Cultural Capital in an Early Modern Elite School: The Noble Cadet Corps in St Petersburg, 1732-1762
Posted: 21 Aug 2014 Last revised: 2 Feb 2019
Date Written: August 20, 2014
This study employs a unique database covering 2,293 cadets who graduated from the Noble Land Cadet Corps in St Petersburg from 1732-1762 to investigate the role of cultural capital in early modern Russia. Our analysis suggests that within this sample cultural capital was negatively correlated with wealth, but positively with father’s rank within the state service. At the corps itself, wealth and social status of families did not directly affect the success of their sons. The only significant factor of success at this school (promotion to a particular rank at graduation) was the family’s access to "Western" education and cultural skills. The results indicate the state was able to create an institutional framework where the possession of new "imported" knowledge and social skills gave the holder a measurable advantage over his peers. This could be considered one of the mechanisms which contributed to the sustainability of the cultural and social regime created by Peter I.
Keywords: cultural capital, nobility, education, early modern state, Peter I, Noble Cadet Corps, Russia
JEL Classification: Z00
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