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  • The Place of Woman in the Court Society of the Russian Empire in the First Half of the 19th Century: Gender Aspect

Student
Title
Supervisor
Faculty
Educational Programme
Final Grade
Year of Graduation
Mariia Dolgova
The Place of Woman in the Court Society of the Russian Empire in the First Half of the 19th Century: Gender Aspect
History
(Bachelor’s programme)
2019
One of the important social systems in the imperial discourse is the court society, as a group of people close to the ruler, to power. The court society is a space for the representation of the semiotics of the monarch's power, as well as for the study of the structure of the bureaucracy, of which court officials, mostly male, are part. The court society, unlike the bureaucracy, which performs the executive function of power, turns out to be a less tangible, more symbolic space of power of the emperor, where both men and women played their role.

This work focuses on the female part of the court society, namely on the example of service at the court of unmarried young noblewomen (ladies-in-waiting) to the imperial family in the first half of the 19th century. This is a special and rather new topic for researching not only the history of the court society, the emperor's closest circle, but also for studying the history of women in Russia, their role in the secular traditional society of the empire, their particular position in relation to men, how women were perceived in society at the court of the ruler and how they perceived themselves in this society. The purpose of the study is to establish the position of the ladies-in-waiting in the space of the imperial court in the first half of the 19th century, the definition of gender differences court service, the status of ladies-in-waiting. In this work, the general structure of the court society, both male and female, is considered. Furthermore, the ways of professionalizing the service at the court are examined through training future ladies-in-waiting at the Institutes of noble maidens (the example of the Smolny Institute in St. Petersburg), creating a community united by one activity, economic relations between the ladies-in-waiting and the Ministry of the Imperial Court. In addition, the study revealed gender status of an unmarried girl at the court, how they were perceived in this space, close to the monarch and how they aware themselves at the court of the Russian emperor in the first half of the 19th century. The major research methods are the system method and interdisciplinary approach. The first method allows researching the female structure of court society as a system, parts of which communicate with each other and with external factors. The second approach, it is gender approach, shows which gender stereotypes about a woman were formed in a court society, and what identification, self-determination of the ladies-in-waiting in the structure of the Russian imperial court.

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