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La « réforme » dans la vie publique anglaise. Les fortunes d'un mot

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  • Joanna Innés

Abstract

[fre] Les mots « réforme » et « réformateur » ont une place essentielle dans le discours politique anglais à la fin du XVIIIe siècle et au début du XIXe siècle ainsi que dans l'historiographie de cette époque. L'histoire de ces mots a reçu cependant peu d'attention jusqu'à nos jours. En fait, le nom « réforme » a été peu utilisé jusque dans les années 1780 car le nom «réformation» était plus courant auparavant. La forme courte « réforme » semble avoir été popularisée par l'emploi du slogan « réforme parlementaire » dans les années 1780. Au même moment, les modalités d'utilisation de ce concept ont glissé d'une dimension morale et religieuse à une dimension institutionnelle et politique quoique les deux ensembles de sens sont restés liés et ont tous les deux inspiré les réflexions sur la « réforme ». La Révolution française a entraîné un discrédit temporaire de ce terme qui n'a été réhabilité, et à nouveau largement utilisé, que vers 1820. À ce moment-là, les mots « radical » et « réformateur », auparavant regardés comme des synonymes, ont commencé à être distingués: le terme « réforme » a alors signifié un changement modéré et soigneusement maîtrisé. [eng] The words "reform" and "reformer" had a prominent place in the political discourse of late eighteenth and early nineteenth-century England, and in historical writing about that period. The history of these words as words has however received little attention. In fact, the noun "reform" was rarely used before 1780; previously the usual noun was "reformation". The short form of the word seems to have been popularised in conjunction with the slogan "parliamentary reform' from 1780. At the same time, patterns in the use of concept shifted from the moral and religious towards the institutional and political, though the two sets of meanings remained in play, both infusing discussions about "reform ". The French Revolution brought the term into temporary discredit; only from circa 1820 was it rehabilitated for mainstream use. During the same period the names "radical" and "reformer", previously commonly regarded as synonyms, came to be distinguished: "reform" came to be widely understood to denote moderate, carefully managed change.

Suggested Citation

  • Joanna Innés, 2005. "La « réforme » dans la vie publique anglaise. Les fortunes d'un mot," Histoire, économie & société, Programme National Persée, vol. 24(1), pages 63-88.
  • Handle: RePEc:prs:hiseco:hes_0752-5702_2005_num_24_1_2536
    Note: DOI:10.3406/hes.2005.2536
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