Pascal Bastien is Professor of modern European history at the Université du Québec in Montreal and Director of the Research Group on the History of Sociability (GRHS). His early research focused on the history of judicial ritual and penal law in 18th-century Paris. Retaining his interest in the Parisian area, he is currently working on the history of urban sociability and the various forms of political mobilization during the Enlightenment.
Urban history; history of the Enlightenment; French Revolution; urban justice and order; history of Paris; public space; historiography and epistemology.
Urban sociability and political engagement in 18th-century Paris
This project for a new social history of Paris seeks to reflect on the emergence of political engagement and a new form of urban citizenship in the second half of the 18th century, more specifically in the decades 1770‐1780. In the combined continuation of our reflections on the practice of writing (Siméon-‐Prosper Hardy, Mes Loisirs) and on justice in the 18th-century city, thinking about Paris as a melting pot that decisively influenced the behaviour of individuals living there and the way in which they receive, perceive and communicate the information around them.
The blending of the private and public spheres that took place in Paris in the years 1760-‐1770 played a key role in the development of new political identities and in the formation of new practices of citizenship. The circulation of information relies on very specific questions of consumption, mobility, appropriation of space, neighbourhood solidarity, cultural community. By contrast with the overly smooth and “natural” aspect of communication that tends too often to be associated with the Republic of Letters and the Enlightenment, this project aim to reflect on information of any nature, and on how it is appropriated in an urban space made up of places of sociability and agents of surveillance, of public words and clandestine news.
Thinking about citizenship before the Republic should not be reduced to the capacity of those involved to resist different forms of institutionalized authority by force. The concept of citizenship interrogated by this project is not a legal one so much as a social and political one (or political because it is social), and it will be considered as part of a process of formation and construction of the political.
Siméon-Prosper Hardy, Mes Loisirs, ou Journal d’événements tels qu’ils parviennent à ma connoissance, 1753-1789, éd. par Pascal Bastien, Sabine Juratic et Daniel Roche, Paris, Hermann, 2012-2015.
Une histoire de la peine de mort. Paris-Londres, 1500-1800, Paris, Seuil, 2011.
L’exécution publique à Paris au XVIIIe siècle. Une histoire des rituels judiciaires, Seyssel, Champ Vallon, 2006.
« Guyton de Morveau, juriste : réformes judiciaires et unification du droit, 1770-1804 », Annales historiques de la Révolution française, 2016/1, 383, p. 46-60.