Milipop 2023 : Popular Militias and the Defence of Order in Post-Revolutionary Monarchies
Call For Papers
This project aims to stimulate reflection on post-revolutionary monarchical regimes by examining the way in which they authorised or encouraged popular participation in the defence of order through irregular militias. The choice of this object of enquiry lies at the crossroads of two themes that have been fertile grounds for research in recent years, the history of contemporary monarchies and that of popular participation in the maintenance of order.
In a collective essay on the relationship between the nineteenth century and modernity, Monika Wienfort reminded us that, until 1918, the nineteenth century was also the century of monarchies in Europe (Wienfort 2019a; also 2019b; and Meriggi 2021). New perspectives of study have insisted not only on the permanence of monarchy as a form of socio-political organisation of European states throughout the nineteenth century, but also on the capacity of monarchical institutions - contrary to the dominant vision of the process of political modernisation - to adapt to the changes which, from the revolutionary rupture, have profoundly disrupted the conditions of exercise of sovereignty and the relations between royal power and social groups (De Lorenzo and Gutiérrez Lloret 2020; Verri 2018; Legoy and Tort 2020; Guazzaloca 2009; Becquet and Frederking 2009). Attention has thus been focused on the different responses that monarchies have adopted in the face of pressures that challenged their traditional power structures: far from being limited either to resistance or to a forced and passive adaptation to the demands for change, the attitude of monarchic circles was also characterised by the search for innovative solutions. Collective publications have thus called for a re-examination of the 1814-1815 moment from the perspective of transition or discontinuity rather than a simple return to the past (Rausch and Pestel 2017; Fureix and Lyon-Caen 2014; Laven and Riall 2000) and for moving beyond the paradigm of restoration or 'reaction' applied to conservative monarchies (Caron and Luis 2015; López and Solans 2017). One of the common threads of these studies has been the relationship between monarchies and the rapid growth of the political sphere, characteristic of post-revolutionary societies. This work shows that many monarchical regimes responded to this challenge not only through the tools of control and repression of their population, but also by trying to build reservoirs of consensus through new channels of communication and legitimisation of their power, as well as through new forms of involvement of the popular masses in the defence of order, without neglecting the tensions, and even confrontations, that these issues raised within the ruling elites and the sectors of opinion supporting royal power.
To contribute to this renewal of perspectives on post-revolutionary monarchies, we propose to focus on popular participation in the defence of order through irregular armed bodies. Recent works have indeed drawn attention to the persistence of popular polices or militias throughout the contemporary period, thus challenging a Weberian approach to policing that has long limited interest in the latter, namely the progressive triumph of the modern state and its administrative apparatus over more traditional, local and popular forms of policing (Renglet and Berger 2019; Davis and Pereira 2003). Another source of inspiration could be found in the work of political science and sociology-anthropology, which has developed an empirical and micro-analytical approach to conflict through the study of 'militia configurations' in post-colonial terrains (Chauveau et al. 2012; Quesnay 2022). In the wake of these studies, we believe that the study of militias and their integration into security arrangements makes it possible not only to rethink the maintenance of order, but also the modes of governance of populations, the construction of sovereignty or the formation of socio-political identities. This approach leads to attention being paid to hybrid forms of authority and social control, as well as to ‘grey’ or informal areas of governance, which can be grasped at a micro level. The notion of hybrid political order, as used in political science, can in this respect provide a challenging analytical tool for rethinking post-revolutionary monarchies, as it draws attention to systems in which governance is shared between different types of actors and at different scales, and in which there is no clear delineation between formal and informal, state and non-state dimensions (Clements et al. 2007). In this view, local militias are thus not exclusively a matter of state power, spontaneous popular demand or 'bottom-up' initiatives, but rather a shared or negotiated process of order construction.
The period between the end of the 1780s and the 1870s saw an abundance of popular militia initiatives. The period began with the revolutionary break, which saw the appearance of a new model of citizen's guard in France and then its dissemination in Europe, but also the reactivation elsewhere of the popular militias of the Ancien Régime with a function of controlling the population against the threat of the spread of revolutionary ideas. After the transition of 1814-1815, the creation of militias was at the heart of the project to reinvent the monarchical institution and the civil conflicts that accompanied this process. The 1870s finally marked a moment of decline with the abolition of the popular militias by the regimes that had them (in France in 1872, in Italy and in Spain in 1876, Portugal having abolished its Guarda Nacional as early as 1847 and the Habsburg Empire in 1851), even if they sometimes survived in other forms, such as the Bürgerkorps in Austria-Hungary. Although the institution of the national guard in France and its importation into regions under French domination have been the subject of a number of studies, these have generally favoured a primarily legal and functional approach and emphasised the revolutionary scope of these militias, to the detriment of the variety of social and political appropriations and the role of defending the monarchical order that they were also able to assume according to local contexts and times. The thesis recently defended by Mathias Pareyre on the National Guards of Marseille and Lyon from 1830 to 1871, under the title Taking up the gun to defend or overthrow the authorities, directly raises this question (Pareyre 2022). Moreover, the revolutionary-inspired citizen's guards are far from being the only forms of popular militia to have existed during our period, whether they are inherited from the Ancien Régime or new models developed in a post-revolutionary context. However, these have so far attracted very little historiographical interest, with the exception of a few studies on the Voluntarios Realistas in Spain (1823-1833) and others on the Centurioni in the Papal States (1831-1847) (Martín 2020; Sarlin 2019). The investigation starts from the assumption that it is useful to consider these experiences as a whole, in order to highlight the diversity or competition of the models present, but also the multiple forms of circulations and transfers between models and practices.
We call for contributions to the history of popular militias in post-revolutionary monarchic regimes in the form of case studies, comparisons or reflections on the circulation between various experiences, which should explore all or part of the following lines of analysis:
The dynamics leading to the institution of popular militias, or to their abolition;
The discourses surrounding the usefulness and legitimacy of these militias, and their effects on the public debate, particularly in their polemical or conflictual dimension;
The institutional and regulatory frameworks of irregular militias, their place in law enforcement or repression;
The social composition of the militias and their officers, recruitment methods, the response of the population to calls for mobilisation;
The material conditions of recruitment and service in the militias, the material dimension of their functioning (uniforms, weapons);
Inter-regional variations within the same policy area, and between urban and rural contexts;
The relationship between militias and the population, their effects on public order and conflict;
The participation of militias in the surveillance or repression of threats to the monarchical order;
The way in which the population invests the militias for reasons other than those of power, or even to fight against royal authority;
Becquet, Hélène, et Bettina Frederking, éd. 2009. La dignité de roi: regards sur la royauté en France au premier XIXe siècle. Rennes: Presses universitaires de Rennes.
Caron, Jean-Claude, et Jean-Philippe Luis, éd. 2015. Rien appris, rien oublié ?: les Restaurations dans l’Europe postnapoléonienne (1814-1830). Rennes: Presses universitaires de Rennes.
Chauveau, Jean-Pierre, Samuel Bobo, Noël Kouassi, et Koné Moussa. 2012. « Milices rurales en Côte d’Ivoire durant le conflit (zone sud) : reconceptualiser le “dispositif milicien” ». In Sociétés en guerres: ethnographies des mobilisations violentes, édité par Rémy Bazenguissa et Sami Makki, 23‑56. Paris: Éditions de la Maison des sciences de l’homme.
Clements, Kevin P., Volker Boege, Anne Brown, Wendy Foley, et Anna Nolan. 2007. « State Building Reconsidered: the Role of Hybridity in the Formation of Political Order ». Political Science 59 (1): 45‑56.
Davis, Diane E., et Anthony W. Pereira, éd. 2003. Irregular armed forces and their role in politics and state formation. Cambridge-New York: Cambridge University Press.
De Lorenzo, Renata, et Rosa Ana Gutiérrez Lloret, éd. 2020. Las monarquías de la Europa meridional ante el desafío de la modernidad: (siglos XIX y XX). Saragosse: Prensas de la Universidad de Zaragoza.
Fureix, Emmanuel, et Judith Lyon-Caen, éd. 2014. « 1814-1815. Expériences de la discontinuité ». Revue d’histoire du XIXe siècle, no 49 (janvier).
Guazzaloca, Giulia, éd. 2009. Sovrani a metà : monarchia e legittimazione in Europa tra Otto e Novecento. 1 vol. Storia politica 21. Soveria Mannelli: Rubbettino.
Laven, David, et Lucy Riall, éd. 2000. Napoleon’s Legacy: problems of government in restoration Europe. Oxford-New York: Berg.
Legoy, Corinne, et Olivier Tort, éd. 2020. « Monarchies censitaires ». Parlement[s], Revue d’histoire politique 31 (1).
López, Pedro Víctor Rújula, et Francisco Javier Ramón Solans, éd. 2017. El desafío de la revolución: reaccionarios, antiliberales y contrarrevolucionarios (siglos XVIII y XIX). Grenade: Editorial Comares.
Martín, Álvaro París. 2020. « Armar al pueblo en defensa del rey : las milicias contrarrevolucionarias y realistas en Europa (1789-1830) ». Rubrica contemporanea 9 (18): 23‑51.
Meriggi, Marco. 2021. « The Nineteenth Century: A Monarchical Century? » Contemporanea, no 3: 553‑64.
Pareyre, Mathias. 2022. « Prendre le fusil pour défendre ou renverser les autorités: Les Gardes nationales de Lyon et de Marseille de 1830 à 1871 ». Thèse de doctorat, Lille: Université de Lille.
Quesnay, Arthur, éd. 2022. « Régimes miliciens et gouvernement transnational dans les guerres civiles ». Cultures & Conflits 125 (1).
Rausch, Fabian, et Friedemann Pestel. 2017. « 1814/15 – A Threshold of Post-Revolutionary Experience ». Journal of Modern European History 15 (2): 187‑96.
Renglet, Antoine, et Emmanuel Berger, éd. 2019. « Popular Policing in Europe, 18th-19th Centuries ». Rechtskultur. Zeitschrift für Europäische Rechtsgeschichte 8: 283.
Sarlin, Simon. 2019. « Arming the People against Revolution: Royalist Popular Militias in Restoration Europe ». Varia Historia 35: 177‑208.
Verri, Carlo, éd. 2018. « Monarchie Nell’Europa Dell’Ottocento. Istituzioni, Culture, Conflitti ». Annali Della Fondazione Ugo La Malfa XXXIII.
Wienfort, Monika. 2019a. « Das 19. Jahrhundert als monarchisches Jahrhundert ». In Durchbruch der Moderne?: Neue Perspektiven auf das 19. Jahrhundert, édité par Birgit Aschmann, 56‑82. Frankfurt-New York: Campus Verlag.
———. 2019b. Monarchie im 19. Jahrhundert. Monarchie im 19. Jahrhundert. Berlin-Boston: De Gruyter.
Objectives and timetable for implementation:
The aim of this call is to produce a monographic dossier to be submitted to a contemporary history journal, the contributions of which will be presented and discussed during a study day.
Proposals must reach the scientific committee via firstname.lastname@example.org before 30 May 2023
The scientific committee will select the contributions before 15 June 2023
Contributors must submit a substantial presentation of their study (2-3,000 words) by 30 September 2023
The study day will be held on the Nanterre university campus on 10 November 2023
The texts of the contributions to the dossier must reach the coordinators before April 2024
Sylvie Aprile (University of Paris Nanterre, ISP)
Simon Sarlin (University of Paris Nanterre, ISP)
Mathias Pareyre (University of Lille, IRHIS)
Mathilde Larrère (Gustave Eiffel University, ACP)