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date: 06 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The French Revolution involved not only a transformation of institutions but also a transformation of the personal and social identities that had structured people’s lives prior to 1789. Royal subjects were now citizens, nobles and members of other privileged groups lost all legal recognition of their special status, and Jews and blacks were no longer defined as outsiders in French society, whereas women, whose identity was supposedly dictated by ‘nature’, found themselves excluded from political power. The identity transformations of the revolutionary period are of great theoretical interest, since they challenge the prevailing tendency to regard established identities as difficult to change.

Keywords: Aristocrat, citizen, counter-revolutionary, French Revolution, identity, sans-culotte, slavery, women

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