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By Jerrold Seigel

To be glossy may well suggest many various issues, yet for nineteenth-century Europeans 'modernity' urged a brand new kind of existence during which bourgeois actions, humans, attitudes and values all performed key roles. Jerrold Seigel's panoramic new heritage bargains a magisterial and hugely unique account of the binds among modernity and bourgeois lifestyles, arguing that they are often top understood no longer by way of the increase and fall of social sessions, yet as positive aspects in their universal participation in increasing and thickening networks that associated jointly far-off energies and assets throughout financial, political and cultural lifestyles. Exploring the various configurations of those networks in England, France and Germany, he exhibits how their styles gave upward thrust to exact kinds of modernity in each one kingdom and formed the rhythm and nature of swap throughout spheres as various as politics, cash and finance, gender kin, morality, and literary, creative and musical lifestyles.

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Extra resources for Modernity and Bourgeois Life: Society, Politics, and Culture in England, France and Germany since 1750

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16 / Introduction: ends and means provides a common frame of action or reference. These linkages often set limits to what individuals can do within and through them: markets impose competition and discipline, bureaucracies subject people to regulations, professions set up obligatory standards and procedures, or minimum levels of competence. But each network also makes it possible for people associated by way of it to accomplish things they could not do in separation, giving them access to connections and resources made available through it.

Even as he declared all history to be the history of class conflict he recognized that every large social category consisted of many sub-groups with diverse and competing orientations and interests, economic, geographic, occupational, and cultural; conflicts existed within as well as between classes. But he argued that these internal dissensions would be overcome as struggles with people in other classes pushed workers or bourgeois to join together in order to act effectively against their enemies.

Each of the media of access proper to one or another particular network operates to some degree in the others. Money is of course at work in all of them, but so in a way are considerations of legitimacy and standards of competence or skill operative in the market. ). States rely on market exchanges (not always free of control, to be sure) to sustain their population and develop the wealth from which tax revenues come, as well as to provide other goods that governments require, such as weapons for armies; and they depend on communicative networks to diffuse information, to educate or influence citizens and officials, and to provide relevant scientific knowledge.

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