Chapter 2 examines the Chikhachevs’ world beyond the boundaries of their estates and the village by exploring their relations with their social peers, through the patronage networks of which they were part, and with the middling or undefined social estates with whom the Chikhachevs most frequently interacted in daily affairs that were both commercial/official and social in nature. This chapter argues that the Chikhachevs’ primary social ties were to a “middling” group of provincial residents composed of gentry, clerics, professionals, officials, and other townspeople, while their membership in the legal noble estate was limited to their need for patronage connections.
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