Sexing the Citizen: Morality and Masculinity in France, 1870-1920

TitleSexing the Citizen: Morality and Masculinity in France, 1870-1920
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2006
AuthorsSurkis, Judith
Number of Pages296
PublisherCornell University Press
CityIthaca, NY

How did marriage come to be seen as the foundation and guarantee of social stability in Third Republic France? In this volume, the author shows how masculine sexuality became central to the making of a republican social order. Marriage, the author argues, affirmed the citizen's masculinity, while also containing and controlling his desires. This ideal offered a specific response to the problems -- individualism, democratization, and rapid technological and social change -- associated with France's modernity. This cultural and intellectual history provides new insights into how concerns about sexuality shaped the Third Republic's pedagogical projects. The author's analyses of republican moral philosophy and Emile Durkheim's sociology illustrate the cultural weight of these concerns and provide an account of modern French thinking about society. More broadly, this volume illuminates how sexual norms continue to shape the meaning of citizenship.

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