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Summary 1998(3)


Circumscribing the Republic. An analysis of Jouvenel, Thibaudet and Halévy (Patrick Harismendy)

This article examines the past and contemporary use of the French expression " The Republic of..." (teachers, dukes, businessmen, etc.), above all in the titles of books. It deals in particular with Robert de Jouvenel's La République des camarades (1914), Albert Thibaudet's La République des professeurs (1927), and Daniel Halévy's La République des Ducs (1937). While approaching their subjects from different points of view, the three books are mainly concerned with the formation and reproduction of ruling élites. Starting from de Jouvenel's work, the article discusses the key notion of sociabilité, examining the rules, ideals and social networks that existed within the political class of the last decades of the nineteenth century. From Thibaudet, the author demes the concept of generation, and then he assesses whether and how it should be used to study the political élites of the Third Republic. By concentrating on the reasons why, in the late 1870s, the monarchic project of the Dukes de Mac Mahon and de Broglie failed, Halévy showed how relevant culture is to political success The article also stresses how contradictory it is to narrow down the universal notion of republic by coupling it with the genitive, and concludes that the expression "La République de..."is a sign of political crisis.

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