UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London, 7th Annual International Postgraduate Conference
Friday 17 February 12:00 – 1:30: Panel E2: Economic and Political Development in Central and Eastern European Countries
Johan Eellend (Stockholm University): ‘A citizen evolved from the soil’
I will propose a presentation about the concept of the citizen, as the Estonian agrarian movement in the late 19th and early 20th century formulated it. In my presentation I will try to make a link the to the simultaneous formulation of an agrarianist ideology, and its shaping of an ideal citizen, and there by also to the perspectives of inclusion and exclusion by gender and ethnicity.
By focusing on the agrarian sector I intend to give a perspective different from that of the intellectuals and national elites, who were formulating the program of the national movement. A study of the ideas of the agrarian movement will also be of interest, as the main agrarian parties in Estonia, in the interwar period, evolved form that movement, and as the authoritarian regime after 1934 was based on these parties and the ideas formulated by the agrarian movement.
The concept of the citizen will be defined in accordance with the ideas of Rut Lister, and will there for concentrate not only on the ideas but also on the political practises.
The main sources for my presentation will be Estonian and German language agrarian journals from the Baltic area. These journals, which reached a broad readership in the countryside, were closely related to the main agricultural and cooperative movements at the time and expressed their ideas. Besides that I intend to use the protocols of the national agrarian meetings in 1899, 1905 and 1912. With that I hope to be able to compare the normative statements of the journals with the practises of the meetings.
One of the main ideas promoted in the journals and at the meetings was a modernisation of the agriculture. The object for this modernisation was always the independent family-farm where those who owned it tilled the soil. However, studying this program for modernisation it becomes clear that the modernisation was aimed at certain groups in the society, and that it thereby excluded and included different groups in its vision of the future