Lecture 4 - A Nation? Peasants, Language, and French Identity

author: John Merriman, Department of History, Yale University
recorded by: Yale University
published: March 18, 2011,   recorded: September 2007,   views: 2501
released under terms of: Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives (CC-BY-ND)
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The problematic question of when people in France began to consider themselves part of a French nation, with a specifically French national identity, has often been explained in terms of the modernizing progress of the French language at the expense of regional dialects. In fact, the development of French identity in rural France can be seen to have taken place alongside a continued tradition of local cultural practices, particularly in the form of patois. French identity must be understood in terms of the relationship between the official discourse of the metropolitan center and the unique practices of the country's regions, rather than in terms of the unambiguous triumph of the former over the latter.

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