ABSTRACT

Over the course of the French Revolution there was a profound change in the way in which communication and social interaction were represented. Inventing a new sociability meant creating national habits that would replace all prior categories: from the attire of the members of social hierarchies (the Estates) to the republican tu1 between citizens, from a haircut or a name taken from ancient Rome to new rituals of fraternizing (such as the frugal outdoor feasts), from the revolutionary catechisms that propagated maxims and models of virtues (they too often taken from Roman antiquity) to the start of a new era based on the republican calendar. These changes marked a cultural break with the Ancien Régime and with the entire course of prior history. This is why abolishing the many signs of social distinction that had determined the society of the Ancien Régime was so much easier than responding to the question of how to replace them.