Cultivating the Rural Citizen : Modernity, Agrarianism and Citizenship in Late Tsarist Estonia

Abstract: This dissertation studies the ideas and political practices produced in the emerging rural public sphere in late Tsarist Estonia. The time period is characterized by radical social and economic change and growing national and political self consciousness. An underlying aim is to study the emergence and character of an agrarian ideology in Estonia, with a special concern paid for ideas on the organization of society.The first section examines the emerging of Estonian language agricultural instruction books and agricultural journals. Studying the content and the advice on modernization and organization of farm work uncovers their underlying ideas on the organization of the rural society. The second section deals with the ideas and ideals presented in the agricultural instructions through the work of local agricultural associations and agricultural cooperatives. Finally the ideals of the agricultural instructions and the practice of the associations are studied on a national level, as expressed at the Agricultural Congresses 1899 and 1905 and the All-Estonian Congress 1905.The study emphasizes the importance of the rural sphere in creating the foundation for the interwar Estonian society and shows significant ideological and organizational similarities between the Estonian agrarian movement and contemporary agrarian movements in Europe.