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Amalgamating the Social in the French Revolution

From: Journal of Social History
Volume 37, Number 1, Fall 2003
pp. 145-150 | 10.1353/jsh.2003.0129


The French Revolution has long depended on social factors to explain its causes, course, and consequences. In particular, Marxist explanations held sway throughout the first three-quarters of the twentieth century. In the last twenty years or so, linguistically driven works pushed the social aside and became the leading viewpoint. However, a current wave of scholarship suggests a differing approach in which the social returns but significantly altered. First, it arrives linked to cultural or ideational factors. Second, bourgeois class consciousness emerges from commercial links, not from the precise social position of individual entrepreneurs.

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