Communications and National Identity in Early Modern France

Overview of the research project

This website reports the outcomes of a research project that addresses a fundamental issue in current debates over nationhood and national identity - that of the ideological and discursive bases on which nations are built - by studying, through an innovative set of methodologies, the roots in Early Modern France of contemporary national consciousness.

The project identifies the survival, indeed the extension of particularist ideas about the "French people" and France within the universalist context of Enlightenment thought.

Through a range of methodologies of discourse analysis, it demonstrates how representations of national character were already being disseminated, as today, in a broad range of literary, philosophical and political texts.

The project places the growth of national identity in the context of the communication structures of the time and of the range of available media, investigating the ways in which an ever broader spectrum of information channels affected the evolution of French national life.