The Digital Encyclopedia of British Sociability in the Long Eighteenth Century

Explore the wide range of topics related to British sociability from 1650 to 1850 and discover how the circulation of models of sociability shaped European and colonial societies.

The Project

An innovative tool and an interdisciplinary approach

  • An open-access digital encyclopedia with a multi-modal search engine
  • An international and interdisciplinary project led by the GIS Sociabilités / Sociability since 2017
  • An EU-funded project (Horizon 2020-MSCA-RISE) since 2019, promoting staff exchange and intersectoral collaborations
  • A digital humanities project managed by an experienced editorial team
  • Encyclopedia entries written in English or French by eighteenth-century scholars in various fields (history, art history, literature, philosophy, material culture, linguistics ...) and reviewed by a dedicated committee
  • A complementary anthology of texts related to various aspects of sociability and connected to the entries

Find out more

Bringing academic research on eighteenth-century sociability to a wider audience

  • Explore the wide range of topics related to British Sociability from 1650 to 1850 and learn about the circulation of models of sociability that shaped European and colonial societies.
  • Discover the collaborative work between academic researchers on primary source material in their respective fields of expertise
  • Browse through 200 entries enriched with illustrations, hyperlinks, footnotes and further reading suggestions
  • Search by keywords, by alphabetical order or by categories (People, Places, Practices, Concepts, Objects) and sub-categories
  • Navigate easily through a dynamic and updatable resource
  • Share content with online media and social networks

Latest entries

Practices Concepts


This entry describes conviviality as it was practised in the eighteenth century with distinctions between sociability and conviviality. It also describes the use of the term, and the specific rituals associated with convivial culture.


Coffeehouses were key centres of sociability in eighteenth-century Britain. They played an important role both as real spaces for social interaction and as virtual places in which normative ideals of urban and polite sociability were imagined.

Female friendship in eighteenth-century English literature


The English literature of the long eighteenth century offers abundant portraits of female friendship as a frequent form of sociability among women – sometimes sentimentalised as true spiritual companionship between pure and innocent souls, sometimes demonised as a devious façade for unnatural sexual desire. As opposed to men’s friendships, which centred on socialising in the public sphere, forms of attachment among women were associated with the intimate and the private.


As part of its H2020 programme (Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions – Research and Innovation Staff Exchange (MSCA-RISE-2018)), the European Commission has granted significant financial support to DIGITENS, the flagship project of the Scientific Interest Grouping (GIS) “Sociabilités/Sociability”.


Latest News

The Rules of the Game in the Early Modern Period

June 30th 2021
Appel à communications: Les règles du jeu à la période moderne Colloque organisé par l’unité de recherche VALE (Sorbonne Université) avec le concours du GIS Sociabilités Les règles du jeu à la période moderne 18 & 19 novembre 2021

Sociabilité et libertinage au siècle des Lumières

June 17th 2021
Cycle de conférences - 3 et 17 juin - en parallèle de l'exposition "L'Empire des sens, de Boucher à Greuze" au Musée Cognacq-Jay, Paris.

Sociability and the Discourses of Nature in the Long Eighteenth Century

May 31st 2021
Call for papers for a collective volume: "Sociability and the Discourses of Nature in the Long Eighteenth Century", ed. T. Adamczewski, J. Lipski, K. Wood.