Social Networks of Radical Literature Readers: The Case of Arkhangelsk Theologic...

Social Networks of Radical Literature Readers: The Case of Arkhangelsk Theological Seminary, 1870–1872

Yuliya A. Safronova
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The article analyzes the initial stage of the development of the revolutionary Narodnik movement through the reading practices of the 1870s generation. The author addresses an issue of the student network in Arkhangelsk Theological Seminary, which existed in the early 1870s, considering it as a typical case of a reading community in a secondary educational institution. The article shows the connection between radicalization of seminarians and reform of ecclesiastical education in 1867. It also reveals contacts of ecclesiastical students with political exiles, whose presence in Arkhangelsk makes the analyzed case more complex.
The relationships of community members, which are reconstructed on the basis of correspondence between seminarians and graduates as well as materials from pedagogical board meetings, are examined by means of Gephi, a social network analysis tool. The author shows isolation of the network under analysis within the clergy estate. In the provincial city, the main counterparties of the seminarians were teachers and students of theological schools rather than their like-minded fellows from secular educational institutions. Within the seminary, the network under analysis is characterized by weak connections. Although students from all grades showed interest in radical literature, the network members maintained relationships within a small group whose members had a significant age difference. At the same time, students of the same year could not know about common interests and speak contemptuously about their classmates.
The author comes to the conclusion that admission to a higher educational institution, which was the main goal of the analyzed group, did not necessarily lead to further involvement in the revolutionary movement. Interest in radical literature in secondary school did not automatically determine the life trajectories of the 1870s generation representatives.
Yuliya A. Safronova
Candidate of Historical Sciences, Associate Professor
European University at St Petersburg, St Petersburg, Russia
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political protest, social networks, revolutionary the Narodnik movement, theological seminary, reading practices
For citation:
Safronova, Yu.A. “Social Networks of Radical Literature Readers: The Case of Arkhangelsk Theological Seminary, 1870–1872.” Historia Provinciae – the Journal of Regional History, vol. 8, no. 1 (2024): 127–76,

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