The genesis of the term "intelligentsia" within historical dimension




intelligentsia, intelligence, intellectuals, "educated class", intelligentsia of Russian Empire, Soviet intelligentsia


The article deals with the genesis of the term "intelligentsia" within historical dimension, consideration of basic approaches and interpretation of this concept. The origins of the definition as well as its content in diverse historical periods are considered on the basis of a number of sources. The basic issues of contemporary discussion concerning an interpretation of the intelligentsia concept within the sphere of Ukrainian science and media are distinguished.

The analysis of genesis and transformation of content of the intelligentsia definition within historical dimension allows to make such conclusions.

Firstly, a lack of clear and approved theory concerning the origins of intelligentsia concept has caused further mythologization of the latter. Eventually, some theses about history of the definition have become more popular and have complicated the view of a full picture. In particular, it applies to attribution of the authorship of this term to P. Boborykin and simultaneous disregard of evidences for a "Polish trace" in genesis of the term.

Secondly, a view of content of the definition is deeply subjective in the contexts of personal perception and particular historical period. It makes a formulation of universal definition impossible. This circumstance causes the need for consideration of intelligentsia phenomenon within certain chronological or even geographical boundaries. A perception of the intelligentsia definition can became thereby a source for study of history of some period, country or nation.

Finally, the author discerns such issues concerning an interpretation of the intelligentsia concept. The first issue deals with universality/specificity of the term (is intelligentsia a local phenomenon of Eastern Europe (within Russian Empire, USSR and countries that were in their sphere of influence), or it has a wider application?). The second one is the content of the concept in Russian Empire and USSR. The third issue concerns the relation of concepts "intelligentsia" and "the intellectuals".

These circumstances make it difficult to study the topic, while actualizing the need for further balanced scientific research in this field.

Author Biography

Oleksandra Rodyhina, Vasyl' Stus Donetsk National University, Vinnytsia

Post-graduate student


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How to Cite

Rodyhina, O. (2017). The genesis of the term "intelligentsia" within historical dimension. Skhid, (3(149), 48–52.