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The Rise and Decline of a Revolutionary Space: Paris' Place de Greve and the Stonemasons of Creuse, 1750-1900

From: Journal of Social History
Volume 34, Number 2, Winter 2000
pp. 403-436 | 10.1353/jsh.2000.0146

Abstract

A meaningful historical relationship existed between the Place de Grève, the open square fronting Paris' cityhall, and the migrant stonemasons who used it as a hiring fair in the nineteenth century. This spatial and social combination contributed to a "contentious repertoire" that helped make Paris the century's "capital of revolution." This article explores the conjuncture of historical trends and contentious repertoire at the Place to explain how the stonemasons suffered repression disproportionately during rebellions. The conjuncture broke down with the rebuilding of Paris under Prefect Haussmann. As workers moved to the suburbs and developed new ways to find jobs, and as migrants assimilated and police lost interest in the Place, apprehensions about the setting faded.