Socialisms in the Tsarist Borderlands

Poland and Finland in a Contrastive Comparison, 1830—1907

in Contributions to the History of Concepts
Wiktor Marzec Central European University in Budapest

Search for other papers by Wiktor Marzec in
Current site
Google Scholar
Risto Turunen University of Tampere

Search for other papers by Risto Turunen in
Current site
Google Scholar
Restricted access


This article presents a conceptual history of socialism in two Western borderlands of the Russian Empire—namely, the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Finland. A contrastive comparison is used to examine the birth, dissemination, and breakthrough of the concept from its first appearance until the Revolution of 1905. The concept entered Polish political conversation as a self-applied label among émigrés in the 1830s, whereas the opponents of socialism made it famous in Finland in the 1840s in Swedish and in the 1860s in Finnish. When socialism became a mass movement at the turn of the century, socialist parties (re)defined the concept through underground leaflets and brochures in Poland, and through a legal labor press in Finland. In both cases, the Revolution of 1905 meant the final democratization of socialism, attaching more meanings to the concept and making it the most discussed ism of modern politics.

Contributor Notes

Wiktor Marzec holds a PhD in sociology and social anthropology from Central European University in Budapest. He is currently an in-residence fellow at the Centre for Advanced Study Sofia, and from September 2018, he will be a postdoctoral fellow at the National Research University Higher School of Economics. Email:

Risto Turunen is a PhD candidate in the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Tampere. Email:

  • Collapse
  • Expand


All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 1056 587 51
Full Text Views 85 19 1
PDF Downloads 113 33 0