Internal Migration During Modernization in Late Nineteenth-Century Russia

Internal Migration During Modernization in Late Nineteenth-Century Russia

by Barbara A. Anderson


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To understand why people migrate during periods of modernization, Barbara Anderson contends that one must study the place of origin, since the persons at the origin are the potential migrant population. Using data from the 1897 Imperial Russian Census, the author examines two types of migration: that to an already settled, relatively modern area, such as the major cities; and that to a sparsely populated, relatively traditional area, such as the agricultural frontier.

Originally published in 1980.

The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback and hardcover editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780691615691
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication date: 07/14/2014
Series: Princeton Legacy Library , #843
Pages: 250
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.60(d)

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Internal Migration During Modernization in Late Nineteenth-Century Russia

By Barbara A. Anderson


Copyright © 1980 Princeton University Press
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-691-09386-4



The Problem

Many researchers have contended that internal migration during a country's period of industrialization is primarily a response to better opportunities at the destination when these opportunities are compared to those at the origin of migration. This study contends that a person's attitudes may be just as important and often are more important in determining his migration status and choice of destination. In a society where modern attitudes such as willingness to work in industry and to move to unfamiliar places are not distributed uniformly, persons with more modern attitudes may be more willing to migrate than others, even though persons with less modern attitudes might experience a greater increase in expected income or standard of living through migration. This study concentrates on those characteristics of man's geographical origins that shape both the environment which influences the potential migrant's decision whether to migrate and his choice of destination.

The proposed model considers two basic types of migration during modernization. These types are differentiated by the nature of the destination. The first type is migration to a destination in an already settled, relatively modern area. This kind of migration, associated with industrialization and urbanization, often responds to urban industrial opportunities. The second type is migration to a destination in a frontier area where the land was previously sparsely populated. Migration to such a frontier destination is often precipitated by disadvantageous conditions at the origin.

The two types of destinations are expected to be differentially attractive to persons according to their socialization. Migration within a settled area should appeal to persons from environments that would lead them to have relatively modern attitudes. Such places would have a relatively high literacy rate, a high degree of modernization of industry, and a low birth rate. Traditional agriculture would be relatively unimportant. Migrants choosing a destination within a settled area, especially one of the most highly developed destinations, would be moving as much due to a recognition of opportunities elsewhere and a positive attitude toward risk taking involved in migration as to the objective chance of economic gain brought about by migration.

Migration to a frontier, on the other hand, should appeal to persons who want to pursue a traditional agricultural type of life in a setting similar to that at their origin but in a location where land and personal freedom would be more readily available. Such persons would not be eager to accept all aspects of modern life. Their move would be motivated by population pressure at their origin to a greater extent than would be the case for migrants within a settled area. Migrants choosing a frontier destination would generally come from places with a relatively low literacy rate and a low degree of modernization of industry, where traditional agriculture was virtually the only means of support.

This research tests the model for persons born in European Russia who lived in the Russian Empire in the last half of the nineteenth century. European Russia at that time was a modernizing society, with rapidly growing industry and increasing literacy. Thus this area is an appropriate setting in which to test this model. Migration to either Moscow City or St. Petersburg City provides the major example of migration to a settled modern destination; migration to Asiatic Russia exemplifies migration to an agricultural frontier. Destinations of intermediate modernity between the two great cities and Asiatic Russia are also considered in order to determine the model's accuracy.

Theoretical Basis

This study of social change in modernization requires clarification of the term modernization. Cyril Black defines modernization as "the process by which historically evolved institutions are adapted to the rapidly changing functions that reflect the unprecedented increase in man's knowledge, permitting control over his environment, that accompanied the scientific revolution" (Black 1966: 7). More concisely, it is "a process by which the traditional institutions are adapted to modern functions" (Black 1966: 46). Black's definition stresses the importance of knowledge in a period of rapid change and thus emphasizes a cultural aspect of modernization.

Another aspect of modernization involves industrialization. Marion J. Levy, Jr. (1966: 11) uses an industrial criterion to differentiate relatively modernized from relatively non-modernized societies. In Levy's view, the greater the ratio of inanimate to animate power used, the more modernized the society. Animate sources of power are men and animals, while inanimate sources are primarily machines.

E. A. Wrigley divides modernization explicitly into both cultural and industrial components. The cultural aspect includes an increase in literacy, an increase in the proportion of the population living in urban areas, conscious control of marital fertility, and an expanded world view; the industrial aspect includes an increase in per capita gross national product and the utilization of modern production methods (Wrigley 1969; Bendix 1967: 29). Cultural and industrial modernization usually occur together, although not always in perfect coordination nor in any set order. England was quite industrialized before it experienced a substantial increase in literacy, while the opposite was true for France (Wrigley 1969).

The cultural aspect of modernization is closely related to psychological changes during modernization. In a stable, relatively unchanging society, adherence to traditional ways of doing things is likely to lead to success. Such adherence to established methods is especially typical of agricultural life, where vagaries of weather encourage a conservative mode of operation (Redfield and Rojas 1962). When declining mortality causes population increase but there is little or no technological improvement in agricultural technique, a common response is intensification of agriculture through long-known methods. Clifford Geertz (1963) and Ester Boserup (1970) have pointed out that this was clearly observable in parts of Indonesia. They argue that once intensification occurs, requiring more man-hours of labor per unit of yield, the social structure changes in such a way that it becomes increasingly resistant to modern, innovative change. In this manner, the relative importance of intensive, traditional agriculture among various areas may affect the ability of persons from different areas to respond positively to the kinds of changes that occur during the modernization of their society.

In a premodern society, a person interacts primarily with members of his family and others he has known throughout his life. These premodern interaction patterns differ substantially from those common in a modernizing society. Modernization increases the degree of dependence on and the frequency of interaction with strangers and other persons whom one sees only in a limited range of contexts. This change in the nature of interpersonal contacts requires a major adjustment that may be stressful for the individual (Simmel 1960: 437-448; Levy 1972: 56-59). Regardless of a person's sex or occupation, a willingness to take risks is generally more important in a society in which economic conditions are changing rapidly than in a more stable society (Lewis 1955: 42-44).

Alex Inkeles and David Smith (1974) have amassed impressive evidence for the existence of a modern personality. The modern person is more willing to take risks and to consult with others in making decisions, and he has a broader world view than the less modern man. In their study, they found the more modern person also exhibited fewer psychosomatic symptoms than his less modern counterpart.

Some researchers have questioned whether migrants to major urban areas in developing countries are actually selected from those at the origin for possession of relatively modern characteristics. The presence of kin in urban areas is thought by many to be decisive in the decision to move to a city (Flinn and Converse 1970; Kemper 1971), and many migrant neighborhoods in cities are characterized as transplanted (and relatively unchanged) peasant villages (Abu-Lughod 1971). However, Peter Chi and Mark Bogan (1974) found evidence that both migrants to Lima and those who expressed a desire to migrate in the future differed substantially in possession of modern attitudes from those who expressed no desire ever to migrate to Peru's major city. They conducted a survey of residents of four villages near Lima and of natives of those villages who had already migrated to the city. Each person in the survey was asked whether he would be willing to migrate to a place where he had no friends or relatives. Comparing males, the migrants were more often willing to do this than were those who remained in the villages (66 percent versus 35 percent). When those who remained in the villages were divided according to whether or not they ever wanted to migrate to Lima, of those who wanted to migrate in the indeterminate future, 51 percent expressed a willingness to migrate to a place where they had no friends or relatives, while only 27 percent of those with no desire to migrate expressed such a willingness. Also 68 percent of the non-migrants who wanted to leave (both sexes combined) expressed a willingness for their children to move away in the future, while only 49 percent of those with no desire to leave expressed such a willingness.

This is a study of one pattern of change in modernization — migration within a society, or internal migration. Patterns of migration often change during a society's modernization: new industrial opportunities as well as changing attitudes toward seeking such opportunities often cause an increase in the volume of migration (Gugler 1969; Eisenstadt 1966: 10-11, 20-21), and there is often a change in the pattern of origins and destinations. William Petersen (1958) has offered a conceptualization of the transformation of the nature of migration during modernization as "pioneering" to "mass." According to this conception, the most adventurous persons are the first to migrate, while later, after migration has become more common, migration is less selective of persons with advanced skills or adventuresome attitudes.

There is an ongoing debate concerning whether or under what conditions migrants become more conservative or more adventuresome. Goldstein (1971) found evidence that in Thailand recent migrants to major cities had lower fertility rates than did longer duration migrants to such cities, while for major cities in the Philippines, Hendershot (1971) interpreted his evidence as supporting the opposite pattern. Thus in terms of fertility behavior, Goldstein's evidence suggests that the selection of migrants changes from (somewhat) "mass" to "pioneering," while Hendershot's evidence suggests a development from "pioneering" to "mass."

Many persons who have studied internal migration in currently developing countries have viewed potential migrants as rational men who decide whether to migrate and thus choose a destination after determining (even if subconsciously) which behavior would maximize expected income or effect the greatest increase in one's standard of living (Todaro 1969: 138-148; Harris and Todaro 1970; Jorgenson 1961: 309-334). William Leasure and Robert A. Lewis (1968) assumed that such a mechanism determined migration in their interesting study of migration in Russia.

The expectation that objectively assessed economic gain is the primary cause of migration is related to the common assumption that the major factor motivating migration from rural areas is "population pressure" (Simmons, Diaz-Briquets, and Laquian 1977: 53). Geroid Robinson (1969: 106-111) assumed that migration to industrial centers for wage work in late nineteenth-century European Russia was primarily the result of impoverished peasants being forced off the land by intolerable crowding and increasing poverty. In his generally excellent study of urban growth in nineteenth-century Russia, Thomas Fedor (1975) also subscribes to this view.

Any person may compare his likely fate in his present place of residence and at various possible destinations in order to decide whether to migrate and which destination to choose. However, such a rational calculation is only possible within the limits of the opportunities already known to the person and under the circumstances that the person would consider migration a realistic possibility. Simmons, Diaz-Briquets, and Laquian (1977: 25) point out that, although there is little empirical evidence, most researchers have assumed that even those migrants who actually move to a city often have a very inaccurate view of actual labor market conditions at their destination. If this is the case, it casts doubt on the accuracy with which such individual calculations could be made.

There has been a similar debate about the extent to which economic factors motivate persons to voluntarily control marital fertility. In a study of Haiti, Stycos (1968: 116-132) amassed a great deal of evidence showing that not only was the decision whether to attempt family planning not made as a result of the calculation of relative economic advantage but that the vast majority of the population did not even perceive any relationship between the number of children a family had and the family's economic well-being. Many studies of the adoption of family planning have shown that the first persons to adopt such strategies are usually those who are relatively well-off economically and would not be likely to experience as proportionately great a saving from reducing their fertility as would poorer families (Wrigley 1969: 185-202; Davtyan 1966; Sinha 1957).

Thus, in a society where persons differ greatly in their knowledge of opportunities and their willingness to take advantage of such opportunities, a model that is based on the chance of economic improvement as assessed by an outside investigator is not likely to work well. If persons within a society share a strong common value system, including possessing similar attitudes toward risk taking (Parsons 1953), then a rational economic model might perform well in the aggregate. However, a premise of this study is that there may be considerable differences in attitudes and perceptions. Such differences are expected to be related to differences among geographical areas that might affect the nature of the socialization of persons from those places.

Many studies of migration in currently developing countries have assumed that differences among origins are unimportant and thus have not considered them (Sabagh 1973). This neglect of origins has been partially due to the difficulty of obtaining data about the characteristics of places of origin for all potential migrants to any given destination. Often migrants are surveyed in a major urban center, and it is logistically difficult to obtain information about the population at places of origin. Many studies have been concerned with planning problems, such as the expected growth of an urban area due to migration in the next ten years (Goldstein 1973b). Such an orientation does not immediately encourage research into the process of selection of migrants among possible origins.


Excerpted from Internal Migration During Modernization in Late Nineteenth-Century Russia by Barbara A. Anderson. Copyright © 1980 Princeton University Press. Excerpted by permission of PRINCETON UNIVERSITY PRESS.
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Table of Contents

  • FrontMatter, pg. i
  • Contents, pg. vii
  • List of Tables, pg. xi
  • List of Figures, pg. xvii
  • List of Maps, pg. xix
  • Preface, pg. xxiii
  • Chapter 1, pg. 3
  • Chapter 2, pg. 23
  • Chapter 3, pg. 69
  • Chapter 4, pg. 90
  • Chapter 5, pg. 121
  • Chapter 6, pg. 154
  • Chapter 7, pg. 167
  • Chapter 8, pg. 178
  • Appendix, pg. 195
  • Bibliography, pg. 207
  • Index, pg. 217

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