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Social Stratification

  • George C. Guins

Abstract

In the Russian Empire at the beginning of the twentieth century, there were legal classes (estates) based on historical divisions of society. Membership in these classes was determined by law. There were not only hereditary nobles, but also hereditary peasants, merchants, and burghers; and their children remained in the classes to which they belonged until such time as they acquired another status. There were also social classes whose existence is especially emphasized by Marxist doctrine, classes directly concerned with private property as the means of production, classes of capitalists, landowners, workers and peasants.

Keywords

Civil Code Social Stratum Ruling Group Class Division Special Privilege 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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References

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    Arts. 1, 2, 6 of the Decree of November 10, 1917 on the Abolition of Classes and Civil Ranks.Google Scholar
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    Section II of the Declaration. Quotation taken from the collection of the early Soviet legislation issued under the title Decrees and Constitution of Soviet Russia, reprinted in The Nation, 1918–1919. pp. 32–33.Google Scholar
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  28. This tremendous difference in salaries reflects not only in nutrition, education, efficiency of work, but also in customs and manners. ‘One met important officials powdered and perfumed like demi-mondaine.The men of G.P.U. kissed the hands of their womenfolk,’ wrote a revolted member of the Comintern, Anton Ciliga in The Russian Enigma (London: George Routlege & Sons, Ltd., 1940), p. 48.Google Scholar
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  37. Bureaucratism is not rarely a target of the attacks in the Soviet papers and official speeches. See, for example, Malenkov’s report to the XlXth Congress (Pravda, Oct. 6–7, 1952) and a September issue of Krokodil devoted to the Soviet bureaucratism in connection with the subsequent session of the Congress.Google Scholar
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  39. are only in workers and 17 rank-and-file farmers, all other members belong to the administration (823) and Soviet intelligentsia (about 250) of the higher ranks, engineers, academicians, professors, writers, artists, etc.Google Scholar
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    The economic differentiation is not denied even by Yugov (see above note 16). Moreover, he repeated in 1943, as in 1936, (Sotsialisticheskii Vestnik, 1936, No. 12), that ‘this economic differentiation can lead to the formation of a dominant class unless some counter-acting factors stopit.’ There are, however, no such counteracting factors in sight.Google Scholar
  41. As Alex Inkeles states (‘Social Stratification and Mobility in the Soviet Union: 1940–1950,’ American Sociological Review, Vol. XV, No. 4, Aug. 1950), ‘... it still seems justified to conclude that the fee system and the labor draft act to a significant degree to restrict the mobility of some and to facilitate maintenance of the status of others.’ ‘... movement from the status of worker to high managerial position within the same generation ... is now becoming less usual whereas it was commonplace, if not standard practice, in the earlier period.’ (pp. 474, 477). ‘The social classes which are currently most highly rewarded in income, status and power are precisely those social groups on which the present regime relies most heavily as its basis of social support.’ (479). See also Barr. Moore, op. cit.: ‘... different habits of speech, manners, and dress are built up and transmitted from one generation to the next. In addition, the tendency for families of similar social station to live near each other in the same community leads to the choice of marriage partners from families with approximately the same background. All of these forces are at work in the Soviet Union, and it is a safe prediction that they will eventually result in the emergence of a class system resembling in many ways that in the United States excluding the South.’ (p. 245–46).Google Scholar
  42. 36.
    Art. 121 of the Constitution was correspondingly amended in 1947.Google Scholar
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    There is no accurate data about the percentage of students having fellowships. These data are not significant anyway. Distribution of fellowships depends upon the needs of the state, and not on the rights of individuals. The administration can increase and decrease the number of fellowships in proportion to the practical needs in technical personnel.Google Scholar
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    S. M. Schwarz was probably the first who has elucidated the social significance of the reforms in the field of education; see his articles in the Social Research (above note 29) and in the Sotsialisticheskii Vestnik, January 5, 1943. Yugov opposed him in the Novyi Put, Dec. 1942, and February, 1943. E. Koutaissoff, ‘Soviet education and the new man’ (Soviet Studies, Oct. 1953) is not very optimistic as regards the next future.Google Scholar
  45. 39.
    ‘... class frontiers in Soviet society, which were at first relatively open and elastic, have closed themselves with bewildering speed.’ ‘... there are three ways in which privileges are handed down: by inheritance, by the monopoly of education, and by patronage.’ ‘... the bureaucrats of tomorrow will be preponderantly the children of bureaucrats, and the whole policy of ruling class is slanted in this direction. It is becoming the rule more and more that the son of a worker becomes a worker, while the son of a bureaucrat, or at most, of some one belonging to the middle stratum, becomes a bureaucrat.’ Peter Meyer, op. cit., pp. 498, 499.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Martinus Nijhoff, The Hague, Netherlands 1954

Authors and Affiliations

  • George C. Guins

There are no affiliations available

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