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Civil Society and EmpireIreland and Scotland in the Eighteenth-Century Atlantic World$
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James Livesey

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780300139020

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300139020.001.0001

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Coffee, Association, and Cultural Hybridity in Seventeenth-Century England

Coffee, Association, and Cultural Hybridity in Seventeenth-Century England

(p.24) Chapter One Coffee, Association, and Cultural Hybridity in Seventeenth-Century England
Civil Society and Empire

James Livesey

Yale University Press

This chapter discusses the role of coffee houses in the formulation of civil society ideas in England. Historians are convinced that conversation has also played a significant role in leading Europe into an age of Enlightenment. Civil conversation created networks that could be used for numerous diverse purposes. During the Enlightenment, people were encouraged to engage in reasoned debates in local circles among dispersed people. Institutions such as schools, courts, and theatres welcomed these kinds of discussions, but there are two institutions that were more innovative than the rest: the salon and the coffee house. These two institutions favored conversation over formal academic discourse. Because of this, everyone was welcome to participate in any polite conversation, thus ending the restrictiveness of discourses from learned individuals.

Keywords:   coffee house, salon, conversation, Enlightenment, reasoned debates, civil society

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