Republican citizenship, ethics and the French revolutionary press 1789-92

Jane Chapman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper examines the role of the revolutionary press in France in the realisation of the Enlightenment notion of “public opinion”. The press, it is argued, saw itself as advancing civic republicanism based on public service as opposed to the liberal, individualistic ethic of today. Exploring the relevance of Habermas’s theories of discourse ethics and MacIntyre’s notions of “communitarianism”, the paper argues that the revolutionary press promoted a “democratisation” of honour. The conclusion draws on the theories of Sandel to argue that newspapers provided the crucial narratives by which people made sense of their condition and interpreted their shared experiences at a time of revolutionary upheaval.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-12
Number of pages6
JournalEthical space : the international journal of communication ethics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • French revolutionary press
  • civic republicanism
  • ethics
  • citizenship

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