Practiced Citizenship


Practiced Citizenship

Women, Gender, and the State in Modern France

Edited by Nimisha Barton and Richard S. Hopkins
Foreword by Johnson Kent Wright
Afterword by Elinor A. Accampo

330 pages
6 illustrations, index


January 2019


$35.00 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)
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January 2019


$35.00 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

January 2019


$35.00 Add to Cart

About the Book

Over fifty years ago sociologist T. H. Marshall first opened the modern debate about the evolution of full citizenship in modern nation-states, arguing that it proceeded in three stages: from civil rights, to political rights, and finally to social rights. The shortcomings of this model were clear to feminist scholars. As political theorist Carol Pateman argued, the modern social contract undergirding nation-states was from the start premised on an implicit “sexual contract.” According to Pateman, the birth of modern democracy necessarily resulted in the political erasure of women.

Since the 1990s feminist historians have realized that Marshall’s typology failed to describe adequately developments that affected women in France. An examination of the role of women and gender in welfare-state development suggested that social rights rooted in republican notions of womanhood came early and fast for women in France even while political and economic rights would continue to lag behind. While their considerable access to social citizenship privileges shaped their prospects, the absence of women’s formal rights still dominates the conversation. Practiced Citizenship offers a significant rereading of that narrative.

Through an analysis of how citizenship was lived, practiced, and deployed by women in France in the modern period, Practiced Citizenship demonstrates how gender normativity and the resulting constraints placed on women nevertheless created opportunities for a renegotiation of the social and sexual contract. 

Author Bio

Nimisha Barton is the associate director of the Freshman Scholars Institute and Programs for Access and Inclusion at Princeton University. Richard S. Hopkins is an assistant professor of history at Widener University. He is the author of Planning the Greenspaces of Nineteenth-Century Paris.


"Remarkably cohesive and consistent in tone and writing quality, Practiced Citizenship is historiography at its finest."—Hope Christiansen, French Review

"There is much to commend in this volume, not least the extensive research that underpins each essay. Its central concept of “citizenship as practice” enables a diverse exploration of the ways in which women carved out spaces for themselves in the social domain and were far from silent, especially on issues about which their womanhood gave them some particular interest under the gender norms of the day. Several chapters show how successful they were in influencing policy and shaping politics, even if they could not formulate policy or vote.This approach gives complexity to the notion of “citizenship” and highlights the different interpretations that can be applied to it."—Susan Foley, H-France Review

Practiced Citizenship takes the issue of women’s citizenship, most often discussed theoretically by political scientists, and gives it concrete substance based on the activism and activities of women across almost two centuries of French history. The ramifications and the lessons to be learned go beyond the borders of France to help inform our understanding of women’s citizenship more generally. Rich in new archival research and work with primary sources, this volume shows the civic, political, and social activism and activities of women from all social classes. Quite a feat.”—Bonnie Smith, Board of Governors Distinguished Emerita Professor of History at Rutgers University

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Foreword by Johnson Kent Wright
Nimisha Barton and Richard Hopkins
1. “Patriotic Discipline”: Cloistered Behinds, Public Judgment, and Female Violence in Revolutionary Paris
Katie Jarvis
2. Restoring the Royal Family: Marie-Thérèse and the Family Politics of the Early Restoration
Victoria E. Thompson
3. Gender, Immigration, and the Everyday Practice of Social Citizenship
Nimisha Barton
4. Hospital Policies, Family Agency, and Mothers at l’Hôpital Sainte-Eugénie, 1855–1875 000
Stephanie McBride-Schreiner
5. Illustrations as Good as Any Slides: Women’s Activist Social Novels and the French Search for Social Reform, 1880–1914
Jean Elisabeth Pedersen
6. French Girls Are the Most Desired: Organizing against the White Slave Trade in the Belle Epoque
Eliza Earle Ferguson
7. Vérine, the Ecole des Parents, and the Politics of Gender, Reaction, and the Family, 1929–1944
Cheryl A. Koos
8. Politics, Money, and Distrust: French-American Alliances in the International Campaign for Women’s Equal Rights, 1925–1930
Sara L. Kimble
Afterword by Elinor A. Accampo

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