Julie Hardwick

in The Oxford Handbook of the Ancien Régime

Published in print November 2011 | ISBN: 9780199291205
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191744105 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in History


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The historiography of gender in the Ancien Régime has explored two sets of interrelated issues. One is the question of the changing nature of men's and women's experiences and the ways in which they related to each other. Another is the way in which gender had an integral role in shifting cultural, political, and—explored to a much lesser extent this far—economic patterns. In both cases, historians have debated whether gender hierarchy intensified and women's opportunities became more constrained, whether changing patterns reformulated gendered expectations but not in a way that a “better or worse” paradigm is appropriate, or whether new forms of gender relations created new opportunities. In the Ancien Régime, gender made a difference: for all social ranks whether peasants, artisans, or nobles, for economic matters as market practices intensified and a consumer revolution ushered in new fashions for Parisians and peasants alike, for cultural processes as traditional categories were problematized and new possibilities were debated, and for political debates as novel forms of politics as well as innovative ideas about sovereignty and authority emerged.

Keywords: gender; Ancien Régime; economic patterns; gender relations; consumer revolution; cultural processes

Article.  7533 words. 

Subjects: Gender and Sexuality

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