Rural Universes: A Sociological Reconstruction

Rural Universes:
A Sociological Reconstruction

Vinogradsky V.G.

Dr. Sci. (Philos.), Leading Researcher, Center for Agrarian Studies, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration. Moscow, Russia

ID of the Article:

The publication was prepared within the framework of the RFBR­supported scientific project No. 18­011­00029.

For citation:

Vinogradsky V.G. Rural Universes: A Sociological Reconstruction. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2019. No 5. P. 3-13


This article is an attempt to introduce into the scientific sociological dictionary a conceptual connective «rural universe». The author proves that this concept is not synonymous with the denotation «mir», which a hundred years ago meant the Russian peasant community. «Rural universe» is not reduced to the elementary list of material­substantial elements of rural mode of life. «Rural universe», according to the author, is a form of a certain civilization, which always had its own existential foundations in Russia. Based on the philosophical heritage of Martin Heidegger, the author interprets the world as a special mood, which strikes the general tonality of peasant being. The author analyzes this concept and concludes that «rural universe» can’t be reduced either to the world of humdrum, or to the life world, or to a set of identities, or to a particular type of mentality, but is to a certain extent a self­sufficient, relatively independent entity. This approach is argued for in this article with a variety of historiographical and sociological material. «Rural universe» is presented mainly as a supra­personal, supra­individual construct. A separate story of the article is devoted to the analysis of the rural world of the collective­farm era. The mood of the rural universe of the collective­farm era is characterized by a revitalization, ostentatious vivacity, a kind of «loud silence». It was this rural world that became the arena of the coming shadow activity, of the increased blat, of large and small thievery. The article is also of interest as a detailed citation of oral family histories recorded during field sociological studies of peasant Russia.

community; rural universe; social and economic practices; the universe as a sum of things; the universe as a mood of harmony; a village as the universe; oral histories; rural humdrum; the evolution of rural universes


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Content No 5, 2019