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Succession or subversion : professional strategies of Soviet cultural revolution : the case of Nikolai Marr.

Reznik, V. (2007) 'Succession or subversion : professional strategies of Soviet cultural revolution : the case of Nikolai Marr.', Slavonica., 13 (2). pp. 150-167.


Nikolai Marr's controversial New Teaching on Language was officially recognized as Marxism in Soviet linguistics and gained the position of the dominant scientific authority and social power in the early 1930s. Although the phenomenon of Marrism is frequently analysed from different points of view, its sociological dimension remains under-researched. Specifically, it is the role of the institutional environment and social dynamics within the discipline of linguistics that deserves particular attention. Making use of Pierre Bourdieu's theory of the scientific field and professional strategies, this paper examines the ascent of Marr's doctrine with regard to the institutional incentives and bureaucratic mechanisms employed for its promotion. Taking into account Marr's social and professional status, the article examines the ideological struggle in Soviet linguistics between Marrists and their opponents in the late 1920s and early 1930s, and argues that the succession and subversion strategies employed by the younger practitioners in the scientific field played a significant role in determining its outcome and securing the intellectual and social victory of Marrism, facilitated by the general socio-political atmosphere of Soviet Cultural Revolution.

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Record Created:08 Apr 2009
Last Modified:19 Dec 2017 14:34

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