Participation, Discussion, and Representation: The 1848 Club Experience

Special Report: Participating in History
By Samuel Hayat

After the 1848 revolution, political clubs proliferated, especially in Paris. As heirs of multiple traditions, they took on multiple roles (discussion, preparing for elections, protest), and their status was uncertain. Through a series of challenges, two interpretations are gradually constructed. A participatory conception of clubs, carrying a dimension of sovereignty and “representing the represented,? appeared at the demonstration on March 17. The day of April 16 saw the emergence of a discursive conception, confining the clubs to a role of discussion. On May 15, these two views clashed, and the first was invalidated.


  • Second Republic (France)
  • political participation
  • political representation
  • societies
  • demonstrations
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