Development of Class Structure in Eastern Europe: Poland and Her Southern Neighbors

By Aleksander Gella | Go to book overview

7
THE NOBILITY AND THE BOURGEOISIE

Historical information about the other classes and strata of the old society that have since ceased to exist is not of great importance in understanding the present development of the East-European class structure; nonetheless, some general information concerning these less notable classes will fill in our knowledge of bygone societies.

In American sociological writings, there exists a great confusion in the usage of terms concerning the political class of the ancien regime. Some authors use the terms "aristocracy," "nobility," "gentry," and "landlords" interchangeably. We will introduce some order into this terminology and discuss their characteristics and historical role.

First of all, it should be made clear that the nobility was not a class but an estate 1; it belonged to the social order of a time when social position was determined much more by political power and rights than by property. "Nobility" is a term common to all social strata and groups belonging to the old privileged estate. With the development of capitalism, this estate joined with the wealthier members of the bourgeoisie to form the ruling class of modern society.

In discussing the fate of the peasantry as well as sketching the social problems in the history of the four East-European countries, we have already

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Development of Class Structure in Eastern Europe: Poland and Her Southern Neighbors
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Acknowledgements xi
  • Introduction xiii
  • Part One - The Time of Estate Order 1
  • 1 - A General View on the History of Eastern Europe 3
  • 2 - Poland Until World War II 9
  • 3 - Czechoslovakia Until World War II 29
  • 4 - Hungary Until World War II 38
  • 5 - Romania Until World War II 47
  • Part Two: From Estate to Class Order 55
  • 6 - The Peasantry 57
  • 7 - The Nobility and the Bourgeoisie 84
  • 8 - From the Proletariat to the Working Class 109
  • 9 - The Intelligentsia 130
  • Part Three - The Period of Destruction 165
  • 10 - The Effects of World War II on Social Structure 167
  • 11 - Structural Changes Introduced by the Imported Revolutions 194
  • Maps 203
  • Abbreviations 215
  • Notes 217
  • Bibliography 271
  • About the Author 309
  • Name Index 311
  • Subject Index 314
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