When the French Go Marching In: Recurrence and Metamorphoses on Collective Protests in the 19th and 20th Century

By Michel Pigenet, Danielle Tartakowsky

When the French go marching in (19th-20th centuries).

For Charles Tilly, a decisive modernization of the repertory of collective protest occurs in France during the Second Republic. The change affects the protesters and their expectations more than the types of contestation. A study of the marches organized all along the 19th century allows to improve the demonstration by a better understanding of the relations between collective protest and the process of politicization of popular classes. The emergence of the public sphere and the affirmation of the Third Republic change, after a while, the way those popular classes demonstrate in public space. The word « march » disappears from the French political vocabulary after 1880 but the « marches », which, in French, are distinct from « street demonstrations » can still be found in the repertory of social and political protest of the 20th century. The study tries to understand why, when and where this specific form of protestation survives, its specificity, real or alleged, its links with the marches organized before the modernization of French political life and with those organized in other countries at the same time.

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