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The Stakes of Regulation

Perspectives on 'Bread, Politics and Political Economy' Forty Years Later

Steven L. Kaplan

The Stakes of Regulation

The author’s critical engagement with his own pathbreaking work of 1976 and the scholarly work published since, in the context of the fraught question of regulation from the 18th century to today.

Imprint: Anthem Press
ISBN 9781783084760
August 2015 | 468 Pages | 229 x 152mm / 9 x 6
PRICE:  £80.00  /  $130.00  Buy from Amazon.co.uk  Buy from Amazon.com

About This Book

“‘The Stakes of Regulation’, with its often drôle, always limpid and sometimes mordantly polemical style, is a dazzling toolbox on the ways of doing history, an epistemological reflection on how to gain access to the past, and a fresh reading of some of the major issues of eighteenth-century history.” —Arnaud Orain, University of Paris 8

“A spectacular achievement. Steven Kaplan leverages forty years of historical scholarship to revitalize our understanding of the political economy of that most sacred of French foodstuffs: bread. ‘Stakes of Regulation’ brilliantly illuminates the tensions between liberty and equality that fractured eighteenth-century France. A must-read for anyone interested in the first modern debate on regulation.” —Michael Kwass, Johns Hopkins University

“This is a masterful critical reflection on the scholarship of the past four decades dealing with issues Kaplan raised in his classic ‘Bread, Politics and Political Economy’, which introduced us to what he felicitously calls the Economic Enlightenment. Mingling the social with the cultural and political, he shows brilliantly how the battle of liberalism emerged for the first time stridently in the France of Louis XV, and persists even today.” —Gilles Postel-Vinay, Paris School of Economics

Scholars have long regarded ‘Bread, Politics and Political Economy in the Reign of Louis XV’ (1976) as marking an important moment in the study of the social, political and cultural history of eighteenth-century France. ‘The Stakes of Regulation’ is the companion volume to a new edition of this landmark study, revealing how Kaplan’s thinking has evolved in reaction both to the changing intellectual, epistemological, historiographical and socio-political environment, and to the significant scholarship that has been accomplished during the past forty years. Kaplan remains faithful to his original premise: that the subsistence question is at the core of eighteenth century history, and that the issues joined by the struggle over liberalization continue to shape our destiny today through the bristling tension between liberty and equality, and the debate over the necessity, legitimacy and character of regulation.

Readership: This book will be of interest to scholars, graduate students and advanced undergraduates in the fields of history, anthropology, politics, sociology and economics.

Author Information

Steven L. Kaplan is the Goldwin Smith Professor of European History, emeritus at Cornell University.

Table of Contents

Introduction; 1. (Re-)Thinking Regulation: Police, Prices, Markets; 2. Agriculture and the French Economy of the Old Regime; 3. Collective Action and Its Actors: The Moral Economy and the Market, the People and the Elites, Disorder and Order; 4. The Parlements in the Age of Economic Enlightenment; 5. Kings and Ministers: Politics and Policies, Finance and Subsistence; 6. The New Historiography of Political Economy; 7. Famine, Dearth, and Food (In-)Security; Afterword; Index

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