« Sociable Spaces in Eighteenth-Century Britain: A Material and Visual Experience», Études anglaises, 74.3, (juillet-septembre 2021)

Valérie Capdeville et Pierre Labrune (dir.)


The development of sociability in European societies from the eighteenth century is intrinsically linked to the diverse spaces where sociable practices are performed and to the various objects that are used and often associated with specific rituals or gestures. Sociability is thus materialised and visualised through social display, often challenging the distinctions between publicity and privacy, as well as between genders or classes.

By exploiting the multi-layered notion of social space, this volume aims to better understand how social interactions and practices are fashioned and even staged through the medium of material objects within specific spaces and, in turn, how these sociable spaces may shape social identities and connections. Moreover, the intersection and correlations between the material and the visual are particularly relevant to our study of sociable spaces, in which social performance and visual experience play a crucial part. Combining material culture with the ‘visual turn’ in history provides an increasingly useful approach in order to investigate how consumption habits, artistic and sociable practices redefined spaces in the long eighteenth century.

Building on the collaborative work of the GIS Sociabilités within the framework of the DIGITENS research project, this volume considers the materiality of sociability in eighteenth-century Britain and the way it reconfigures space and spatial experience. The six contributions assembled in this special issue adopt different approaches and methodologies and provide new readings of the spatial and visual properties and perceptions of sociable interactions, inviting us to look for the traces of eighteenth-century sociability in contemporary practices and spaces.

Éditeur/trice(s) : Klincksieck Editions

Coordinateur/trice(s) : Valérie CAPDEVILLE & Pierre LABRUNE

Contributeur/trice(s) : Vanessa ALAYRAC-FIELDING ; Valérie CAPDEVILLE ; Ariane FENNETAUX ; Mascha HANSEN ; Pierre LABRUNE ; Véronique LÉONARD-ROQUES ; Marie-Madeleine MARTINET ; Sophie MESPLÈDE ; Kimberley PAGE-JONES.

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