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Worlds in Conflict: Patriarchal Authority, Discipline and the Russian School, 1861–1914

  • Ben Eklof (a1)


Grigorii Soroka was a serf, one of millions in prereform Russia. He was not particularly set apart by his artistic talent, for many peasants revealed their individual expressive gifts in carved decoration, ceramics, toy making, and other crafts. Soroka was unusual, however, in that he received instruction from Aleksei Venetsianov, a retired bureaucrat, small-property owner, and renowned painter. Soroka, despite his refined talents, remained a serf, for his owner, N. P. Miliukov, unheeding of Venetsianov’s pleas, refused to manumit his “serf artist.” When the Emancipation came, then, Soroka led his villagers in drawing up a petition protesting the terms that Miliukov sought to impose. The petition, addressed to the tsar, was returned to the provincial office for peasant affairs and shown to Miliukov who, enraged, then drew up his own complaint against the peasants. Soroka was summoned to the volost offices, arrested, held for three days, and then sentenced to a flogging for “obstreperous behavior and for spreading false rumors.” On 10 April 1864 Grigorii Soroka was seen wandering distractedly about the village, and the next day his wife found his body hanging from the rafters in a cold storage building.



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Earlier versions of this paper were read at the Kennan Institute for Advanced Soviet Studies and at the One Hundred Third Annual Meeting of the American Historical Association in Cincinnati on 29 December 1989. I am grateful for critical comments offered by Jeffrey Brooks, John Gillis, Ester Kingston-Mann, Adele Lindenmeyer, and Timothy Mixter. The author of course takes full responsibility for the final version of the text.

1. Hilton, Alison, “Russian Folk Art and ‘High’ Art in the Nineteenth Century,” in Art and Culture in Nineteenth Century Russia, ed. Stavrou, Theofanis George (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1983), 237254 .

2. See Mikhailova, Kira V., Grigorii Soroka (Leningrad, 1974).

3. Turner, Bryan S., The Body and Society: Explorations in Social Theory (Oxford: Blackwell, 1984), 132142 .

4. Minenko, N. A., Zhivaia starina: Budni i prázdnila sibirskoi derevni (Novosibirsk: Nauka, 1989), 11 . See also Mironov, Boris, “The Russian Peasant Commune after the Reforms of the 1860s,” in The World of the Russian Peasant: Post-Emancipation Culture and Society, ed. Eklof, Ben and Frank, Stephen P. (Boston: Unwin Hyman, 1990), 19 .

5. The Russian Worker: Life and Labor under the Tsarist Regime, ed. Bonnell, Victoria E. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1983); Bonnell, Victoria E., Roots of Rebellion: Workers’ Politics and Organizations in St. Petersburg and Moscow, 1900-1914 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1983); Zelnik, Reginald, ed. and trans., A Radical Worker in Tsarist Russia: The Memoirs of Sergei Kanatchikov (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1986). For a perspective that emphasizes the basis of workers’ notions of individual dignity and social justice in traditional conceptions of “moral responsibility and community,” see Steinberg, Mark, “Culture and Class in a Russian Industry: The Printers of St. Petersburg, 1860-1905,” Journal of Social History 23, (Spring 1990): 513533 .

6. Brooks, Jeffrey, When Russia Learned to Read (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1985), xivxxi.

7. See Thurston, Gary, “The Impact of Russian Popular Theatre, 1886-1915,” Journal of Modern History 55 (June 1983): 237267 .

8. For this, and the assertions below, see Eklof, Ben, Russian Peasant Schools: Officialdom, Village Culture, and Popular Pedagogy, 1861-1914 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1986).

9. This success can be attributed to surprisingly regular attendance by rural youth, to the basically phonetic character of the Russian language (and successful literacy instruction strategies based on phonics), and to the high instrumental value peasants placed upon achieving these skills.

10. In Russian Peasant Schools I argue from the work of Sylvia Scribner and Michael Cole that liter acy is a skill “like basket weaving”—complex but capable of fitting comfortably into traditional cultures. Likewise, I drew upon studies of literacy in France to suggest that the spread of literacy initially reinforces village autarky by providing an avenue out of the village for the talented and ambitious, thereby depriving the countryside of their potentially innovative influence. I am uncomfortable with the notion that literacy changes minds, making people more “modern.” On the other hand, Scribner and Cole argue that the process of schooling rather than the acquisition of literacy as such actually changes personalities.

11. On Vygotskii, see Wertsch, James, Vygotsky and the Social Formation of Mind (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1985); Joravsky, David, Russian Psychology: A Critical History (Oxford: Blackwell, 1989), esp. 238-270 .

12. For a lengthier version of the following pages, see Eklof, Ben, “Discipline and Punishment in the Russian School: Democratic Classroom in an Authoritarian Order,” paper delivered to the Kennan Institute, Washington, D.C., 6 April 1988 .

13. The phonics method, experiments in natural science, mathematical problem solving, object lessons, and explanatory readings were to be the basic approaches used in the classroom. Following the advice of educators from the time of Jan Comenius, teachers were to begin with the immediate and concrete, and move only gradually to things more abstract or distant. To the degree possible, excursions were to link the school with the local environment. Singing, drawing, recitations, and even theatrical productions were all to develop the expressive side of the child.

The approach advocated by tsarist educators helps explain how Russian schools achieved such remarkable results in implanting basic skills. A combination of childrens’ enthusiasm, the widespread practice of remaining overnight in the school (making the school closer to a total institution) and the noncoercive atmosphere, all provided strong incentives for learning. The balance between “frontal” and “self-directed” approaches, achieved by force of circumstances, as a compromise between the child-centered movement toward individualization and the society-centered focus on mastery of basic skills and knowledge, between belief and the crush of circumstance in the school—corresponds well to modern approaches.

14. Bunakov, N., Izbrannye pedagogicheskie sochineniia (Moscow, 1953), 365366 .

15. Komitet gramotnosti pri Imperatorskom Moskovskom Obshchestve Sel’skogo Khoziaistva, Zhurnaly zasedanii, 1893-1894, 80-81. Bunakov, Chekhov, and Tjkhomirov were all renowned educators who promoted village schooling in the second half of the nineteenth century.

16. Apparently the infamous Burtsev picture of the child being readied for a whipping was directly copied from an earlier ABC book printed in Vilnius (Or azbuki Ivana Fedorova do sovremennogo bukvariia [Moscow, 1974] 13, 21-24, where illustrations can be found). On beatings in Russian schools, from medieval times to the middle of the nineteenth century, see Timofeev, A. G., Istorila telesnykh nakazanii (St. Petersburg, 1897), 219222 .

17. Demkov, M. I., Nachal’naia narodnaia shkola: Eia istorila, didaktika i metodika, 2nd, rev. ed. (Moscow, 1916) 4041 . On early education see Okenfuss, Max, trans., “V. O. Kliuchevskii on Childhood and Education in Early Modern Russia,” History of Education Quarterly (Winter 1977): 417447 . A major recent work is Ocherki istorii shkoly i pedagogicheskoi mysli narodov SSSR s drevneishikh vremen do kontsa XVII v., ed. Dneprov, E. D. et: al. (Moscow: Pedagogika, 1989), see, esp. 142-164.

18. In fact changes had been evident before, see Kolchina, T. V., “Narodnye uchilishcha v Rossii v 30-50kh godakh xix veka (kandidat diss., Moscow University, 1973) for a good description of readers, handbooks, and methods during the reign of Nicholas I. My discussion here slights the evolution of educational thought and practice in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. I must emphasize that this statement applies to mainstream pedagogy, for one can find in the writings of Konstantin Pobedonostsev, for example, a much harsher view of human nature. I will argue that such writings had remarkably little effect on either handbooks or practices. For a discussion of the issue of corporal punishment, brought up and much talked about during the “thaw” preceding the Emancipation and in the several drafts to the Education Statute of 1864, see Kimov, I. U., “Voprosy shkOl’noi ditsipliny v russkoi pedagogike 60-kh godov xix veka” (diss. abstract, Moscow University, 1955) and Smirnov, V. Z., “Voprosy shkol’noi ditsipliny v pedagogicheskoi diskussii kontsa 50-kh i nachala 60-kh godov xix veka v Rossii,” Sovetskaiapedagogika 6 (1946): 8295 . Article 38 of the 1862 draft, which called for the elimination of corporal punishment, received much attention, both in Russia and abroad (where copies of the draft were sent with responses solicited). Among the responses from France, Germany, and England, only a small number supported Article 38, while Russian educated opinion was divided. Earlier, the renowned educator N. I. Pirogov, whose 1856 call for a new type of school had won much acclaim, allowed corporal punishment in his 1859 regulations for schools in Kiev district; for this he was publicly attacked by the radical critic Nikolai Dobroliubov. On this period, see also Krumbholz, Joachim, Die Elementarbildung in Russland bis zum Jahre 1864 (Wiesbaden, 1982), 150151, 203-209, who presents both foreign and domestic opinion (as well as that of the committee itself) as deeply divided on this issue. A full discussion of the 1860s would also include the views of Dmitrii Tolstoi, and his impact (especially in the following decade) on the debate over the nature of the child.

19. Korf, Baron N., Russkaia nachal’naia shkola. Rukovodstvo dlia zemskikh glasnykh i uchitelei sel’skoi shkoly (St. Petersburg, 1870), Lebedev, A.I., shkol’noe delo, 2 vols. (Moscow, 19091911) 2: Deti, esp. 344-348; Tulupoy, N. V. and Shestakov, P. M., Prakticheskaia shkol’naia entsiklopediia: Nastol’naia kniga dlia narodnykh uchitelei i drugikh blizhaìshikh deiatelei v oblasti narodnogo obrazovanüa (Moscow, 1912). For a semi-official treatment of disciplinary issues, see also Anastasiev, A. I., Narodnaia shhola: Rukovodstvo dlia uchitelei i uchitel’nits narodnykh shkol. 7th ed. 2 vols. (Moscow, 1910); El’nitskii, K., shkol’noe obuchenie. 2nd. ed. (Petrograd, 1914). Iablochkov, M. T., Russkaia shkola: Nas-tavleniia direktora narodnykh uchilishch (Tula, 1894) 168, 177182 . On the tension between stasis (or transmission) and transformation in schooling, see Gammage, Philip, Children and Schooling (Boston: Allen and Unwin, 1982), 34.

20. Dido, , Zametki i nabliudeniia: Iz zametok byvshago sel’skago uchitel’ia (St. Petersburg, 1902), 42 .

21. Remorov, N., Na nive narodnoi (St. Petersburg, 1906), 4952 .

22. Iz dnevnika narodnoi uchitel’nitsy (Moscow, 1911), 118 .

23. Ibid., 8 (entry for 12 October).

24. Evreinov, N., Istorila telesnykh nakazanii v Rossii (New York: Chalidee, 1979) [reprint of pre-revolutionary issue: date and place of publication not listed], 116-154; Timofeev, , Istoriia telesnykh nakazanii, 83129 . For the pre-Emancipation period, see Hoch, Stephen, Serfdom and Social Control: Petrovskoe, a Village in Tambov (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1986), 160186 , and Minenko, , Zhivaia starina, 537 .

25. See Evreinov, , Istoriia telesnykh nakazaniia, 136, 150 , for the pertinent legislation; also Leonťev, A. A., Kresťianskoe pravo, (St. Petersburg, 1914), 110 . After this date corporal punishment remained in punitive battalions in the prisons and in military stockades.

26. Wildman, Allan, The End of the Russian Imperial Army: The Old Army and the Soldiers’ Revolt (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1980), 3334 . Wildman concludes that discipline in the Russian army was “not shockingly more cruel than practices in most contemporary armies, and it was probably less so than in the German and French armies” (where face slapping was an approved practice).

27. The testimony is from a sailor on the Baltic fleet in 1905 ( Westwood, J. N., Endurance and Endeavour: Russian History 1812-1986, 3rd. ed. [New York: Oxford University Press, 1987], 157 . Czap, Peter, “Peasant-Class Courts and Peasant Customary Justice in Russia, 1861-1912,” Journal of Social History 1, no. 2 [Winter 1967]: 170 ; Frank, Stephen, “Cultural Conflict and Criminality in Rural Russia, 1861-1900,” [unpublished Ph.D. diss., Brown, 1987], 230233 . Bruce Adams cites prison administrators’ comments after the new criminal law of 1863 (substituting imprisonment and fines for most forms of corporal punishment) that “these measures are not received by the people with the gratitude they deserve.” The Liuboshchinksii Commission on the Reform of the Volost Courts [1872] also claimed that peasants preferred “justice be meted out with fist and whip.” “Criminology, Penology and Prison Administration in Russia, 1863-1917” [unpublished Ph.D. diss., University of Maryland, 1981], 50,52). But Allan Wildman reports that common soldiers “deeply resented” flaying with birch rods, and oñen committed more serious crimes to merit a prison sentence instead (End of the Russian Imperial Army, 34).

Conflicting testimony may mean that over 50 years a new sense of personal dignity had emerged, that in one of the two instances the reports of popular sentiment were inaccurate, or that soldiers resented the humiliation by their betters, much as, in Wildman’s words, “they resented the manifold outward marks of social distance imposed both by regulations and by society at large.” This interpretation gains support from evidence in the periodical press as early as the 1870s, but mounting towards the turn of the century, that peasants felt that the imposition of corporal punishment by officials or the volost court was a deep stigma. Cases were documented of peasants subsequently committing suicide and of village communities showing up with pitchforks and axes to resist the application of corporal punishment upon a fellow villager. According to Evreinov, such responses eventually forced the land captains to back away from their zealous use of the rod to discipline peasants, and hastened the long overdue 1904 decree eliminating corporal punishment in the village (Evreinov, 140-142, 146-150).

28. Gor’kii, Maksim, “On the Russian Peasantry,” trans. Myskow, T. M. and Smith, R. E. F., Journal of Peasant Studies 4, no. 1 (October 1976): 1127, esp. 17-19. The following articles provide graphic insights into the place of violence and physical punishment in enforcing village norms: Czap, Peter, “Peasant-Class Courts,” 149178 ; Frank, Stephen P., “Popular Justice, Community and Culture among the Russian Peasantry, 1870-1900,” The Russian Review 46 (1987): 239265 ; Frank, Stephen P., “Cultural Conflict and Criminality,” esp. chap. 4, 195239 ; Worobec, Christine, “Horse Thieves and Peasant Justice in Post-Emancipation Russia,” Journal of Social History 21, no. 2 (Winter, 1987): 281291 ; Frierson, Kathy, “Crime and Criminality in the Russian Village: Rural Concepts of Criminality at the End of the Nineteenth Century,” Slavic Review 46, no. 1 (Spring 1987): 5569.

29. Steven Hoch has concluded that the high incidence of violence in the Russian countryside was similar to levels prevailing in nineteenth century France and Germany, for “violence was an accepted way of dealing with rural tension.” Citing Howard Zehr, he continues: “Interpersonal violence, in other words, was a traditional outlet for frustration, an expression of social conflict” and was tolerated as such by the authorities. Zehr, Howard, Crime and the Development of Modern Society (Totawa, N.J.: Rowman and Littlefield, 1976), 134 , in Hoch, Serfdom and Social Control, 178. Hoch also turns to anthropology for evidence that quarrels and violence are endemic to peasant communities.

30. Gor’kii, , “On the Russian Peasantry,” 17. For a teacher’s notes on family violence, see Kivshenko, Dnevnik sel’skoi uchitel’nitsy (St. Petersburg, 1888), 8485, 128, 132.

31. Worobec, Christine, “The World of the Russian Peasant,” (Typescript, 1987), 323325 . For earlier depictions, see Elnett, Elaine, Historic Origins and Social Development of Family Life in Russia (New York, 1926), 3036, 112-118. In the pre-Emancipation village, according to Hoch, family discord was common, and wife-beating frequent, estate records often showing instances of corporal punishment of family members at the request of the heads of household (Serfdom and Social Control, 161-162). Rose Glickman argues that “patriarchy remained patriarchy,” and beating, “considered legal and natural,” remained the norm in 1914 as it had been in 1884, when the ethnographer Aleksandra Efimenko commented upon the practice (Russian Factory Women: Workplace and Society, 1880-1914 [Berkeley, Los Angeles, and London: University of California Press, 1984], 27-58, esp. 29, 33. Yet others are less bleak about the life of the peasant woman, and developments after 1861 included greater sexual freedom, a reduction of physical violence against women, expanded participation in village government, and a growing willingness to take grievances against spouses to the local courts. Worobec concludes that “it is impossible to speak of the complete subordination of women to men and to view women as purely victims of a patriarchal system.” For this argument, and references to recent literature, see Eklof, Ben, “Ways of Seeing: Recent Anglo-American Studies of the Russian Peasant, 1861-1914,” Jahrbücher für Geschichte Osteuropas 36 (1988): 1516 .

32. Elnett, , Historie Origins, 122127, 139 ; Worobec, , “World of the Russian Peasant,” 354362 . However, a recent Soviet work argues from folklore that peasant notions of discipline were tempered by genuine affection, a concern for age-specific qualities of the child’s personality, and a recognition of the need to promote independence and initiative. See Ocherki istorii shkoly, ed. Dneprov, , 142147 .

33. Iordanskii, N. N., Bytovye i semeinye usloviia zhizni shkol’nikov v Nizhnem-Novgorode (Nizhnii Novgorod, 1907), 19 .

34. Dido, , Zametki i nabliudeniia, 410, 13, 17, 40, 27-29, 33. One pupil ultimately took revenge upon the “old maid” by defecating on a class desk. This passage also graphically details the difficulties of single women living in the countryside finding acceptance within the peasantry; on parents, see 43-45.

35. Remorov, , Na nive narodnoi, 26 .

36. Sokolov, P. I., ed., htoricheskii ocherk razvitiia tserlcovnykh shkol (St. Petersburg, 1909), 225 .

37. For an edited translation of the 1897 Model Program, see Eklof, , Russian Peasant Schools, app. A, 483486.

38. Petrov, V. V., Voprosy narodnogo obrazovaniia v Moskovskoi gubernii. 5 vols. (Moscow, 1897-1907) 1:144 .

39. The classic work on United States schools is Waller, Willard, The Sociology of Teaching (rep. of 1932 ed.; New York: Russell and Russell, 1961). Shipman, M. D. argues that a large majority of teachers in the United States and England in the 1960s continued to favor corporal punishment (Sociology of the School [New York: Humanities Press, 1968], 109). For a more recent perspective, see American Teachers: Histories of a Profession at Work, ed. Warren, Donald (New York: Macmillan, 1989). A recent report in the United States indicated that 41 states permit corporal punishment (New York Times, 9 July 1987) and that paddlings are administered to approximately 3,000,000 children every year (most often boys in elementary schools, and disproportionately against poor black children). According to one specialist, one in twenty incidents “produce bleeding, severe bruises or other kinds of physical trauma”; even those students who do not show lasting physical damage are often subject to headaches, nightmares, and vomiting as a result of paddling. See also Middleton, Nigel and Weitzman, Sophia, A Place for Everyone: A History of State Education from the End of the Eighteenth Century to the 1970s (London: Victor Gallancz, 1976), 7677 ; Horn, Pamela, Education in Rural England, 1800-1914 (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1978), 141143 ; Cipolla, Carlos, Literacy and Development in the West (Baltimore, Md.: Penguin, 1969) 35 .

40. See the descriptions in Eklof, , Russian Peasant Schools, 3748 .

41. Cited in Iordanskii, N. N., “Narodnaia shkola i zemstvo v Nizhegorodskoi gubernii v 60-70-kh godakh xix veka (po lichnym vospominaniiam),” Sovetskaia pedagogika, no. 4 (April 1941): 84 . Iordanskii, however, notes that in his own school in Arzamas where he studied for two years (1870-1871) discipline was “not harsh” (86).

42. Belokonskii, I. P., Nachal’noe narodowe ohrozovanie v Kurskoi gubernii (Kursk, 1897), 13 . In discussing this report, Zviagintsev, E. A. concedes that such treatment was probably not typical, but what is one to say of conditions if “such facts existed and did not provoke general condemnation?(Polveka zemskoi deiatel’nosti po narodnomy obrazovaniiu [Moscow, 1915], 14). However, we must be careful here, for it was a set script in all local studies to provide a before and after contrast of how terrible matters were before zemstvos were introduced and how much the zemstvos had since contributed to improvements in the village. At least one study indicates that while rote methods prevailed in the early years (before the Emancipation) there was widespread discussion of more innovative methods and a good deal of concern for improvement. According to this study, the archives provide abundant examples, as early as the 1830s, of successful, dedicated teaching in the district and parish schools, demonstrating that not all teachers were uniformly bad ( Kolchina, , Narodnye uchilishcha, 96114).

43. See the vivid recollections of one former pupil: “Temoignage d’ecole paroissialle et d’ecole agricole primaire d’apres le ‘Reciť d’un paysan russe d’Ivan Stoliaroff,” trans. Stoliaroff, Valerie (Revue des etudes slaves 58, no. 2 [1986]: 244254).

44. This summary is from Bunakov, , Izbrannye pedagogicheskie sochineniia, 400n.33 .

45. Petrov, V. V., “Telesnye nakazaniia v narodnykh shkolakh,” Vestník vospitaniia, no. 6 (1899): 116 .

46. Iz dnevnika narodnoi uchitel’nitsy, 112.

47. A-v, I., “Iz zhizni russkogo narodnago uchitelia,” Russkaia shkola, no. 11 (1911): 73 .

48. Ibid., 21, 125, 136, 130. He cites testimony from teachers that before the 1875 military requirements they had little need of compulsion, but that since implementation, forceful measures had to be used to push along the weaker and less capable. The quote is from a teacher from Moscow province.

49. Bratchikov, , “Uchebno-vospitatel’naia chasť nachal’noi shkole,” Russkaia shkola, no. 1 (1909): 116 .

50. Ibid., 130.

51. Moreover, studies of child abuse have been unable to determine fluctuations in its incidence over time; like crime, indexes showing increases in violence often reflect a rise in anxiety in times of social stress or changing sensibilities rather than serving as accurate measurements of what was happening. Gordon, Linda, Heroes of Their Own Lives: The Politics and History of Family Violence (Boston 1880-1960) (New York: Viking, 1988). See especially the introduction and chap. 6.

52. Bratchikov, Uchebno-vospitatel’naia chasť,116 .

53. Ibid., 116-117.

54. Farmakovskii, , “Nachal’naia shkola MNP,” Russkaia shkola 10, no. 6 (1899): 179 . Discipline included rewards as well as sanctions. Almost everywhere schools and school boards issued pokhval’nye listi i knigi. Successful graduates sometimes received copies of the Gospels, crosses, icons, portraits of the imperial family and even small cash awards (ranging from 2 to 10 rubles). In the Crimea, pupils from several schools gathered at the end of the year to hear honor rolls (pokhval’nye otzyvy) read by the assembled teachers. It is, of course, more likely that the unrecorded word of praise, supportive glance, or other gesture of recognition was of far more importance than these rather contrived efforts in fostering self-esteem.

55. The fact that Russian pedagogy rejected corporal punishment could lead in two directions: Teachers would surely look for other ways to maintain order in the classroom, but they would also tend to conceal evidence of failure, since beating was seen as a sign of failure (this is not belaboring the obvious, for throughout the western world the view of the child as depraved, and in need of inhibition of basic instincts, persisted, if on the defensive, late into the nineteenth century). Yet a widespread belief in Russia’s educational backwardness and the universal tendency of the mass press to highlight the lurid and sensational (conforming, in this instance, the impression of Russian backwardness) worked the other way—to overstate the dimensions of corporal punishment.

56. For a more detailed presentation of this argument, see Eklof, Ben, “Kindertempel or Shack? The School Building in Imperial Russia: A Case Study of Backwardness,” Russian Review, 47, no. 2 (April 1988): 117144 .

57. Dido, , Zametki i nabliudeniia, 55 .

58. Ibid., 42-45.

59. Remorov, , Na nive narodnoi 4849 ; 36-39.

60. Kivshenko, , Dnevniksel’skoi uchitel’nitsy, 28, 34, 50, 57, 99, 118, 131.

61. Ibid., 21-22, 43, 76-77, 103, 99-100, 128.

62. Iz dnevnika narodnoi uchitel’nitsy.

63. Inexplicably, the same report on this survey earlier noted that punishments of various sorts were applied in 44 schools. Such punishments included detention after class, standing against the wall or in the corner, deprivation of food, of the right to take books home to read, suspension from school, exclusion from readings by the teacher, reprimands, various forms of shaming, and conversations with parents. There is even one testimony to the effect that during Bible lessons the priest resorts to corporal punishment.” (“Na poroge v shkolu i iz shkoly,” Voprosy i nuzhdy uchitel’stva. 10 vols. [Moscow, 1909-1911] 10:334 ).

64. In my Russian Peasant Schools, 155-178, I argue that contrary to prevailing opinion, then and now, conditions in church schools were generally not much worse than in the favored zemstvo schools.

65. Gordon, Heroes of Their Own Lives, 177-181. The author argues that the poor (in urban settings) had limited resources to supervise children: “Their very concern with children, limited ability to protect them, created a pressure to punish. Children faced considerable dangers in everyday life and needed to learn protective behavior early on if they were to survive.” The environment was regarded as riddled with traps, and misbehavior exposed children to these traps: “The discipline they sought to instill in their children was not an abstract stylistic preference, or a dangling cultural vestige, but a mode of ensuring their survival.” Gordon also argues that child abuse has often been confused with punishment, a confusion reflecting an imposition of middle class values upon poor people. Although studies show abuse sometimes begins as punishment (with loss of control) there is no established correlation between views on corporal punishment and child abuse and neglect in general. This perspective overlooks, as well, the costs of psychological manipulation, emphasis upon guilt, withholding of affection, and frustrating of impulses more characteristic of middle class child rearing practices; see Jonas Frykman and Lofgren, Orvar, Culture Builders: A Historical Anthropology of Middle Class Life, trans. Crozier, Alan (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1987), 221264 .

66. See, for example, Hanawalt, Barbara, The Ties That Bound: Peasant Families in Medieval England (New York: Oxford University Press, 1986), 186 ; on Sweden see Frykman, and Lofgren, , Culture Builders, 106118 .

67. Frykman, and Lofgren, , Culture Builders, 278nl4 , and Lofgren, Orvar, “Family and Household among Scandinavian Peasants: An Exploratory Essay,” Ethnologia Scandinavica 1974, 1752 ; Lofgren, Orvar, “Historical Perspectives on Scandinavian Peasantries,” Annual Review of Anthropology 9 (1980): 187215 .

68. From another perspective, corporal punishment continues to be practiced in “the overwhelming majority” of homes in the United States today; the younger the parent, the more likely he or she is to practice it (Gordon, Heroes of Their Own Lives, 181).

69. Bowles, Samuel and Gintis, Herbert, Schooling in Capitalist America: Educational Reform and the Contradictions of Economic Life (New York: Basic Books, 1976) 169171 .

70. Hoch, Czap, and Worobec have shown that men seldom became heads of households before age 40; if they left the school with heads stuffed with new ideas and belief, by then their enthusiasm to change the world may have been dampened. As François Furet has shown in the case of France, schools, by providing a door for the talented and energetic to the outside world, and thus depriving the village of “potential modern-izers,” often reinforced the closed nature of village culture, “helping to trap the community in its tradition” (François Furet and Ozouf, Jacques, Reading and Writing: Literacy in France from Calvin to Jules Ferry [trans, from the French: Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982], 322). Moreover, the village seemed capable of exerting a powerful influence over schools, by driving out unwanted teachers and by withdrawing pupils after the rudiments had been mastered (Eklof, Russian Peasant Schools: chaps. 9, 11).

Worlds in Conflict: Patriarchal Authority, Discipline and the Russian School, 1861–1914

  • Ben Eklof (a1)


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