Politicians on the market? Framing French consumerism in an age of regime change (Paris, c. 1780 - c. 1870) 01/11/2020 - 31/10/2024


This research proposal aims to study the political embedding of French consumption (i.e. 'French consumerism'), and questions how political debates have shaped commercial parlor in an age of regime change (c.1780-c.1870). Heavily indebted by the idea that the shift from an absolutist state to a modern liberal nation caused a general 'depoliticisation' of emerging French consumer society, historians have, in general, refrained from analysing how consumption was actually embedded in political discourses. This proposal's first objective is to reconstruct and analyse emerging political visions on the relationship between the French consumer and society. Through discursively analysing discussions about consumerism in parliamentary sources, this research will show how competing political ideologies (i.e. liberalism, republicanism and conservatism) have tried to frame consumption as a political-ideological project. Our second objective is to test whether these political reimaginings of consumption had a concrete influence on commercial discourse, more in particular on advertising language. By a serial and long-term discursive analysis of a varied range of commercial advertisements, the particular political framing of consumer choice and advertisement parlor will become clear. Given its unique position as both centre of political change and prime consumer market of the nation, Paris – capital of fashion, luxury and politics – will prove to be the ideal test case for this study.


Research team(s)

Project type(s)

  • Research Project