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The material universe and the construction of the bourgeoise identity: the case Le Couteulx





The central historiographical issue that this article raises is how to measure the non-verbal dimension in the construction of a bourgeois identity within the Le Couteulx family from the seventeenth to the beginning of the twentieth century. The question of the conversion of the material world into identifiable social values depends on the « fluidity » of what constitutes « normal ». Everything cannot be revealed simply by the expression of social status in the public sphere ; in addition, others factors like the converging strategies of survival, of social reproduction, and of the affirmation, well beyond the Revolution, of a « bourgeois order » must be taken into account. By analyzing the head offices of companies, the practices of capital management, and the complexities of « anoblissement », it is possible to describe a social dynamic that eludes the « classical sources » of discourse on mobility.

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