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The French RepublicHistory, Values, Debates$
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Edward Ducler Berenson, Vincent Duclert, and Christophe Prochasson

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780801449017

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801449017.001.0001

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The Local

The Local

(p.213) 24 The Local
The French Republic

Stéphane Gerson

Cornell University Press

This chapter analyzes how the political project of the commune or the “petite patrie” came into its own as the birthplace of national opinion, a counterpart to autocracy and bureaucratic centralization, and a place of social experimentation. The republican conception of the local as place of initiative and renewal, of integration and edification, of pacification and legitimation, has sometimes faded from view; however, the local has repeatedly promised and sometimes delivered what the central state, the capital, and national frameworks could not provide on their own. The chapter shows how the Third Republic had predicated French grandeur and its own long-term prospects not only on an imperial civilizing mission, but also on these ventures of internal diversity and a local sense of belonging.

Keywords:   local, petite patrie, commune, social experimentation, republican, national frameworks, Third Republic, internal diversity, local

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