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For the Common Good and Their Own Well-Being – Social Estates in Imperial Russia - Oxford Scholarship Online
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For the Common Good and Their Own Well-Being: Social Estates in Imperial Russia

Alison K. Smith


Every subject in the Russian Empire had an official place in society marked by his or her social estate, or soslovie. These sosloviia (noble, peasant, merchant, and many others) were usually inherited and defined the rights, opportunities, and duties of individuals. They were also usually associated with membership in a specific, geographically defined society in a particular town or village. Although laws increasingly insisted that every subject of the empire possess a soslovie “for the common good and their own well-being,” they also allowed individuals to change their soslovie by following ... More

Keywords: soslovie, social estate, society, social mobility, townsperson, peasants

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2014 Print ISBN-13: 9780199978175
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2014 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199978175.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Alison K. Smith, author
University of Toronto