Politics in the Rural Society: The Southern Massif Central c.1750-1880

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This is a study of rural society, with particular reference to the peasantry. It focuses on an area of France which is defined as the southern Massif Central, the four departments forming the southern perimeter of the highland plateau of central France, and spans a century which marked the apogee of peasant civilisation in this region and which witnessed the revolutions of 1789 and 1848. The book adopts a broadly cultural definition of the peasantry, and offers a comprehensive account of the rhythms of rural life over some three or four generations. However, the main emphasis is on the political responses of the peasantry in an age of revolutionary experimentation with democratic institutions. As such the book is a social history of political behaviour at the grass roots.