1st Edition

Subaltern Political Subjectivities and Practices in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries Between Loyalty and Resistance

Edited By Karen Lauwers, Sami Suodenjoki, Marnix Beyen Copyright 2023
    246 Pages 6 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Approaching subalternity from a broad Gramscian angle, this edited collection contributes to the understanding of popular politics in parliamentary, autocratic, and colonial contexts.

    The book explores individual stories and micro-histories of complaints, requests, rumors, and other mediated and unmediated interactions between political institutions and the subjects they claimed to govern or represent. It challenges the approaches of institutionally oriented political historiography and its attention to the top-down construction of political representation, citizenship, and power and powerlessness. The book discusses more subtle forms of agency and the spaces these pertained to, which could indicate contestation or resistance taking place within a framework of loyalty towards the existing political institutions. This research does not only bridge the divide between political and apolitical frames of reference, but it also provides a new perspective on the dichotomy between loyalty and resistance by acknowledging the nuances of these seemingly opposing stances. With case studies from Europe, North Africa, South America, and India, the chapters cover political communication in proto-democratic, democratic, imperial, and authoritarian contexts.

    This volume is crucial reading for undergraduates, postgraduates, and scholars in history and social sciences who are interested in political culture and the mechanisms of negotiating local, national, or imperial identities.


    Chapter 4 of this book is freely available as a downloadable Open Access PDF at http://www.taylorfrancis.com under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC-BY) 4.0 license.

    Introduction: Subaltern Political Subjectivities

    Marnix Beyen, Karen Lauwers, and Sami Suodenjoki

    Part 1: Subaltern Political Participation in an Autocratic Context

    1. Voice of the People: The Politics of Petitioning in Modern Latin American History

    Eduardo Elena

    2. Letters to the Caudillo: Petitions in Miserable Times, 1936–1945

    Antonio Cazorla-Sánchez

    3. Finding Subjectivities in Fascist Italy: "Mothers of the Fallen" between Symbolic and Experienced Political Participation

    Anne Wingenter

    Part 2: Subaltern Political Communication in the Context of (proto-)Democratic Representation

    4. The Municipal Assembly as Scene of Local Democracy and Subaltern Political Experiences in Finland, 1865–1917

    Sami Suodenjoki

    5. At the Crossroads of Local and National Representation: Peasant Petitions to the Diet of Finland in the 1860s and 1870s

    Onni Pekonen and Matti La Mela

    6. Outsiders? "Democratic Patronage" and the Subalterns in France, c.1875–c.1935

    Frédéric Monier

    7. "Reading the newspaper made me believe that…": Sources and Uses of Political Knowledge in the Liminal Space between Subaltern and Elite Politics. Paris, 1894–1920

    Marnix Beyen

    8. How to Bridge the Gap? The Issue of Popular Political Engagement in the Netherlands, c.1945–1965

    Harm Kaal

    Part 3: Spiritualization of Politics in Embodied Subaltern Narratives

    9. From Subaltern Experience to Political Tradition: Telling and Knowing Revolutionary Martyrs in the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, 1848–1860

    Pierre-Marie Delpu

    10. Nonsense and the Senses: French Sources of Knowledge in Colonial Algeria, 1846–1871

    Karen Lauwers

    11. Subaltern Caste Concepts of the "Political": Bengal, 1900–1930

    Neha Chatterji


    Karen Lauwers is an Academy of Finland postdoctoral researcher at the University of Helsinki. She has a broad interest in parliamentary culture, colonial history, intersectional identities, and narratives of inclusion and exclusion. She is the author of Ordinary Citizens and the French Third Republic (2022).

    Sami Suodenjoki is a senior researcher working in the Academy of Finland Centre of Excellence in the History of Experiences at Tampere University. He specializes in popular politics and the interaction between citizens and the state in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

    Marnix Beyen is a full professor and a member of Power in History – Center for Political History at the University of Antwerp. His research deals primarily with the historical, scientific, and literary representation of nations, and the history of parliamentary culture in Western Europe.