SOCIAL CAUSES OF CRIME, ENGLIGHTENMENT PHILOSOPHY, AND MARXISM IN TOLSTOY: THE CASE OF THE NOVEL ?RESURRECTION

Abstract

Author(s): Mehmet Devrim TOPSES

Some obvious traces of the Russian social structure in the 19th century can be found in “Resurrection”, as well as Tolstoy's evaluations on human and social philosophy. These evaluations can be summarized as follows. “Resurrection”, first of all, puts emphasis on the material social foundations of the crime phenomenon and asserts that it is not possible to fight against the crime phenomenon without addressing these foundations. In this regard, Tolstoy supported in advance the Chicago school's theoretical approaches that attach importance to the relationship between crime and environment in the field of criminal sociology. Secondly, the novel discusses the Enlightenment philosophy and the rationalism-based educational process of the broad masses of society in terms of class. According to the author, freeing the oppressed and poor peasants from superstitions and making them able to look at nature and society from a rational perspective are not a development that the dominant classes desire. In contrary, they see this as a threat to the continuation of the existing social order. This is why the dominant classes actually oppose the enlightenment process and rational education. The points made by Tolstoy in this regards are similar to those by the Turkish socialist-realist writers such as Sabahattin Ali, Fakir Baykurt, Orhan Kemal, and Mahmut Makal. Thirdly, “Resurrection” examines the institutional relations in a social structure with the Marxist methodological approach and, again, in terms of class. According to this consideration, contrary to popular belief, objective of laws is not to secure justice but to consolidate the interests of the dominant classes. For example, in Russia, the thoughts and actions dedicated to reorganizing the social order for the benefit of the lower classes are considered as "political crime" and other ordinary crimes created by the social order as "real crime". In conclusion, it can be asserted that Tolstoy was influenced by the Marxist methodological approach and the humanist and socialist thoughts, and looked at the social structure in Russia at that time through the eyes of the people who lived on labor.

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