January 19, 2008
- Working Class Writing in France,
- Literacy in France,
- Singing Societies,
- Song Writing,
How to Cite
Rowe, Steven. 2008. “The Politics of Literature and Literacy: Popular Song Writing and Proletarian Poetry in Post-Revolutionary France”. Historical Studies in Education / Revue D’histoire De L’éducation 19 (2), 13-36. https://historicalstudiesineducation.ca/index.php/edu_hse-rhe/article/view/361.
This essay examines the politics of song writing and singing in working-class singing societies in Paris, known as "goguettes," in the early nineteenth century. The practices of writing and singing songs in these societies defined the relationships among participants by equality and good feelings, resisting the hierarchy and domination of the laissez-faire social order. At the same time, these song-writing and singing practices also produced symbolic forms of masculine authority and domination – placing working-class women in positions of subordination. By analyzing this complex politics of writing in this particular case of the "goguettes," this essay argues for recovering working-class writings as significant sources for historians of literacy and for examining the historically specific social and political contexts for the production of specific forms of writing and reading as a way of studying the historical meanings of literacy.