenko : Serving the Empire? Ukrainian Nobility in Late 18th and Early 20th Centuries
My paper deals with the history of the noble estate on the Ukrainian lands ruled by the Russian empire throughout the “long nineteenth century”. That was a stateless period after the empress Catherine II had destroyed the pre-modern Ukrainian state (the Hetmanate or the Cossack Host) and before the modern ... (Show more)
My paper deals with the history of the noble estate on the Ukrainian lands ruled by the Russian empire throughout the “long nineteenth century”. That was a stateless period after the empress Catherine II had destroyed the pre-modern Ukrainian state (the Hetmanate or the Cossack Host) and before the modern Ukrainian People’s Republic would be proclaimed in 1917. In accordance with the Charter to the Nobility (1785), the former Cossack elite (the Cossack Officials) was incorporated to the Russian imperial upper estate and preserved this social status up to the beginning of the 20th century.
Even the contemporary domestic scholars describe this time rather in dark colors blaming the former Cossack elite for serving the empire and betraying the ideals of their own state. This presumption reincarnates the basic thesis of the Populist and Soviet historiographies which postulated that all social tops were entirely evil and selfish.
However, I have been working on this and related problems for more than ten years. The results of my investigation convinced me that the predominating historiographic portrait of the Ukrainian nobility in the late 18th and early 20th centuries is far from the truth. On contrary, Ukrainian aristocrats and lower nobility preserved warm feelings to their Cossack fatherland. Moreover, from generation to generation, they cultivated “the Cossack myth” (by Serhii Plokhy) paving the path for the modern Ukrainian national-building.
In my paper, I intend to challenge the prevailing vision of the history of the Ukrainian nobility and try to prove the opposite position. The primary sources for the research were examined in the central Ukrainian and Russian state archives (governmental documents, orders, lists, registers including Books of Nobility and broad epistolary). Published memoires and diaries give an intimate look at the everyday life of the Ukrainian noble milieu. Finally, oral sources, namely interviews with the contemporary descendants of the Ukrainian aristocrats, will be involved. (Show less)
Maciej Tyminski , Piotr Korys & Dariusz Standerski : The Local Communist Party Elites and the Enterprises in the Years 1950-1980
The communist party and its structures played a special role in post-war Poland. The party and its apparatus were the highest authority supervising all activities in the state. One of the most important subjects for the party officials were state-owned enterprises and the economic administration. However scholars examining the management ... (Show more)
The communist party and its structures played a special role in post-war Poland. The party and its apparatus were the highest authority supervising all activities in the state. One of the most important subjects for the party officials were state-owned enterprises and the economic administration. However scholars examining the management system in the command economy (not only in Poland) focused mainly on the relations between levels of the economic administration or on the importance of the higher levels of the party-state bureaucracy (e.g. Gregory 2004, Harrison 2011). The importance of the local party apparatus in the supervision of the economy was examined very rarely (e.g. Hough 1969, Lane 1978). Authors in the proposed paper try to fulfill this gap. The objective is to examine methods of a conduct of the local party apparatus and to define and describe major strategies adopted by the local party officials in the supervision of the enterprises. The second objective is to analyze the evolution of the behavior of the local party apparatchiks in their relation with the supervised enterprises during the period of 1950-1980.
Using the categories of the new institutional economics (especially a principal-agent theory), the authors analyze the relations between local party elites and the enterprises, especially the relations with the managers of plants. In the result they point out that members of the local party elite diverged their strategies: one group focused on their career in the party-state structures, the second one tried to minimize costs of their duties in the supervising the local economy. Both groups in their performance used different methods to reach their targets: building networks, supporting the local enterprises on the higher party-state levels, hiding information about the real economic situation from higher authorities, using the nomenklatura system to control the supervised plants etc.
Furthermore, the authors observe the changes in the behavior of the party apparatchiks during entire period: however the main strategies were similar during the thirty years, the evolution of political and social constraints was influencing the strategies of the local political elites. In the time of political crises – for example in 1956-1957 – the activity of the party apparatus declined. On the contrary, in the time of introducing new programs by the central authority the local party officials became more active.
In conclusions authors pointed out that, as a consequence of informal actions and activity of the local party apparatus and changes of political and social constraints, the character of the local party elites’ supervision over enterprises changed in time but the general strategies of the party officials were stable during the entire period.
Gregory P.R. 2004, The Political Economy Of Stalinism. Evidence from the Soviet Secret Archives, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge
Harrison M. 2011, Forging Success: Soviet Managers and False Accounting, 1943-1962, Journal Of Comparative Economics, vol. XXXIX, 1, 43-64.
Hough J. 1969, The Soviet Prefects: Local Party Organs in Industrial Decision-making, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass.
Lane D. 1978, Politics and Society In the USSR, New York University Press, New York. (Show less)