Women and the Public Sphere in the Age of the French Revolution

TitleWomen and the Public Sphere in the Age of the French Revolution
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication1988
AuthorsLandes, Joan B.
Number of Pages296
PublisherCornell University Press
City, CountryIthaca, NY
Abstract

In this provocative interdisciplinary essay, Joan B. Landes examines the impact on women of the emergence of a new, bourgeois organization of public life in the eighteenth century. She focuses on France, contrasting the role and representation of women under the Old Regime with their status during and after the Revolution. Basing her work on a wide reading of current historical scholarship, Landes draws on the work of Habermas and his followers, as well as on recent theories of representation, to re-create public-sphere theory from a feminist point of view. Within the extremely personal and patriarchal political culture of Old Regime France, elite women wielded surprising influence and power, both in the court and in salons. Urban women of the artisanal class often worked side by side with men and participated in many public functions. But the Revolution, Landes asserts, relegated women to the home, and created a rigidly gendered, essentially male, bourgeois public sphere. [From the publisher.]

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