David Garrioch. The Formation of the Parisian Bourgeoisie, 1690-1830. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1997. viii + 364 pp. $45.00 (cloth), ISBN 978-0-674-30937-1.
Reviewed by Anne Meyering (Michigan State University)
Published on H-Urban (June, 1999)
The intention of David Garrioch's book, The Formation of the Parisian Bourgeoisie, 1690-1830, is to show that, until about the middle of the eighteenth century, there was no Parisian bourgeoisie. A city-wide class of like-minded men of similar wealth, occupations, and family life had yet to emerge to dominate the politics of the municipality. Until about 1750 it was still possible for men with relatively modest occupations, like merchants and manufacturers, tradesmen and shopkeepers, to hold power locally, as churchwardens or, for example, as syndics of the Bievre River. By the last decades of the Old Regime, in contrast, to serve in a position even as modest as that of parish churchwarden, a man needed city-wide business and family connections.
Garrioch explores 140 years of Paris's history in ten chapters enclosed between a substantial introduction and conclusion. His method is to use a case-study approach, based on the Faubourg Saint-Marcel and the administrative units that succeeded it--the Gobelins, later Finistere, district or section and, still later, the Twelfth Arrondissement. The boundaries of these later administrative units did not coincide exactly with those of the Faubourg Saint Marcel under the Old Regime, but they all included the parish of Saint Medard. In his book, Garrioch often focuses even more narrowly on the parish of Saint Medard, whose church at the foot of the rue Mouffetard most French historians would recognize. He occasionally supplements the information about this parish and faubourg with examples from other parishes and other faubourgs, districts, sections, and arrondissements in the capital.
After an introductory chapter discussing the problem of defining the bourgeoisie in this crucial period of its history, from the last decade of the seventeenth century to the 1830 revolution, Garrioch sweeps the reader into eighteenth-century Paris with a fascinating chapter on the Jansenist controversy in Saint-Medard parish. Then he describes the powers of the offices of churchwardens and vestries to explain how local laymen with modest occupations could have mounted such a successful challenge to the curés of Saint Medard. In Chapter Three, he argues that it was the churchwardens' long residence combined with a large extended network of kin living in the parish and their wealth, for a few above average for the parish and the faubourg but within the range of those in other parts of Paris whose occupations are more commonly associated with bourgeois status, that enabled these men to exercise such an impressive display of political influence in the eighteenth-century French capital. In Chapter Four, Garrioch applies the information he has found on the powers vested in the office of churchwarden and on the men who occupied those offices to analyze the maneuvers made by each side in the thirty-year standoff between the churchwardens and the cures of Saint Medard described in chapter one.
It is in Part II, through an analysis of the men who served as churchwardens and as members of the vestry of Saint Medard after 1760, that Garrioch begins the presentation of the second half of his project. In Chapters Five and Six, which make up this part, he demonstrates that the descendants of the men who had earlier dominated the parish's lay offices had left the parish, and their places were taken by new men. Their story of upward mobility is told in chapter six. Garrioch notes how much the economic position of those who held the office of churchwarden improved, but also how the entry of new men among the ranks of the churchwardens of Saint Medard coincided with a decline in the importance of local offices in the capital.
The remaining four chapters cover the period from 1789 to 1830 in two parts, dealing with the Revolution and the "Paris of the Notables 1795-1830." In parts three and four Garrioch presents the evidence to substantiate his argument that a city-wide bourgeoisie developed in the French capital only after 1750 and was only fully formed in 1830.
Garrioch sees the period of the revolution divided into three phases. The first, based on analysis of the district committees elected in 1789 and in 1790, continued the trend begun in the second half of the eighteenth century: Members of the Finistere district committee were rich by local standards but relatively new to the area. But sitting beside them were men who provided the first evidence of the emergence into the area's political life of professionals. In 1792-93, the second phase of the revolution, Garrioch sees the local officeholders as "professional politicians." Since the the district (or later section) was much larger than the parish, committee men could not rely on existing contacts of business, family, and neighborhood to ensure their election. Garrioch argues that new attributes besides wealth and occupation became important (oratorical skill, education, etc.), bringing in men in the professions like lawyers, former government officials, clergy, and rentiers, though they remained a minority. The period 1793-5 brought, in the committees, the reign of men Garrioch refers to as "government servants." What counted most among the qualifications for service on the section committees was a man's willingness to follow orders.
Thus, the revolution produced a significant break in local politics in the capital. But it was not the switch to elections and the wealth, residence, and age qualifications required for both voters and candidates seeking local office that brought about the most decisive changes in local government. When elections were implemented in 1789, the men chosen to fill the seats of the district committees differed little from those who has been churchwardens in the last decades of the Old Regime, except for the appearance of a few with professional occupations or jobs in government. More decisive than the change in the occupational composition of the committee members in the period from 1789 to 1794 was the subordination of the district committees to the Convention's Committee of General Security in the nine months before Thermidor. In this climate of political dictatorship, social class had little significance. In Garrioch's words, the revolution "divorced political power from economic power and from local notability, a trend reinforced in the Year II by the centralization of authority" (p. 189).
In Chapter Eight, Garrioch treats the post-Thermidorian Convention with the Directory apart from the Empire and the Restoration. Garrioch's account of some local initiatives (administration of the Bievre river, reopening of churches) reveals the reappearance of men who had held local offices in the last decades of the Old Regime and in the first years of the Revolution. Their presence, and their failed attempts to control public affairs in their immediate vicinity, underscores for Garrioch the extension and reimposition of central control and the implications of this reorganization for office holding. He concludes: "[T]his was not a return to the old notables.... [T]he shift ... reflected the change in the nature of notability brought about by the Revolution. Political allegiance and public service had taken the place of family, while wealth and education were now more important than before" (p. 201). But this evidence takes the story only up to 1795.
Garrioch offers very little evidence on the Twelfth Arrondissement or on the Finistere section for the period of the Directory (November 1795 to November 1799). He attempts to fill the gap with evidence from other arrondissements to show that the Directors, the five-member executive committee of the national government, interceded to purge the arrondissement administrators who did not conform to the Directors' expectations. Disregarding the lacunae in his evidence, Garrioch nevertheless unequivocally concludes his discussion of the period from Thermidor to the Brumaire coup: "The history of local politics in the years between 1795 and the Napoleonic conquest is, as on the national scene, one of the step-by-step reduction of the access to power.... Power was taken away from ordinary citizens and vested in central agencies, some political, some bureaucratic. Increasingly, power now flowed from above, rather than from the local level to the center as it had both before the Terror and briefly after Thermidor" (p. 213). Power and authority were centralized in the government of the capita, and they continued to be under the Consulate and the Empire as well as the Restoration.
Then Garrioch turns his attention to the new kinds of men who, in his view, dominated the capital's centralized local administration between 1795 and 1830. In Chapter Nine, "Commerce, Science, Administration," Garrioch uses three individual examples to show that local office holders, including members of the Saint Medard vestry, were no longer men like their predecessors a century earlier whose occupations, wealth, family connections, and long-time residence in the neighborhood were their distinguishing characteristics. Rather, these men had wealth, reputation, and connections which went well beyond, not only the boundaries of the parish, but also those of the arrondissement. To strengthen his case for the period after 1799, Garrioch looks at the occupations of members of the Welfare Committee for the Finistere Division between 1810 and 1816 and the officers in the National Guard of the Faubourg Saint Marcel in 1816 and 1820. The appearance of men whose occupations he classifies as "state employees" or "professions, science, and education" on the rosters of these local government institutions is used to reinforce his claim that under the Napoleonic Empire and the Bourbon Restoration, as under the post-Thermidorian Convention and the Directory, professionals continued to displace the commercial middle classes even at the lowest levels of administration in the capitale.
In Chapter Ten, "The Tutelage of the State," Garrioch turns from the men who served to the local government institutions and their relationship to the government institutions of the capital as a whole as well as to their relationship to the institutions of the national government for the period from 1800 to 1830 (pp. 246-47). He finds that the subordination of local committees and offices already apparent under the Directory continued under the Consulate, the Empire, and the Restoration. The limited voting system (according to tax, residence and age qualifications), Garrioch goes on to argue, favored men with city-wide connections or those already known to the national government. Although wealth, not to mention gender, was the main criteria discriminating between who was included and who was excluded, once a man had met that criteria a powerful system of patronage based on personal connections favored those with a reputation for loyalty to the regime, respectability, and administrative competence.
At the end of Chapter Ten, in which he has demonstrated the continued subordination of local government in the capital to central control, Garrioch concludes that it was only under this governmental structure that the formation of a city-wide Parisian bourgeoisie was completed in the early nineteenth century. But, he emphasizes, the "process" was not of recent origin. It did not begin with the Empire or even with the Revolution. Rather, it had, he asserts, much deeper roots reaching far back in the history of the capital. At the same time, Garrioch argues, it was only the Parisian bourgeoisie's consciousness of itself as a class that crystalized under the Bourbon Restoration. It is both to these deeper roots and to the capital's bourgeoisie's consciousness of itself as a class that Garrioch turns in the chapter that makes up the conclusion.
Here he discusses, first, the consciousness of the bourgeoisie as a class. Garrioch argues that the Parisian bourgeois class consciousness congealed when it came up against the reactionary politics of the Bourbon Restoration. A number of factors contributed to the formation of Parisian bourgeois class consciousness. Histories of the French Revolution published at this time disseminated the belief that the ideals that inspired the men of 1789 were those of the bourgeoisie. These histories contrasted with and heightened contemporary fears that the ultraconservatives, victorious in the elections of 1817, would erode rights and liberties guaranteed in the Charter of 1814. In addition, tighter regulations of the law school and medical faculty in the early 1820s hit the sons of the middle classes particularly hard. Garrioch also cites a number of other measures taken by the Restoration government which conflicted with the interests of the middle classes, serving as catalysts for their opposition to the regime. But he does not show how this opposition was played out by the bourgeoisie in the parish of Saint Medard or in the Faubourg Saint Marcel or in the Twelfth Arrondissement. Although he does acknowledge that "the formation of a politically and ideologically united bourgeoisie" which, he claims, was achieved in the 1820s, "deserves more detailed study" he excuses himself from taking up the task (p. 267). Instead, he turns his attention to the "deeper roots" of the "process" of the subordination of local, parish and neighborhood, public affairs to central control.
Garrioch dates the beginning of this process of the centralization of authority to the seventeenth century. He recognizes there had been bourgeois de Paris at least since the twelfth century, but, he claims, they exercised their influence within the quarter. Beginning in the seventeenth century, however, it became increasingly difficult to play an important role in the capital simply by dominating a quarter. The process, which culminated in the 1820s, the final 140 years of which Garrioch tries to document in his book, was itself, in turn, the result of a complex set of processes: "To describe the transformation of the bourgeois de Paris of the early modern era into the Parisian bourgeoisie of the nineteenth century, therefore, is in large measure to trace the long-term decline of the quarter as a political, social, and economic unit. The centralizing monarchy was in part responsible, but other powerful social and economic forces were pressing in the same direction. The decline of local lineage as a dominant form of family and political organization, which among the Paris middle classes can be traced to the eighteenth century, is an important part of the story. So is the diminishing importance of the urban parish, in tandem with the shift from religious to secular politics and the remarkable change in religious sensibility in France during the second half of the eighteenth century. A further factor is the gradual adoption by the middle classes, during the eighteenth century, of the twin ideologies of political economy and domesticity--ways of thinking inseparable from the development of capitalism and consumerism during that same period. Accompanying all of this, and traceable to many of the same economic and ideological factors, one cannot ignore the enormous demographic, political, and economic impact of the Revolution." Garrioch proceeds to look at each of these "processes" in the remainder of the concluding chapter. Some of the explanations he offers are covered by evidence he presented in the foregoing ten chapters. But what he asserts in the conclusion about the centralizing monarchical state, about the economy, and about ideology, is not even touched on by the evidence presented in the preceding ten chapters.
Garrioch, then, builds his case for the formation of the Parisian bourgeoisie between 1690 and 1830 on his analysis of the backgrounds of the men who during this century and a half served on the local committees, especially the churchwardens, for the successive administrative areas of the capital that included the parish of Saint Medard and the Faubourg Saint Marcel. From what he sees as the changing occupations of this select group, he concludes that by 1830 a group of wealthy men whose incomes were derived from manufacturing, the professions, or government service and who were linked by family and business connections to other men who resided in other parts of the city and who shared the same characteristics, men conventionally considered bourgeois, had come to dominate local government in the capital. No longer was it possible, as it had been before 1750, for a man to become distinguished by serving as a churchwarden, simply because he was a longtime resident of the neighborhood, with a reputation for probity, and because he had an above average fortune, even if one earned from a modest occupation, as had been true for the churchwardens who led the campaign against curés of Saint Medard in the eighteenth century.
Garrioch's book is less convincing as a study of class formation than it is as an institutional history, and even as that, it suffers from several serious shortcomings. Whether taken as a study in class formation, as its title promises, or as a study in public administration, featuring the subordination of local government to control by the national government, Garrioch's evidence is weak. By focusing on only one parish and one that is geographically and socially marginal, his evidence is unrepresentative of the city as a whole. One could argue, as Garrioch does, that, if the professionals, scientists, and government officials took seats on local institutions as insignificant as parish vestries even in an area as marginal as the parish of Saint Medard or the Faubourg Saint Marcel by 1830, then in other parts of the capital, where there was a high concentration of lawyers, government officials, wholesale dealers, bankers, notaries, commoners living off their investments, men of even less problematic membership in the bourgeoisie, it is even more likely that men with these higher status occupations dominated the vestries elsewhere as well. But, without actually looking at the occupations of churchwardens in other parts of the city, especially those of the parishes in the center on the right bank between the Boulevard des Italiens and the rue Saint-Denis and the rue Saint-Martin, it is equally possible that in other parishes the office of churchwarden was considered so unimportant that most were shopkeepers and tradesmen there, too. (See Louis Bergeron, Banquiers, negciants et manufacturiers parisiens du Directoire a l'Empire [Paris: Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences sociales; Paris; The Hague; New York: Mouton, 1978], the map between pages 32 and 33 showing the locations of bankers, exchange agents, wholesale merchants, textile merchants, grocers, and pharmaceutical, health, and household goods in 1803; see also the maps in Adeline Daumard, La Bourgeoisie parisienne de 1815 a 1848 [Paris: Albin Michel, 1996].) In other words, without what social scientists call a "control group," it is difficult to be persuaded that evidence for one parish and one district applies to the whole city. Garrioch's work needs to be complemented by an investigation of at least two more parishes in other parts of the city, areas widely acknowledged by historians of Paris to have been bourgeois quarters in the eighteenth century, like those near the rue de la Chausse d'Antin or those in the Mail or Saint-Eustache district, or those near the Louvre, the Palais Royal, and the Place du Châtelet where the bankers, wholesale merchants, rentiers, and financiers lived.
Second, careful attention to Garrioch's tables of churchwardens' occupations shows that the majority of the men who served as churchwardens for Saint Medard even under the Restoration had occupations that Garrioch classifies as merchants and manufacturers. Some could be prosperous shopkeepers and tradesmen. Although it is true that professionals, scientists, and government officials made an appearance among the churchwardens of Saint Medard, they never became the majority. Merchants, manufacturers, shopkeepers, and tradesman persist among their ranks. A further problem with Garrioch's evidence is the small number of examples for which he has information other than occupation. Garrioch himself argues that occupation alone is insufficient to identify someone's class affiliation. Yet, this is all the information he provides on the vast majority of local officeholders. Thus, many of his arguments rest on only a few of the members of the parade of committees which serve as the foundation of his book. The size of these bodies varied from 80 to 11. The very fact that he can say more about a few of the men who served on each committee suggests the few were exceptional. And in all likelihood they left more traces in the records or were easier to find more information about because they were wealthier than the majority of the committeemen. Thus, the men about whom Garrioch has additional information--family network, wealth, and residence--are unlikely to have been representative of all churchwardens or committeemen. The examples that receive the majority of Garrioch's attention and on which he builds his case may be misleading when it comes to the bourgeoisie in Paris as a whole.
The hypothesis Garrioch rejected, that "the evolution [he] was observing was peculiar to the urban fringe, part of the integration of the faubourgs into the urban core" (p. 13), is a more plausible explanation of the occupational changes he observes among the churchwardens of Saint Medard and among the other local committee members than is his attempt to see in it the formation of the bourgeoisie of Paris. Paris already had a bourgeoisie, but its members resided on the right bank in the center, and they expressed their solidarity through other institutions than the vestries, in particular through the trades corporations and in debates which were begun in salons and in coffeehouses and then circulated through publications, pamphlets, periodicals, revues, and newspapers. The area encompassing the parish of Saint Medard and the Faubourg Saint Marcel continued to be among the poorest in Paris right up to 1848. (See the maps in Daumard for confirmation.)
Garrioch's book is more about the transformation of local government in Paris than it is about the formation of the bourgeoisie in the French capital. But his treatment of this theme is flawed, too. His discussion of the reorganization of the government of the capital is not consistent over the 140 years his book covers. For example, Garrioch says nothing about the relationship between the district and section committees, on the one hand, and the Paris Commune (municipal council), on the other, between 1789 and 1794. Nor does he explain in parts one and two, which concern the century before 1789, the relationship between the vestries and the other institutions of Paris's government, although he does give this subject some attention in the concluding chapter. The reason these relationships are important is that so much of the history Garrioch tells concerns the history of public affairs administration and of local government institutions, especially how their power was gradually eroded by and subordinated to the national government.
In his version of this story, Garrioch makes it appear that the inauguration in 1789 of elections and a franchise based on wealth (as well as age and residence) intended to give local residents control over local public affairs in the capital--a "bourgeois" as opposed to an "aristocratic" (hereditary) or venal (also "bourgeois") system of government--did not prevent the subordination of public affairs in the capital to control by the national government. But without more information on the relationship between the district and section committees and the Paris Commune between 1789 and 1794, it is not clear when this centralization began, whether it continued unabated or proceeded by fits and starts.
In the concluding chapter Garrioch argues that centralization began in the seventeenth century with the erosion of the powers of the quarteniers, cinquanteniers, and dixainiers and with restrictions on the trades corporations or guilds. But he does not tell us whether or not he believes the grip of the national government was loosened temporarily between the storming of the Bastille and the onset of the Terror, and readers cannot figure it out for themselves because several pieces are missing from the institutional puzzle for the period.
Another problem concerning Garrioch's evidence crops up in his account of the four years of the Directory from November 1795 to November 1799. He does make it clear that the capital's local government was reorganized into 12 arrondissements, each incorporating four of the previous 48 sections, and that the Twelfth Arrondissement included the Finistere section and the parish of Saint Medard. Each arrondissement had seven administrators. Each year either three or four were elected by voters, men who had to meet tax, i.e., wealth, residence, and age qualifications. But Garrioch tells us nothing about these annual elections or about the administrators chosen between 1795 and 1799 for the Twelfth Arrondissement. Instead, Garrioch produces a table of the occupations of 19 of 33 members he is able to identify who sat on the Surveillance Committee of the Twelfth Arrondissement in the Years III to IV. Perhaps this silence is explained by the absence of records for the arrondissement's primary assemblies. (See "Note on the Sources," p. 354.) Yet, Garrioch has the temerity to conclude, "On both a social and a political level, therefore, the new arrangements encouraged the mixing of the Parisian bourgeoisie and the formation of contacts beyond the locality. The administrators of the Twelfth Municipality were drawn from all four of the former sections and represented the full range of bourgeois occupations" (p. 206). This assertion is supported with one footnote referencing a dossier in the National Archives, FibII Seine 8, 25. If these records give the occupations of the administrators of the twelfth Arrondissement, why does Garrioch refrain from listing them?
But it is not clear that even the occupations of the Surveillance Committee members are relevant to the history of the Twelfth Arrondissement under the Directory. The "Years III-IV" cover the 24 months from September 1794 to September 1796. Only those who sat after November 1795 tell us anything about the Directory. Those who were sitting in the Year IV could have had seats when the year began in September 1795, but at that time the Convention was still in place. It was not succeeded by the Directory until November 1795. But, if the committee members for the Year IV were eliminated when the Directory was installed in November, then Garrioch's table of occupations of the Surveillance Committee tells us nothing about the Directory.
Not only is much of Garrioch's case built on evidence that is inadequate or insubstantial, but his understanding of the bourgeoisie as a social class is plagued by contradictions. The problems with Garrioch's conception of the bourgeoisie begin in the introduction where he presents his definition of the social class whose history he attempts to reconstruct. First, Garrioch adopts a definition of the bourgeoisie different from that more commonly employed by other historians of eighteenth-century France. In the most influential work on the pre-revolutionary bourgeoisie, like that of George V. Taylor and Colin Lucas, this social class has been shown to have its wealth, like that of aristocracy and the nobility, in property--in land, real estate, government rentes. (See George V. Taylor, "Non- Capitalist Wealth and the Origins of the French Revolution," American Historical Review 72 : 469-96; Colin Lucas, "Nobles, Bourgeois, and the Origins of the French Revolution," Past & Present 60 :84-126.) Tax farmers, notaries, and lawyers have been mentioned as occupations typical of the pre-revolutionary French bourgeoisie. The eighteenth-century French bourgeoisie has been thought of (and written about) primarily in the same way that Garrioch quotes maître de requêtes Patry describing the haute bourgeoisie in 1821: "bankers, notaries, lawyers or retired lawyers all major property owners in Paris" (pp. 245, 250).
But Garrioch claims that this definition of the bourgeoisie is anachronistic. Garrioch argues that the "commercial middle classes" also belonged to the Parisian bourgeoisie in the eighteenth century. By "commercial middle classes" he means merchants, manufacturers, and master craftsmen. These occupations were also those of many of the men who made up the sans-culottes studied by Richard Cobb and Albert Soboul, but whom these historians saw in opposition to the bourgeoisie, as Garrioch himself acknowledges (p. 4). But, in Garrioch's view men like these deserved the designation "bourgeois" in the eighteenth century just as much as maître de requêtes Patry's tax farmers, lawyers, and notaries. What they all had in common, according to Garrioch, was that they did not make a living from the "arts mécaniques," that is, they did not work with their hands (p. 54). Rather, they were employers and businessmen. Their incomes may have come from selling wholesale or retail merchandise or from manufacturing goods, but they had more in common with "the elites" than they did with the "people." Yet, in George Rude's The Crowd in the French Revolution (London; Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 1952), the Faubourg Saint Marcel was second only to the Faubourg Saint Antoine in the rate of participation of its residents in the grandes journées, great street demonstrations of the sans-culottes, the ordinary people of Paris, during the French Revolution; in fact, after 1791, they provided the largest contingent of participants (See Rude, p. 94).
Thus, Garrioch has lowered the line of demarcation separating the eighteenth-century bourgeoisie of the capital from the working class(es) beneath them. In doing so, by implication the radical phase of the revolution, the Year II, becomes a continuation of the bourgeois revolution which began among the deputies to the Third Estate in Versailles in May 1789. The sans-culottes of the Year II were just as much members of the Parisian bourgeoisie as were the deputies of the Third Estate who swore the Tennis Court oath in June 1789. In terms of social class, the French Revolution was a bourgeois revolution from start to finish; there is no problem of derapage in 1793-94, the word coined by François Furet and Denis Richet for the revolution's "skidding off course" under the Terror.
Yet, if lowering the bar that separated the bourgeoisie from the working classes in the eighteenth century does not produce enough problems by itself, Garrioch further asserts that defining the bourgeoisie is not simply a matter of occupations or even wealth. Rather, it is a matter of political behavior (p. 7). He justifies his position in two ways. First, he claims this is the way Edward Thompson defined class, "not so much by wealth and occupation alone as by behavior" (p. 7). Second, Garrioch simply asserts: "political office was central to the identity of the middle classes of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century France" (p. 7). I shall take up these two justifications Garrioch gives for considering political office the sine qua non of middle class identity. (Note that Garrioch's text shifts from discussing the "bourgeoisie" after he includes in it the "commercial middle classes" to the "middle classes" or to the "notables." It is also important to note that by office-holding Garrioch does not mean possession of venal offices.) First, I shall take up his reference to Thompson's definition of social class. Then I shall consider Garrioch's definition of the Parisian bourgeoisie as political office holders. Garrioch's paraphrasing of Thompson does not accurately capture what Thompson stated in the preface to his book. What Thompson wrote was "that class is a relationship, and not a thing" (E. Thompson, The Making of the English Working Class (1963), p. 11). Class Thompson understood as "an historical phenomenon, unifying a number of disparate and seemingly unconnected events, both in the raw material of experience and in consciousness" (p. 9). Class, Thompson wrote, was "not a 'structure' nor...even a 'category,' but...something which in fact happens...in human relationships....And class happens when some men, as a result of common experiences (inherited or shared), feel and articulate the identity of their interests as between themselves and as against other men whose interests are different from (and usually opposed to) theirs" (p. 9). Garrioch's view of class as behavior reduces class, from Thompson's view of it, as something that happens and as a relationship, to a thing, political behavior. And the specific political behavior Garrioch takes as the sine qua non of bourgeois status in Paris between 1690 and 1830 is office-holding, in particular, the office of churchwarden, although he does consider a variety of committees at the lowest level of government administration.
Garrioch has completely ignored the part of Thompson's definition of class that requires that the individuals who make up the "class" see their interests as different from the interests of others. In Garrioch's 140 years of Paris's history there is no one against whom the local office holders he studied defined their interests. There are no offensive aristocrats or nobles, no contentious workers. Admittedly, chapter one shows the opposing interests of curés and churchwardens in the mid-eighteenth century in Saint Medard parish. But Garrioch does not use this conflict to argue that it was a difference in class interests that divided the two groups of men. Rather, he uses the dispute to demonstrate that the lay office of churchwarden embodied power. Although the struggle in part concerned control over material resources, goods and payments related to parish affairs, it was not "largely determined by the productive relations into which men are born--or enter involuntarily," which is how Thompson elaborated particularly "class" experience (Thompson, The Making..., p. 9). Rather, a good part of the motivation behind the eighteenth-century Jansenist conflict in Saint Medard parish involved spiritual issues. Moreover, not only is the eighteenth-century Jansenist controversy in Saint Medard parish not a conflict whose analysis might reveal the interests of the bourgeoisie as a class, it is just about the only conflict that Garrioch discusses. He makes references to the sugar riots of 1792, but he does not discuss or analyze them. He discusses the conflict over the administration of the Bievre River between 1796 and 1805, but not in terms of class. Rather, he approaches this conflict as an example of centralization of authority in the organization of the capital's public affairs.
Finally, my remarks on Garrioch's definition of a bourgeois as a man who holds an office will, fortunately, be brief. In stating that office holding was "central to the identity of the middle-classes of eighteenth- and nineteenth-France," Garrioch turns his argument into a tautology: the men who held the office of churchwarden and who took seats on the local committees are bourgeois because to be a bourgeois a man must be a churchwarden or sit on a local committee. Thus irrespective of occupation, wealth, family network, length of residence in the parish, office holders were bourgeois, by definition. The tautology bourgeois-equals-office-holder-equals-bourgeois was all the more true after 1789 when wealth became a requirement for candidates for public office, even though they were elected, and for voters, even if they were only casting ballots for lists of men from whom the government chose the actual officials. Thus, Garrioch's "discovery" that the Parisian bourgeoisie was formed by 1830 is not surprising. Its formation by that date was guaranteed by his definition of a bourgeois and by the changes in the qualifications for office holding at the local level that were imposed under the governments that succeeded one another in France after 1789.
In sum, Garrioch gives the reader a delightful chapter on the Jansenist controversy in Saint Medard parish between 1730 and 1760 and some insight into the changes in how the capital was governed and by whom between 1690 and 1830. But his book tells us very little about the formation of the bourgeoisie as a class in Paris between the reign of Louis XIV and the fall of Charles X.
Review Commissioned for H-Urban by Pierre-Yves Saunier, CNRS, <email@example.com>
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Anne Meyering. Review of Garrioch, David, The Formation of the Parisian Bourgeoisie, 1690-1830.
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