The Bourgeois Citizen in Nineteenth-Century France analyses the process by which class society developed in post-revolutionary France. Focusing on bourgeois men and on their voluntary associations, Carol E. Harrison addresses the construction of class and gender identities. In their gentlemen's clubs, learned societies, musical groups, gardening clubs, and charitable associations, bourgeois Frenchmen defined a social order in which the atomized individuals
of revolutionarly law could find places for themselves in reconstituted social groups and hierarchies. The practices of sociability reflected a bourgeois view of society as harmonious rather than torn by conflict. The potentially universal virtues of bourgeois masculinity provided a basis for a consensus that
could protect social order from the destructive competitiveness of French political life and the industrializing economy. The sociable interaction of male citizens was the crucial bridge between the destruction of Frances's old regime and the development of a mature industrial class society.
`Harrison's emphasis on social practice and performance as the formative component of individual class identities is very convincing. I was also persuaded by her stress on bourgeois status being locally defined and her focus on masculinity and its role in class formation is refreshing... this book is a valuable contribution both to our understanding of nineteenth century provincial France and to current debates on class formation'
David Garrioch, American Historical Review