Hot Best Seller

Education and Social Mobility in the Soviet Union 1921-1934

Availability: Ready to download

This is a history of Soviet education policy 1921-34 that places special emphasis upon the theme of social mobility through education. One of the hitherto untold stories of Soviet history is the making of the 'Brezhnev generation', a cohort of young workers and Communists sent to higher education during the First Five-Year Plan (1928-1932) and subsequently catapulted into This is a history of Soviet education policy 1921-34 that places special emphasis upon the theme of social mobility through education. One of the hitherto untold stories of Soviet history is the making of the 'Brezhnev generation', a cohort of young workers and Communists sent to higher education during the First Five-Year Plan (1928-1932) and subsequently catapulted into leadership positions in the wake of the Great Purge of 1937/38. A focal point of this book is the educational policies which not only produced the 'Brezhnev generation', but also linked Stalin's regime with the massive upward mobility of the industrializing 1930s. The book is the first comprehensive history of Soviet education in the 1920s and early 1930s, and provides a sequel to the author's highly praised Commissariat of Enlightenment. In this, as in the earlier study, the author has used Soviet archival sources not previously available to Western scholars.


Compare

This is a history of Soviet education policy 1921-34 that places special emphasis upon the theme of social mobility through education. One of the hitherto untold stories of Soviet history is the making of the 'Brezhnev generation', a cohort of young workers and Communists sent to higher education during the First Five-Year Plan (1928-1932) and subsequently catapulted into This is a history of Soviet education policy 1921-34 that places special emphasis upon the theme of social mobility through education. One of the hitherto untold stories of Soviet history is the making of the 'Brezhnev generation', a cohort of young workers and Communists sent to higher education during the First Five-Year Plan (1928-1932) and subsequently catapulted into leadership positions in the wake of the Great Purge of 1937/38. A focal point of this book is the educational policies which not only produced the 'Brezhnev generation', but also linked Stalin's regime with the massive upward mobility of the industrializing 1930s. The book is the first comprehensive history of Soviet education in the 1920s and early 1930s, and provides a sequel to the author's highly praised Commissariat of Enlightenment. In this, as in the earlier study, the author has used Soviet archival sources not previously available to Western scholars.

35 review for Education and Social Mobility in the Soviet Union 1921-1934

  1. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    Sheila Fitzpatrick’s Education and Social Mobility in the Soviet Union covers the history of educational policy in the Soviet Union from the beginning of the New Economic Program (NEP) era through the mid-1930s. Acknowledging that a prime concern for the Soviets was to take education from the hands of the elites and make it available to everyone, the author highlights the difficulties that the state faced in enacting a practical program for the creation of a proletarian intelligentsia. The tensi Sheila Fitzpatrick’s Education and Social Mobility in the Soviet Union covers the history of educational policy in the Soviet Union from the beginning of the New Economic Program (NEP) era through the mid-1930s. Acknowledging that a prime concern for the Soviets was to take education from the hands of the elites and make it available to everyone, the author highlights the difficulties that the state faced in enacting a practical program for the creation of a proletarian intelligentsia. The tension that is present throughout most of her narrative is between those who believed that traditional bourgeois forms could be appropriated for socialist aims and those who were convinced that the system required a radical transformation and, in particular, a discriminatory program of admissions so that proletariats and peasants could help form the smena or new generation of communist intellectuals. At first the Commissariat of Enlightenment (Nakrompos) undertook a “progressive” model wherein individuals would be taught a basic set of skills that would encourage them to adopt Marxism of their own free will and that classrooms would avoid teaching ideology. The objective was to “put social sciences at the centre of the program, emphasize interdisciplinary ‘synthesis’ and discourage the traditional systematic teaching of the physical sciences”. History, for example, was not conceptualized as the teaching of facts, dates, and theories, but as “a handful of sociological generalizations which were of relevance to [an] understanding of the vital contemporary issues”. Formal subjects were reintroduced in 1927 after many people, including those in the Party, complained that little of value was being taught at the schools because the teachers were not equipped to instruct using this progressive method and Nakrompos offered them little practical guidance. At this juncture Fitzpatrick introduces the two major issues that pervaded the debates concerning educational policy: if and how schools should discriminate to give proletariats and peasants an advantage and how much vocational specialization was appropriate. On these points, Nakrompos decided that it was more important to provide equal opportunity than to favor the proletariats that were backing the state and, although they wanted to abolish apprenticeship and vocational schools in favor of universal general education programs up to the age of 17, the realities of peasants’ life meant that these institutions were both needed and desired. In these stances, however, they were opposed by the Komsomol, who believed that schools should be preparing students for particular vocations, rather than higher education, and that education should discriminate in favor of proletariat admissions. Their objections led to the founding of the rabfaks, which were adult education schools designed with the needs of the proletariat in mind in the hopes of qualifying them for higher education, and eventually they exerted enough pressure for the central government to insist on a vocational element within the general education program as well. The Bolsheviks’ attempts to fill the universities with communist supporters met with limited success, partially due to the inchoate policies surrounding admissions and partially due to a drive to purge the “Trotskyist” element from the student body that left many of the government’s targeted groups reluctant to enter higher education. Meanwhile, despite attempts to replace them with Marxist-oriented educators and accusations that they were “bourgeois” elements, most professors were able to maintain their hold over graduate programs and retain their posts, and they remained an at least somewhat privileged group even though they encountered hardships and obstacles. Even those that were dismissed or deported quickly found employment elsewhere due to the shortage of qualified professors and their patronage networks within the central government. The waning influence of Nakrompos’ liberal-minded leadership became a factor after the 1928 Shakhty conspiracy highlighted the need for more reliable technical personnel. This led to a “massive recruitment of workers and Communists to higher education” and a campaign against the old intelligentsia that highlighted issues surrounding Party connections to the old guard, lowered standards for admissions, and the legality of such moves. Industries blamed Nakrompos’ policies of general education for the low quality of technical knowledge and pressured the government into placing the apprenticeship programs into their own hands so that they could emphasize specialization at the cost of a broader knowledge base. In September 1929 the government appointed a new head of Nakrompos in the figure of Bubanov, who enacted a policy of Cultural Revolution wherein the schools as a whole would focus on vocational education, social discrimination would be open and encouraged, and general education would be pushed aside. This focus on pragmatism and production was predicated on the notion that the “bourgeois” school would fade away and Bubanov transformed education into a series of specialized institutes with strong connections to industry. This had mixed results, with some industries making every effort to keep students off the factory floor and others taking them away from the educational setting entirely. In the rural areas, the Komsomol attempted to transform schools into institutions in the service of the kolhozes, but the nature of the relationship was ill-defined and many of them retained a general education focus. When the Komsomol used its manpower and fund-raising capabilities to enact their intended changes, many of the specialized graduates left the countryside in search of better opportunities in urban environments. At the government level, meanwhile, thousands of working-class adults were pumped into the system as a means of creating a “proletarian intelligentsia” to support the industrialization drive. In less than two years, however, the Cultural Revolution was winding down and support for it was abandoned from all quarters. The Central Committee refocused on production and meeting the goals of the Five-Year Plan and thus joined the industry in seeking the return of the old “bourgeois” engineers who were the only ones competent enough to achieve these aims. The industry disliked the new engineers because they knew little outside of their area of specialization and could barely function in production or tasks such as simple mathematics. The Nakrompos was thus instructed to reintroduce academic standards and social sciences into education while apprenticeship schools returned to vocational training and the rabfak system was dismantled, leaving institutions of higher education to recruit students from secondary schools. This return to “equality” restored the old patterns of education, wherein proletariats and peasants were no longer targeted directly for social mobility through education and individuals of white-collar backgrounds were granted the bulk of the opportunity. Nonetheless, as Fitzpatrick argues, social mobility for the working class was never a lost cause. The brief Cultural Revolution had nearly depleted the reserves of upward-minded individuals seeking opportunities for social mobility, while the increase of white-collar jobs due to the expansion of the bureaucracy meant that many among the proletariat would advance regardless of the intentions of the regime. Similarly, the Great Purges of the mid-1930s opened many spaces for rapid advancement of those who had taken advantage of the period of central government support and the high number of the “new generation” of the communist elite with backgrounds from this era suggests that they were much more likely to survive the purges than the older cadre. Underlying Fitzpatrick’s work is the theme of the agency and strength of society, which was a somewhat radical idea at a time when most scholars were emphasizing the weakness of the people in the face of a powerful state. For the first time, the central government was not an all-powerful, all-demanding dictatorial regime that got what it wanted when it wanted and always had an opinion. In this account, the Nakrompos was free of significant state interference for many years and later regained some power as the Party attempted to negotiate pressures from various institutions, as well as engage interests of their own. Although it is never explicitly addressed, this characteristic is perhaps the defining point of importance in her work because it demonstrated, years prior to the opening of the Soviet archives, that there were sufficient sources to write a “history from below” about the machinations of everyday society and its institutions. Overall, Education and Social Mobility in the Soviet Union is an easily intelligible and detailed resource on Soviet education during the 1920s and early 1930s and while it may be of limited interest to the casual reader, experts and historians will be able to appreciate its historical and historiographical value on multiple levels.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Nerijus Žukauskas

  3. 5 out of 5

    Svetlana Lokhova

  4. 5 out of 5

    Pavel

  5. 4 out of 5

    Gergely

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jesse

  7. 4 out of 5

    Anthony Bigornia

  8. 5 out of 5

    Chey

  9. 4 out of 5

    Minerva

  10. 5 out of 5

    Baris

  11. 5 out of 5

    Liam Elwood

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ebo

  13. 4 out of 5

    libraryfacts

  14. 5 out of 5

    Steven

  15. 5 out of 5

    BookDB

  16. 4 out of 5

    John

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kseniya Melnik

  18. 5 out of 5

    Guruguru

  19. 5 out of 5

    Cibelle Proulx

  20. 4 out of 5

    Greg

  21. 5 out of 5

    Svetlana

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ману

  23. 5 out of 5

    Anna

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sapphire Ng

  25. 4 out of 5

    Alexander Lobov

  26. 5 out of 5

    c j

  27. 4 out of 5

    Brandon Prince

  28. 4 out of 5

    Іван Фацинець

  29. 4 out of 5

    G

  30. 5 out of 5

    Barvinka

  31. 5 out of 5

    Negra Martin

  32. 4 out of 5

    Saitonne

  33. 4 out of 5

    Kingcihan

  34. 4 out of 5

    Kevin

  35. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...