The Landscape of Populism

in The Heroic City

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print November 2009 | ISBN: 9780226870236
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226870175 | DOI:
The Landscape of Populism

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)


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This chapter examines the narratives that etched the portrait of an archetypal Paris, a mosaic of picturesque quartiers populated by le peuple de Paris for whom the street was a vibrant collective space. Through the late 1940s and 1950s, street fairs and dances, parades, student processions, and the May Day and fête nationale celebrations contended with endless commemoration ceremonies, star-studded public concerts, and radio shows broadcast live in the streets. More than simple nostalgia, this vision was understood as quintessentially French. It invented, reproduced, and validated treasured images of the city and its people and landscape. Many intellectuals argued that everyday life harbored the capacity for social change. Urban observers shared an almost ethnographic inquisitiveness, a new angle on the local that searched out the genuine, authentic Paris and its people. They produced the images and stories and the invented landscapes of populism and transformed urban space into place hedged in by social consciousness.

Keywords: Paris; populism; urban space; social change; celebrations; nostalgia; landscapes; street fairs; ceremonies; collective space

Chapter.  16992 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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