MOBI 9781907301773 From Deliberation to Demonstration: Political Rallies in France, 1868–1939
by ECPR Press
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This book, at the crossroads of history and political science, reveals the transformation of political rallies in France from the last years of the Second Empire until the end of the Third Republic.
Originally designed by Republicans to teach citizenship and form political opinion through open debate, rallies gradually became a stage dedicated to the show of force, at the initiative of various emerging political formations. This distortion is apparent by the turn of the twentieth century, and became even more marked in the rallies between the two world wars.
Faced with this transformation, the government did not hesitate, in the second half of the 1930s, to invalidate the liberal credo that had endorsed the right of assembly since the installation of the Republic.
French participatory democracy has a history that this book helps to trace.
'Paula Cossart’s book on the invention of political rallies is a major contribution to the history of repertories of political action in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, as well as to the sociology of politicisation and the debates on the political foundations of deliberative democracy. The author demonstrates how, in the last third of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth, the project to transform a crowd into a people depended on a belief in the virtues of the public contradictory meeting. Cossart stresses that ‘demopedic’ fervour faded progressively in a climate of increasing social antagonism. This resulted in the political meeting sliding into a ‘gymnopedic’ frenzy at the end of the 1930s, and the hybridisation of political rallies and street demonstrations.'
Professor of Political Sociology, University of Lausanne (Switzerland) and Senior Researcher at CNRS (Paris Sorbonne)
'Paula Cossart’s remarkable book traces the transformation of a fundamental institution of democratic life, the public meeting, across almost a century. What began as a space for public debate and civic education metamorphosed into a theatre for the expression of enthusiasm and dissemination of propaganda. This is political history of a new kind, focused not so much on ideology and voting behaviour, as on practices and technologies. It makes for compelling reading and will be of interest to all historians of democracy, whatever the national setting.'
Professor of Modern and Contemporary History, Princeton University (USA)
'This beautiful book fills a gap in political history: dedicated to political meetings, it complements the historical sociology of politicisation in French society of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Its contribution is to reconnect with a useful method of hybridisation between the socio-historical argument and theoretical questions on the current forms of political deliberation and their uncertain efficacy. This insightful and original book will broaden our understanding of the present tension between participation and representation in modern politics.'
Professor of Political Science, Sciences Po Bordeaux (France)
Published August 2013
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|Created||23rd Jan 2015|
|Updated||1st Oct 2015|