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Title: 'Giving the worker his house' : intervention, interaction, and inaction in three French cities, c. 1840-80
Author: Clement, Will
ISNI:       0000 0004 7653 0091
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2018
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The history of working-class housing in nineteenth-century France is dominated by narratives of isolated successes, legislation at the end of the century, and the experience of housing in Paris above all other cities. Because of this, the significance and diversity of provincial French experiences have been overlooked. This obscures the very real and important role that different local elite strategies concerning the 'housing problem' played in provincial cities through the century, regardless of whether they impacted national housing policy. Just as important as direct interventions - which sought to improve legislation or build new houses - were strategies of interaction, which focused on working-class families impacted by poor housing without necessarily improving conditions, and self-conscious strategies of inaction, whereby provincial elites consciously chose not to intervene in the domain of workers housing because of what they judged more pressing economic, social, or political concerns. By comparing the strategies employed by industrial and municipal elites in the three textile cities of Roubaix, Mulhouse, and Lyon between c. 1840-80, this thesis explores the multifaceted nature of the 'housing question' and responses to it. In this thesis, I reveal the diversity of elite strategies regarding housing, which were driven by a distinct combination of different local, regional, national, and international conditions. Through incorporating both failure and inaction alongside successful intervention and distinctive interactions, I not only overcome the dominant narratives in histories of housing, but I also offer a fresh interpretation of the social history of the heterogeneous, overlapping, and occasionally conflicting different elites that existed in nineteenth-century provincial France. The ways local industrial and municipal elites chose or chose not to tackle their specifically local housing situations reveal to us the different ways that interactions with workers and their domestic milieu shaped the construction of identities in nineteenth-century France.
Supervisor: de Bellaigue, Christina ; Whyte, William Sponsor: Arts and Humanities Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Social history ; French History ; History