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Migrant identities in revolutionary Paris: Savoyard stereotypes and experiences of a changing environment

McKnight, Amy Jane (2011) Migrant identities in revolutionary Paris: Savoyard stereotypes and experiences of a changing environment. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

Due to Embargo and/or Third Party Copyright restrictions, this thesis is not available in this service.

Abstract

David Garrioch estimates that in 1789 two thirds of the Parisian population came from other parts of France, yet historians have shown comparatively little interest in how these migrants interacted with the wider Parisian population and the Parisian authorities during the revolutionary period. Migrants were drawn to Paris in search of work opportunities that were unavailable in their own province, or to support their families during the hiatus in the agricultural season or during periods of economic crisis. Using a wide range of source material this thesis explores the experiences of migrants from a variety of French provinces and from Savoy, exploring the different types of migration and the ‘push and pull’ factors behind a move to Paris. It will examine the ‘failed migration experience’ and the challenges faced by migrants on their journey to Paris and in the first few weeks and months of settling in and finding work and accommodation in Paris. Factors behind a successful migrant experience will also be considered, highlighting the importance of the migrant network in Paris and in the provinces in helping the newly arrived migrant become established through the provision of work and accommodation. The thesis will show how provincial and foreign migrants were portrayed in cultural source material from the late Seventeenth to the Nineteenth century. An investigation into contemporary accounts of the personality, physical appearance, family life and work habits of migrants will illustrate how common stereotypes like the ‘petit ramoneur Savoyard’, the ‘Paysan Perverti(e)’ and the ‘vagrant’ were constructed, making migrants stand out from the wider Parisian population. The case study of Fanchon la Vielleuse shows the interaction between cultural and historical representations of migrants and how these could become embedded in the popular mindset. These stereotypes will be a continuing theme throughout the thesis and will provide a context in which it is possible to understand the attitudes of the wider population and the authorities towards migrants. In using police and judicial records from the pre-revolution and revolutionary periods it is possible to compare and contrast such stereotypes with the genuine migrant experience. The thesis will explore the attitudes of the Parisian authorities towards these migrants in the discourses on crime and public safety, charity and poor relief, and the debate on nation, citizenship and identity, tracing both changes and continuities in their approach from the Ancien Regime to the Revolution. It aims to uncover how the Revolution impacted on migration traditions and how migrants responded to this monumental series of events, including an analysis of migrant agendas and their understanding of and response to the Revolution and the changing judicial process. This provokes an examination of the relevance of the Revolution to the ordinary migrant in Paris. Was this a step towards the realisation of a French Nation at the expense of multiple regional identities, or did migrants remain unconvinced by this collective identity?

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Additional Information: Due to copyright restrictions the full text of this thesis cannot be made available online. Access to the printed version is available once any embargo periods have expired.
Keywords: Savoyard, Paris, revolution, migration, identity, stereotypes, France
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
D History General and Old World > DC France
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > Adam Smith Business School > Economics
College of Arts > School of Humanities > History
Supervisor's Name: Munck, Prof. Thomas
Date of Award: 2011
Embargo Date: 23 May 2014
Depositing User: Miss Amy McKnight
Unique ID: glathesis:2011-2576
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 25 May 2011
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2012 13:57
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/2576

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