Eugen Joseph Weber was a Romanian-born American historian with a special focus on His book: Peasants into Frenchmen: The Modernization of Rural France is a classic presentation of modernization theory. Although other. Buy Peasants into Frenchmen: The Modernization of Rural France, by Eugen Weber (ISBN: ) from Amazon’s Book Store. Everyday. Peasants Into Frenchmen: The Modernization of Rural France, Front Cover · Eugen Weber. Stanford University Press, – Social Science –
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Open Preview See a Problem? Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. France achieved national unity much later than is commonly supposed.
For a hundred years and more after the Revolution, millions of peasants lived on as if in a timeless world, their existence little different from that of the generations before them. The author of this lively, often witty, and always provocative work traces how France underwent a veritable crisis of civili France achieved national unity much later than is commonly supposed. The author of this lively, often witty, and always provocative work traces how France underwent a veritable crisis of civilization in frenchmdn early years of the French Republic as traditional attitudes and practices crumbled under the forces of modernization.
Local roads and railways were the decisive factors, bringing hitherto remote euen 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 language of the dominant culture but its values as well, among them patriotism. ByFrance had finally become La Patrie in fact as it had so long been in name. Paperbackpages. California Book Award for Nonfiction Silver To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
To ask other readers questions about Peasants Into Frenchmenplease sign up. Be the first to ask a question about Peasants Into Frenchmen. Lists with This Frenchmrn. May 07, Mary Catelli rated it really liked it Shelves: A discussion of peasant life in France — from the webeer they still peasanfs instead pessants French, through the economy, and the practice of local justice, to the festivities — and the forces that changed it wber compulsory education, roads, ability to buy thing down to lime for the fields — and the resulting changes.
Down to how the peasants did not give up their brightly colored wedding gowns until some time after wever became custom to get the bride a white veil. Jul 01, Sarah rated it liked it Shelves: I was in way over my head when I had to read this peasnats a college course – THE college course – that was the most difficult I ever took.
Though entirely unsympathetic, my professor was one of the most brilliant men I’ve ever had a chance to learn peawants, and aside from expanding my knowledge about this Gallic land, I became a much better student in my writing, re 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.
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 that.
I 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 peaaants and wiser. Nov 13, Randy Mcdonald rated it it was amazing Shelves: People tend to forget how heterogeneous–ethnically, culturally, and otherwise–modern states used to be.
Sweden, for instance, is traditionally thought of as the epitome of People tend to forget how heterogeneous–ethnically, culturally, and otherwise–modern states used to be. Sweden, for instance, euge 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 frenchmmen pot even as successive Swedish sovereigns have fought to establish uncontested boundaries.
Sweden’s modern boundaries were only defined inwith 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: At 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, Basque, 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, engineered.
We 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 more–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 examplein 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 more quickly 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.
Peasants Into Frenchmen: The Modernization of Rural France, by Eugen Weber
And now, almost all of France’s minority languages are nearing extinction, and the Fifth Republic is far more 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 euge in their different ways–Thailand, for instance.
The French nationalizing project mostly worked. If this book has a fault, peasanta 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: 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 Francefor instance–to carry the torch.
Feb 15, Luke rated it it was ok Shelves: Peassnts 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 connected rural hamlets and villages to the citi This work is really important to understanding the formation of the French nation at the end of the 19th century, but it is outdated.
The railroad connected rural intoo and villages to the cities, French was taught in the schools, and French patriotism was solidified via military service.
Eugen Weber – Wikipedia
This is the crux of Weber’s argument, and it is convincing. There are some claims that are unsubstantiated for example, the claim that the European mind was the same untilwhen 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 overwhelming.
One 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 quite 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. Mar 10, M rated it really liked it. A really interesting read that challenges assumptions about the supposed strength and historic durability of the ‘Frencg being French. Using a wealth of primary sources and drawing on folklore and popular literature of the time, Weber does a deep dive into the in A really interesting read that challenges assumptions about the supposed strength and historic durability of the ‘Frencg being French.
Using a wealth of primary sources and drawing on folklore and popular literature of the time, Weber does a deep dive into the integration of the rural peasantry into the Parisian culture. At times, one does have to wonder whether he is being too broad-sweeping that there weren’t modernization efforts prior tobut overall the thesis feels compelling. Sep 28, AskHistorians added it Shelves: A classic if there ever was one. It’s easy to get enamored with Paris and the Eiffel Tower and the Belle Epoque when we think of this period, but France has always been tricky: Weber does a great job explaining how France was rural and how the Third Republic worked to bring rural France into the fold: Feb 26, Katie rated it liked it.
A dense and detailed read. The argument can get lost in all the archival evidence, but the sources enable him to paint a very colorful picture of peasant life in 19th-century France. Had I more time to read this book, I could appreciate his ability to do so!
Peasants into Frenchmen: the modernization of rural France, 1870-1914
Jan 24, Ross rated it it was amazing. 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.
Mar 21, Sam rated it really liked it. Penetrates luminously beyond its immediate area of investigation. Whence the idea that “generality is the supreme faculty of the modern mind?
Dec 01, Eric marked it as to-read. I heard from a friend that this consists of many lurid anecdotes and squalid stories excavated from the archives of officialdom. Also, Horne’s ‘The Price of Glory’ has made me very curious about France at the start of the last century. Oct 01, Shonda Wilson rated it it was amazing.