Towards the Panopticon: School Building and Discipline in Early Modern Russia

Posted: 22 Feb 2016 Last revised: 21 Mar 2016

See all articles by Igor Fedyukin

Igor Fedyukin

National Research University Higher School of Economics

Date Written: February 20, 2016

Abstract

This article explores the notion of discipline in Russia since the late 17th century and up to the accession of Catherine II. Discipline and disciplining occupy a central place in our thinking about early modern state, and the reconstruction of debates about school building helps to illuminate the ways in which this notion has been articulated. The article traces the emerging concern with using the school building as an instrument of confinement and surveillance, and demonstrates unexpected links between the Noble Cadet Corps in St Petersburg and Bentham's 'Panopticn' via the Ecole Militaire in Paris. It argues that the peculiarly modern understanding of discipline was rooted in specific religious sensibilities that had not been developed in seventeenth-century Orthodox thinking. Rather, it stresses the central role of Pietism and the Pietists in introducing these notions in post-Petrine Russia, as well as the ways in which these notions have been appropriated, 'domesticated,' and 'secularized' by a variety of Russian palters. At the end, the article reflects on the relationship between discipline, religious sensibilities, was, and the estate in a non-Western early modern context.

Keywords: Russia, Peter I, Schools, Discipline, Pietism, Noble Cadet Corps, Panopticon, Surveillance

JEL Classification: Z

Suggested Citation

Fedyukin, Igor, Towards the Panopticon: School Building and Discipline in Early Modern Russia (February 20, 2016). Higher School of Economics Research Paper No. WP BRP 123/HUM/2016. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2735303 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2735303

Igor Fedyukin (Contact Author)

National Research University Higher School of Economics ( email )

Myasnitskaya street, 20
Moscow, Moscow 119017
Russia

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