Judit Pál, Vlad Popovici, Oana Sorescu-Iudean, Elites and Groups in East-Central and South-East Europe in the Long Nineteenth Century. Foreword from the Editors

The introductory chapter examines the convoluted relationship between the concept of “elites” and various manifestations of gregarious social entities (groups, networks), with a special focus on Central and South-East Europe. In these areas, the reconfiguration of elites, and particularly that of political elites during late modernity, seems to have occurred at a more leisurely pace owing to various factors. This shift also involved a high level of preservation, or at least the sublimation of numerous traditional constitutive elements of elite makeup, such as social-professional groups, cultural models, or prestige markers. While kinship ties also frequently played an unassailable part in the process of group formation, despite their obvious weight, they were likely never a causal factor in the crystallization of social entities.

Sabine Jesner, Recruiting and Networking strategies: The Functional Elite in the Banat of Temeswar (1716–1751/53)

The chapter sheds light on the connections between the recruiting and networking strategies of a functional elite in the Banat of Temeswar, which became a Habsburg crown and chamber demesne in 1718. The change of rule was accompanied by the recruitment of proficient officials, who were able to manage the former Ottoman province according to the ideas of the sovereign in Vienna. This relatively understudied cluster of civil and military professionals is analyzed from several vantage points. The study focuses on the familiar and professional relations among the imperial representatives and their influence on future careers in the new province.

Klára Hulíková Tesárková, Martin Klečacký, Alice Velková, The Rise of Administrative Elites. The Influence of Social Background and Nationality on Attaining the Position of District Captain in Bohemia in 1875 and 1910

The chapter focuses on civil servants in the position of heads of district authorities, called district captains (Bezirkshauptmann) who held their office in Bohemia in 1875 and 1910. Its aim is to compare individuals from both cohorts and verify whether their social background (both their father’s and father-in-law’s social position) or nationality significantly affected their professional career, assessing whether these factors influenced the age at which a person attained the post of district captain. The findings show that the position of district captain lost its exclusivity after 1900 and became open to the people coming from the lower social strata, especially in the case of Czech-speaking officials.

Szilárd Ferenczi, A Deep Web in a Narrow World. The Multi-Positional Elite of Kolozsvár / Cluj (1890–1918)

The concept of multi-positional elites is a relatively recent development in historical elite research, vigorously gaining ground in Hungarian historiography, originating in economic historian György Lengyel’s approach to Hungarian elites from the interwar period, from where it began to be disseminated in studies of social history focusing on this region. The chapter identifies the multi-positional members inside the local governing elite of the Transylvanian city Kolozsvár/Cluj between 1890 and 1918. Using a set of quantitative and qualitative criteria, the study identifies and analyzes the individuals in the ranks of the city leadership, who boasted the most prolific and longstanding political activity and simultaneously managed to stack up other influential positions, having interconnected interests locally.

Irena Selišnik, Ana Cergol Paradiž, Elites in Ljubljana and Marriage Patterns

This study explores marriage strategies among members of Ljubljana elites at the turn of the century. It addresses the question as to whether national homogamy prevailed over social homogamy in the final decades of the nineteenth century, or whether social homogamy still primarily influenced marriage patterns in the ethnically mixed town of Ljubljana. It also inquires whether it was possible to trace any correlation between large bride/groom age differences and social exogamy. Moreover, it examines the influence of public discourse as well as feminist and nationalist activism on marriage patterns, drawing the conclusion that marriages among the elites in Ljubljana at the turn of the century did not solely rely on random choice or romantic feelings. Instead, marriage choices were at least to some extent influenced by different instrumental or ideological considerations.

Aleksandra Vuletić, Marital Links and Social Networks in Nineteenth Century Serbia

This chapter examines the role of marital links during the process of social stratification in nineteenth century Serbia. It focuses on marital strategies and the ways in which these adapted to social changes. It also briefly touches upon the role of marital links in peasant society, then examining their role in the process of social stratification that unfolded in urban settlements. The author analyzes the establishment of marital ties within professional groups (socially endogamous marriages), going on to focus on marriages between upper-class members of different professional groups as well as marital links as a part of a more complex interplay of social links.

Anita Berecz, Voters and the Elected: The Kinship Ties of Local Council Members in Eger (1848–1914)

The purpose of this chapter is to examine manifestations of kinship ties in local politics in Eger in the second half of the nineteenth century. Because family relationships affected politics and decision-making processes, it is important to examine whether kinship was a factor influencing local politics. The study focuses primarily on the extent of continuity in political representation, arguing that the changes, or the lack of changes, in the makeup of the city council played a relevant role in the shift from the old to new elite.

Judit Pál, Vlad Popovici, Family Relations and Parliamentary Elections in Transylvania and Eastern Hungary (1867–1918)

The chapter focuses on the role played by family relations in bequeathing or inheriting political capital, based on a sample amounting to ca. 20 per cent of the total number of Hungarian lower chamber deputies from Transylvania and Eastern Hungary between 1867 and 1918, covering representatives of three generations tied by first degree blood lines. Following the analysis of social status, family political tradition, profession and landed properties, the conclusions underline the enhanced role of family tradition in initiating and supporting a political career, as well as its limitations: family clusters needed to connect further to county-level political decision hubs in order to successfully secure a parliamentary seat for their members.

Jonathan Kwan, The Formation of the “Constitutional Party” in Austria, 1861–1867

This chapter investigates the gradual formation of the Constitutional Party as it became the governing and dominant party in the crucial year of 1867. It follows a roughly chronological framework, beginning in 1861 with the elections to permanent representative bodies. At the outset the liberals were regionalized, divided and fluid. Political practices evolved, including unsuccessful attempts to formalize parties in opposition against the government. The suspension of the constitution in September 1865 presented the liberals with a unifying issue (“defense of the constitution”), while acceptance of dualism in 1867 allowed the liberals into government. The chapter also discusses possible comparative aspects between Austrian and British political developments.

Oliver Panichi, The Serb-Catholic Group in Austrian Dubrovnik (1840s–1900s): How a Supra-Religious Identity Failed

How did Catholicism become the distinctive mark of Croatian national identity? This chapter approaches the topic by discussing the origin and the development of the Serb Catholic idea, which characterized an elite group based mainly in Dubrovnik, originating in the 1840s in the milieu of Southern Slavic solidarity, inside and outside the Austrian territories. From the 1880s onwards, an increasingly sharp contrast emerged between this idea and the Croatian national movement in Dalmatia. Two different ways of feeling Catholic were at work, joined by other factors, such as the direction that Croatian nationalism was taking. The Serb Catholic history, far from being an exclusively local issue, also offers insights for a broader analysis of center-periphery relations in the Catholic world, thanks to Vatican and Dubrovnik diocesan documentations.

Dobrinka Parusheva, The Power of Networks in Bulgarian Politics, Late-Nineteenth and Early-Twentieth Century

This chapter seeks to present some of the ties within the web of the Bulgarian political elite in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Attention is paid mainly to the non-political networks of the elite, all these behind-the-scenes webs which have been neglected. The author addresses, on the one hand, “tradition,” e.g., family webs or patron-client relationships, and, on the other hand, networks based on friendships in student years and business contacts, which we can read through the “modern” lens. The discussed data support the opinion that both types of networks—the political and the informal, non-political, of various types—additionally strengthen or amplify each other.

Svetlana Suveica, In Paris, Geneva and Elsewhere: A Transnational Bessarabian-Russian Network after World War I (1919)

During the 1919 Paris Peace Conference, former Bessarabian and Russian imperial elite representatives launched the political initiative to persuade the decision-makers and the European public of the wrongful attachment of the former Russian gubernia of Bessarabia to Romania in 1918. The idea of holding a plebiscite in Bessarabia that would supposedly clarify the region’s status in Russia’s favor served the broader goal of restoring (Greater) Russia–either as a federative republic or under a monarch–and the region’s return under its protection. In Paris and other European capitals, the political émigrés exchanged information and produced memoranda and protests on the Russian character of the region, on the one side, and the Romanian “oppressive” politic in Bessarabia and population’s rejection of the new regime, on the other. The network supporting the “Bessarabian cause” was short-lived, and its activity made little difference for the conference’s decision on Bessarabia, which was recognized as part of Romania in 1920. Nevertheless, its activity played a crucial role in boosting morale and shaping the identity of the émigrés and the Bessarabian society during the interwar period.

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