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Elite formation in late nineteenth century : France compared to Britain and Germany

Elitenbildung im späten 19. Jahrhundert: Vergleich zwischen Frankreich, Großbritannien und Deutschland
[journal article]

Charle, Christophe

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Abstract 'In a famous and controversial book, Arno J. Mayer has defined European society at the end of 19th century as a persistent Ancien Regime. To defend his thesis, he invoked in particular the recruitment and formation of dominant elites mainly in Britain, Germany, the Dual Monarchy, Russia and more sketchily in Italy, Spain and even France. As the author has shown in two of his books (Les élites de la République and La crise des sociétés impériales), this thesis already controversial in the first quoted countries is not at all relevant for France. This does not mean that France was, as pretended its republican governing elites, a democratic and meritocratic nation, but that it is impossible to analyse elites in France with so broad and unprecise concepts as aristocracy, bourgeoisie and so on. The aim of this paper is to propose a new perspective with new social concepts and to compare them with results of the study of elites in the two other imperial societies, UK and Germany. We shall begin with France and then turn to these countries to show some similarities and differences forgotten by current historiography.' (author's abstract)|
Keywords education; recruitment; occupation; elite; bourgeoisie; parliament; France; German Empire; political elite; Great Britain; social change; upper class; international comparison; politician; achievement orientation; middle class; nineteenth century
Classification General History
Method empirical; quantitative empirical; historical
Document language English
Publication Year 2008
Page/Pages p. 249-261
Journal Historical Social Research, 33 (2008) 2
ISSN 0172-6404
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Creative Commons - Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works