Book Series Comparative Rural History Network- Publications, vol. 19

Making Politics in the European Countryside, 1780s - 1930s

Laurent Brassart, Corinne Marache, Juan Pan-Montojo, Leen Van Molle (eds)

  • Pages: 332 p.
  • Size:156 x 234 mm
  • Illustrations:2 tables b/w., 8 maps b/w, 2 maps color
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:2022

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-59506-1
  • Paperback
  • Available
  • ISBN: 978-2-503-59507-8
  • E-book
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This book offers a fresh look at the political agency in the European countryside, from the late eighteenth century onwards up to WWII.


Laurent Brassart, senior lecturer, early modern and modern history, Université de Lille 3, France 
Corinne Marache, professor of modern history, Université de Bordeaux Montaigne, France
Juan Pan-Montojo, professor of modern history, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain
Leen Van Molle, em. professor of social history, KU Leuven, Belgium


This book offers a fresh look at the so-called ‘politicisation’ of the European countryside, from the late eighteenth century to the 1930s, in the context of waning monarchies, rising and staggering parliamentary nation states, and fascist and communist dictatorships. The concept ‘politicisation’, however, is misleading. The book argues that Europe’s  rural societies were far from immobile spaces, set in routines, that had to be politised from outside and against the grain.

The thirteen articles in the volume demonstrate that, instead of politicisation from scratch, political thinking and acting of country dwellers – from Scandinavia to Spain, from Moravia to France – evolved in a constant, dialectical relationship with their urban, regional and national surroundings: they reacted to wars, revolutions and shifting borders, their political loyalties changed, so did their political agendas, their repertoires of collective action and their role in the establishment, successes and failures of political parties, separate agrarian parties included.


Editorial introduction, Corinne Marache (Univ. Bordeaux Montaigne)

Part 1. The shock of wars and revolutions, c. 1780-1850

Introduction, Laurent Brassart (Univ. Lille)

1. Jean-Pierre Jessenne (Univ. Lille), “Consensus or conflicts? Politics in towns and villages between the Seine and the North Sea, c. 1780-1830”
2. Laurent Brassart and Maxime Kaci (Univ. Lille), “From rural homelands to national bordered lands? Nation building and politicization in border villages, 1789-1815”
3. Niels Grüne (Univ. Innsbruck), “Social inequality and the dynamics of political translocalisation: rural communities in nineteenth-century Germany”
4. Jesper Lundsby Skov (Univ. Southern Denmark), “Peasant politicians and democracy. How Peasants contributed to the democratization of Denmark, 1788-1849”

Part 2. Shifting repertoires of collective action, c. 1850-1920

Introduction, Juan Pan Montojo (Univ. autonoma Madrid)

5. Alexandre Dupont (Univ. Strasbourg), “A war within the war: peasant’ attacks against the forests during the Franco-Prussian war, 1870-1871”
6. Oscar Bascuñan Añover (Univ. Complutense Madrid), “Punishment metet out by the community.  Politics and popular justice in rural Spain, 1895-1923”
7. Nadine Vivier (Univ. Le Mans), “Electoral practices in French villages at the time of male universal suffrage. From rural collective action to individualism”
8. Edouard Lynch (Univ. Lyon II), “Collective peasant struggles under the Third Republic in France: an opportunity to learn and deploy new protest tactics”

Part 3. Political parties in the countryside, c. 1850-1940

Introduction, Leen Van Molle (Univ. Leuven)

9. Milan Repa (Univ. Brno), “Between the nation and self-interest: the Czech Peasantry in Moravia at the Daybreak of Civil Society, 1848-1914”
10. Erik Bengtsonn and Josefin Hägglund (Univ. Lund), “Agrarian Politics in Sweden, c. 1850-1950”
11. Florencia Peyrou (Univ. autonoma Madrid), “Spanish republican discourses on the countryside, 1840-1894”
12. Jordi Planas and Raimon Soler-Becerro (Univ. Barcelona), “Agricultural associations and political parties in the transition to mass politics in Catalonia, 1890-1936”
13. Miguel Cabo (Univ. Santiago de Compostela), “Agrarian parties in Europe prior to 1945 and beyond”