Peasants into Frenchmen: The Modernization of Rural

  • Paperback
  • 614 pages
  • Peasants into Frenchmen: The Modernization of Rural France, 1870-1914
  • Eugen Weber
  • English
  • 23 September 2016
  • 9780804710138

10 thoughts on “Peasants into Frenchmen: The Modernization of Rural France, 1870-1914

  1. Mary Catelli Mary Catelli says:

    A discussion of peasant life in France from the patois they still spoke instead of French through the economy and the practice of local justice to the festivities and the forces that changed it compulsory education roads ability to buy thing down to lime for the fields and the resulting changesVery extensive Down to how the peasants did not give up their brightly colored wedding gowns until some time after it became custom to get the bride a white veil

  2. Sarah Sarah says:

    I was in way over my head when I had to read this for a college course THE college course that was the most difficult I ever took I like France I speak some French un peu my family has ties to France yeah this class should be great I barely made it out alive Though entirely unsympathetic my professor was one of the most brilliant men I've ever had a chance to learn from and aside from expanding my knowledge about this Gallic land I became a much better student in my writing reading comprehension and study skills due to his methods I thank him for thatI know all of that doesn't really have anything to do with this book but just know that it's a doozy I might try it again in a few years when I'm older and wiser Liberté égalité fraternité

  3. Randy Mcdonald Randy Mcdonald says:

    People tend to forget how heterogeneous ethnically culturally and otherwise modern states used to be Canadians are probably less likely to forget than citizens of other Western states simply because their country is prone to innumerable fissures uébec versus English Canada West versus East South versus North even downtown versus suburbs heartland versus periphery but other countries evidence much the same fissures Sweden for instance is traditionally thought of as the epitome of homogeneity; yet throughout its history Sweden has received so many immigrants Walloons Germans Finns Balts Dutch as to become a melting pot even as successive Swedish sovereigns have fought to establish uncontested boundaries Sweden's modern boundaries were only defined in 1815 with the cession of Finland to the Russian Empire This convenient memory lapse might have been produced by the Western traditions of sovereignty established with the Peace of Westphalia Thongchai Winichakul's excellent article “Siam Mapped Making of Thai Nationhood” The Ecologist September October 1996 explores how Thailand and the Thai national identity have been molded by successive Thai governments the better to establish Thailand's maximum sovereignty and ethnic homogeneityAt least people seem to forget this less often than before We can probably thank Eugen Weber's classic Peasants into Frenchmen for this France was Europe's first modern republic and well into the 19th century France arguably ranked as the single most powerful state in the West Most people believe the stereotype that France is a homogeneous society yet well into 19th century as many French citizens regularly spoke languages other than French Breton Occitan dialects Basue Catalan Flemish Alsatian Corsican instead of French and even in French speaking areas provincial loyalties often transcended the putative bond of the nation The introduction of immigrant languages only complicated this picture Renan in his famous attempt to define the French nation said that any nation was defined by the consent of its component communities; Weber argues that if consent was involved it was manufactured engineeredWe know thanks to the research that Weber inspired the French case is prototypical for most other nation states The post Revolutionary French state was concerned with eliminating troublesome political identities but by and large for the first half of the 19th century this was limited to the centralization of national affairs in Paris and the pursuit of national glory Under the Second Empire and still the Third Republic active steps were made to encourage the elimination of provincial loyalties Urbanization and industrialization helped immensely of course dislocating traditionally agricultural rural communities and allowing a specifically Francophone modernity to penetrate The growth of mass media book and magazine publishing popular music and the like also played an important role in making French trendy for the non Francophone young and diminishing the intergenerational transmission of language Weber brought a new perspective on the school as vehicle for francophonization; though it was less than successful in homogenous non Francophone peasant societies Brittany is the most spectacular example in areas even minimally open to the French language it removed the children from the traditional norms of peasant society In one interesting passage Weber recounts how it took generations to convince the French masses to use the metric system with measurement in the public sphere distances say and commerce succumbing uickly than measurements relating to one's person I myself living in a country that converted to metric just before me birth use kilometres but not kilograms And now almost all of France's minority languages are nearing extinction and the Fifth Republic is far universally Francophone than any of the previous republics or monarchies of France Where France has gone any number of other countries have followed or are trying to follow in their different ways Thailand for instance The French nationalizing project mostly workedIf this book has a fault it is that it does not consider the substantial foreign immigration to France Over the lifetime of the Third Republic perhaps five million Europeans at first Belgians then Spaniards and Italians then Poles White Russians and Armenians among many others immigrated to France making their homes in town or country assimilating with remarkable speed This immigration has continued to the present of course The Frenchman of the early 21st century is now likely to have at least one grandparent of foreign birth just like hisher American contemporary It seems certain that the same methods used to acculturate Limousins to French norms were used to acculturate Ligurians; yet there was little mention of foreign immigration apart from a mention of Flemish immigrants in Nord and other passing statements One passage in which he describes how the folkloric traditions of certain Parisian neighbourhoods disappeared as old generations died off and new residents came in strikes me as useful It would have been nice if there had been a sufficiently updated version to cover this or an updated version to cover all of the scholarly innovations for a fuller perspective on the integration and assimilation of all the unofficial non Francophone cultures of France in English We can however look forward for followup works Graham Robb's The Discovery of France for instance to carry the torch

  4. Ekul Ekul says:

    This work is really important to understanding the formation of the French nation at the end of the 19th century but it is outdated Ultimately his argument is that provincial patois prevented the countryside from developing as the flow of information slowed down tremendously because the peasants couldn't speak French The French nation was created by three things the railroad system public schools and universal conscription The railroad connected rural hamlets and villages to the cities French was taught in the schools and French patriotism was solidified via military service This is the crux of Weber's argument and it is convincingThere are some claims that are unsubstantiated for example the claim that the European mind was the same until 1650 when it divided into high and low cultures until it came back together at the end of the 19th century Moreover he does not seem to have the analytical tools to look into the minds of the peasantry that is something that cannot be done with empiricism alone After all peasants themselves did not leave behind any writings Another problem is that Weber bombards the reader with provincial customs and habits without coherence This is done to show how these customs transformed after national changes were implemented but the volume of information makes the text overwhelmingOne interesting and seemingly accurate claim that he makes is that the formation of the French nation was a form of internal colonialism While the violence of this task was nothing compared to that of places like Algeria and Indochina this is one point that he gets uite right However it must be mentioned that colonialism turned people into subjects while the process within the hexagon turned people into citizens This distinction is critical

  5. R. R. says:

    I read this book while in a history of modern France course studying in Istanbul and I still think about it often It has been one of the most useful texts for understanding the creation of modern nation states and its participants' identities

  6. Anthony Zupancic Anthony Zupancic says:

    Incredible Huge piercing history

  7. Ann Ann says:

    A wealth of information and a much better reference book than one to read straight through

  8. Hannah Lee Hannah Lee says:

    'Peasants Into Frenchmen' challenges the conventional narrative that the French Revolution of 1789 brought nationalisation to the whole of France; Weber rather argues that although this is true in the case of the urban elites the same cannot be argued for the rural population Split into three parts the book follows the process of nationalisation of peasants in France the way things were the agencies of change and change and assimilation The first part sets the scene of rural France highlighting the differences between the rural and urban populations There was no unity in France due to alienation of the rural people their spiritualist beliefs lack of standardisation of money language etc and self sufficient nature meant they were viewed as backwards and animalistic by the urban populations This divide between the French people meant their was little nationalist sentiment between them and there was no real united French people as idealised by the RevolutionIn the second part of the book Weber outlines the different factors that lead to France achieving national unity He goes into much detail about the role played by road building projects tiny capitals cafés and the petit bourgeoisie in nationalising the peasants Most importantly the vast expansion of the road network meant that the countryside was now connected therefore self sufficiency was no longer as necessary and standardised systems were becoming useful Along with this the introduction of conscription for the 1870 Franco Prussian War in which peasants began fighting and dying for their country really helped in bringing about a sense of national identityFinally Weber explains how peasants began adapting to modern nationalised life Industrialisation meant that peasants had free time so started taking part in urban activities such as feats and festivals lessening the divide between the two The printing press meant a standardised language was introduced and books and newspapers became much accessible PeasantsO began working for pay rather than subsistence Overall 'Peasants into Frenchmen' is an interesting read which had a credible argument challenging the narrative about the nationalisation brought about by the 1789 revolution However it can be very tiring and repetitive in places Weber makes a point and continues to support it with 3 or 4 pieces of evidence which makes the argument substantial however can make the book a boring read; The 600 page book could easily be cut down to 300 400 pages if Weber was to the point a whole page about how peasants sat on stools rather than chairs seems excessive Further the top down approach Weber uses means he can hand pick evidence which supports his argument and ignore that which doesn't Thus a 3 star rating

  9. Faheem Hussain Faheem Hussain says:

    An incredible book Few books will demonstrate better the difference between pre modernity and modernity and how we can never get the former back Actually merits the book of the overused term of being a 'modern classic'

  10. Kara Severson Kara Severson says:

    i just read this bc i had to not of choice

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Peasants into Frenchmen: The Modernization of Rural France, 1870-1914❰Read❯ ➮ Peasants into Frenchmen: The Modernization of Rural France, 1870-1914 Author Eugen Weber – France achieved national unity much later than is commonly supposed For a hundred years and after the Revolution millions of peasants lived on as if in a timeless world their existence little differen France achieved national Frenchmen: The PDF/EPUB ë unity much later than is commonly supposed For a hundred years and after the Revolution millions of peasants lived on as if in a timeless world their existence little different from that of the generations before themThe author of this lively often witty and always provocative work traces how France underwent a veritable crisis of civilization in the early years of the French Republic as traditional attitudes and practices crumbled under the forces of Peasants into PDF \ modernization Local roads and railways were the decisive factors bringing hitherto remote and inaccessible regions into easy contact with markets and major centers of the modern world The products of industry rendered many peasant skills useless and the expanding school system taught not only the into Frenchmen: The Modernization of PDF \ language of the dominant culture but its values as well among them patriotism By France had finally become La Patrie in fact as it had so long been in name.

About the Author: Eugen Weber

Historian fought in Frenchmen: The PDF/EPUB ë World War II.