Public opinion and political culture in France during the second half of the eighteenth century

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The neo-revisionist view of public opinion is, with certain significant modifications, taken over from Jurgen Habermas's important study, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphered. Habermas is explicit about two other points that are relevant. First, public opinion as he described it is something radically new, emerging in England at the end of the seventeenth century, and in France around the middle of the eighteenth. Secondly, Habermas emphasizes that the public sphere is bourgeois in character. Civil society was a sphere of freedom for the owners of property and commodities, not for all members of society. The rational, unified and normative concept of public opinion that figures prominently in Habermas's The Structural Transfonnation and appears frequently in political writings of the second half of the eighteenth century offers neo-revisionists what is probably the key element in their reconstruction of pre-revolutionary and revolutionary political culture.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRevolutions in the Western World 1775–1825
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages30
ISBN (Electronic)9781351903264
ISBN (Print)0754625672, 9780754625674
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Jeremy Black 2006. For copyright of individual articles please refer to the Acknowledgements. All rights reserved.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Social Sciences


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