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Negotiating Imperial Rule: Colonists and Marriage in the Nineteenth-century Black Sea Steppe
Södertörn University, School of Historical and Contemporary Studies, History. Södertörn University, Centre for Baltic and East European Studies (CBEES), Baltic & East European Graduate School (BEEGS).ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7624-1597
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

After falling under the power of the Russian Crown, the Northern Black Sea steppe from the end of eighteenth century crystallized as the Russian government’s prime venue for socioeconomic and sociocultural reinvention and colonization. Vast ethnic, sociocultural and even ecological changes followed.  Present study is preoccupied with the marriage of the immigrant population from the German lands who came to the region in the course of its state orchestrated colonization, and was officially categorized as “German colonists.” The book illuminates the multiple ways in which marriage and household formation among the colonists was instrumentalized by the imperial politics in the Northern Black Sea steppe, and conditioned by socioeconomic rationality of its colonization. Marriage formation and dissolution among the colonists were gradually absorbed into the competencies of the colonial vertical power. Intending to control colonist marriage and household formation through the introduced marriage regime, the Russian government and its regional representatives lacked the actual means to exert this control at the local level. On the ground, however, imperial politics was mediated by the people it targeted, and by the functionaries tasked with its implementation. As the study reveals, the paramount importance was given to functional households and sustainable farms based on non-conflictual relations between parties. Situated on the crossroads of state, church, community, and personal interests, colonist marriage engendered clashes between secular and ecclesiastical bodies over the supremacy over it. The interplay of colonization as politics, and colonization as an imperial situation with respect to the marriage of the German colonists is explored in this book by concentrating on both norms and practices. Another important consideration is the ways gender and colonization constructed and determined one another reciprocally, both in legal norms and in actual practices. Secret divorces and unauthorized marriages, open and hidden defiance, imitations and unruliness, refashioning of rituals and discourses, and desertions – a number of strategies and performances which challenged and negotiated the marriage regime in the region, were scholarly examined for the first time in this book. 

Abstract [sv]

År 1804 formulerade tsar Alexander I:s regering nya riktlinjer för rysk migrationspolitik. Invandrare från de krigshärjade tyska länderna skulle värvas till kolonisering av stäppen norr om Svarta havet i en omfattande kampanj orkestrerad av den ryska staten. Dessa nykomlingar, som av myndigheterna kategoriserades som “tyska kolonister,” etablerade kolonier i hela regionen inom ett par årtionden. Boken presenterar den första studien av hur äktenskap och hushållsformering användes som instrument i den ryska koloniseringspolitiken i området, och hur dessa faktorer primärt styrdes av koloniseringens socioekonomiska rationalitet. Stabila hushåll och jordbruk som genererade avkastning eftersträvades in i det längsta. Ibland ledde detta till konflikter mellan den sekulära och den andliga makten om tolkningsföreträde rörande äktenskapets upplösning och ingående. Genom analys av både normer och praxis blottläggs samspelet mellan kolonisering som politik, och kolonisering som en imperiesituation, där äktenskapet och hushållet omförhandlades i skärningspunkten mellan myndigheter, kyrkosamfund, lokalsamhälle och enskilda. Studien visar att den ryska centralmakten och dess regionala representanter saknade verktyg för att utöva den effektiva kontroll som eftersträvades över kolonistäktenskap och hushållsformering på lokal nivå. Denna slutsats stöds genom att ett antal strategier och handlingsmönster som utmanade och bidrog till att omförhandla äktenskapsregimen i regionen identifieras och diskuteras.  

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Huddinge: Södertörns högskola, 2017. , 392 p.
Series
Södertörn Doctoral Dissertations, ISSN 1652-7399 ; 135
Keyword [en]
Colonization, imperialism, imperial borderlands, German colonists, migration, marriage regime, agency, marriage, household formation, Ukraine, Black Sea steppe, Russian empire, nineteenth century
National Category
History and Archaeology
Research subject
Historical Studies; Baltic and East European studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-32469ISBN: 978-91-87843-92-1 (print)ISBN: 978-91-87843-93-8 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:sh-32469DiVA: diva2:1092923
Public defence
2017-06-02, MA 624, Alfred Nobels allé 7, 14189 Huddinge, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
The Foundation for Baltic and East European Studies
Available from: 2017-05-12 Created: 2017-05-04 Last updated: 2017-05-17

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