International Conference organised by TRIANGLE (UMR CNRS 5206, ENS de Lyon, IEP de Lyon, Université Lyon 2, Université Jean Monnet de Saint-Etienne), IDHE (UMR CNRS 8533, Université Paris 8), LED (EA 3391, Université Paris 8)
12-13 Apr 2013 Université Lumière Lyon 2 (France)

Registrations are opened until 02-25-2013


Although the theories of Quesnay, his disciples and the ‘dissident’ physiocrats have been the focus of many studies, and while the diffusion on an international scale of physiocratic ideas and theirsuccessors during the French Revolution and in the first decades of the 19th Century have given rise to conferences and publications, the same cannot be said for the opposition to physiocracy.

The theme of this conference is a subject that has remained untouched for some time, and is now becoming a topic of interest again. In fact, a seminaris held in Norway in September 2012, on physiocracy and the opposition that it encountered in Europe until the end of the 18th Century. Continuing and complementing this first event, the international conference in Lyon aims to cover the widest possible range of aspects of antiphysiocracy and opposition to physiocratic principles and practices. We intend to take a long-term perspective, from the foundation of the school to the critiques made of the physiocrats by economists, theoreticians and pamphleteers in the first half of the 19th Century. We also wish to be as comprehensive as possible, not restricting ourselves to economics and history in themselves, but instead by opening the field of study to all antiphysiocratic ideas, trends and reactions, no matter what form they take. As a rough guide, we could mention:

  • The work of theoreticians who were opposed to Quesnay’s school of thought from an analytic point of view: Forbonnais, Galiani, Graslin or Montaudouin de la Touche, of course, but also Accarias de Sérionne, Béardé de l’Abbaye, Costé de Saint-Supplix, Pesselier, Pfeiffer, or Tiffaut de la Noüe for instance,
  • The work of the classical Republicans and the ‘political’ opponents of physiocracy (Mably, Rousseau, Linguet, Necker…),
  • The criticisms that have surfaced in literature, poetry, stories and theatre (Voltaire, L.-S. Mercier…),
  • The itineraries of figures that started out very close to physiocracy and ended up very critical of it, such as Diderot,
  • Reactions of the courssouveraines and the enlightened elite, but also the reactions of the people to the physiocrats’ political stance, and even to their ideas (songs, ballads,satires…)
  • Critiques of physiocracy and its post-revolutionary successors by 19th Century theoreticians (particularly the first socialists and French ‘liberal’ economists)
  • Worldwide critiques of physiocratic experiments and theory 

This conference aims, then, to encompass much more than merely historians and historians of economic thought, and invites researchers interested in political, literary and cultural history from the 1750s to mid-19th centuryto submit proposals on this unifying theme of opposition to physiocracy, in all its dimensions.


Invited speaker

Steven L. Kaplan,
Cornell University

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