In Pursuit of Politics: Education and Revolution in Eighteenth-Century France
door O'Connor, Adrian
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In pursuit of politics offers a new interpretation of debates over education and politics in the early years of the French Revolution. Following these debates from the 1760s to the Terror (1793-94), and putting well-known works in dialogue with previously neglected sources, it situates education at the center of revolutionary contests over citizenship, participatory politics, and representative government.
Education was central to how people thought about what was possible, desirable, and achievable in eighteenth-century France. With that in mind, In pursuit of politics uses the debates over education as a window into one of history's most dramatic periods of political uncertainty and upheaval, anxiety and ambition. It weaves together debates taking place among Enlightenment writers and philosophes, royal administrators and, later, revolutionary legislators, among private citizens, political clubs, and provincial schoolmasters. This book finds in the pre-revolutionary debates a symptom of a deep crisis in the French political imagination, one that ran aground on competing visions of French society, the French nation, and the workings of the Ancien Régime state. It highlights the emergence of "public instruction" as a revolutionary pedagogy, one that transcended pre-revolutionary expectations and underwrote efforts to establish a participatory and representative politics in France. It allows us to think in new ways about how the citizens and statesmen of eighteenth-century France tried to navigate modern politics at their tumultuous start.
Adrian O'Connor is Associate Professor of History at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg
0.218 x 0.142 x 0.026 m; 0.5 kg