Press, Revolution, and Social Identities in France, 1830-1835
By Jeremy D. Popkin
(Penn State University Press, Paperback, 9780271021539, 329pp.)
Publication Date: October 2001
In this innovative study of the press during the French Revolutionary crisis of the early 1830s, Jeremy Popkin shows that newspapers played a crucial role in defining a new repertoire of identities--for workers, women, and members of the middle classes--that redefined Europe's public sphere.
Nowhere was this process more visible than in Lyon, the great manufacturing center where the aftershocks of the July Revolution of 1830 were strongest. In July 1830 Lyon's population had rallied around its liberal newspaper and opposed the conservative Restoration government. In less than two years, however, Lyon's press and its public opinion, like those of the country as a whole, had become irrevocably fragmented. Popkin shows how the structure of the "journalistic field" in liberal society multiplied political conflicts and produced new tensions between the domains of politics and culture. New periodicals appeared claiming to speak for workers, for women, and for the local interests of Lyon. The public was becoming inherently plural with the emergence of new "imagined communities" that would dominate French public life well into the twentieth century.
Jeremy Popkin is well known for his earlier studies of journalism during the eighteenth century and the French Revolution. In Press, Revolution, and Social Identities in France, he not only moves forward in time but also offers a new model for a cultural history of journalism and its relationship to literature.