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


The Philadelphia Dancing Assembly (1749–1849)

The upper class of Philadelphia—a political, economic, and cultural center in eighteenth-century British North America—followed English patterns of sociability in order to distinguish themselves in colonial society and to mix in British circles.

Natural Law (in Rousseau’s philosophy)

LEPAN Géraldine
La réfutation de la loi naturelle comme une 'loi de raison' constitue une véritable révolution en philosophie politique. Son remplacement par une théorie de la pitié et ultimement de la conscience, qui sont des sentiments moraux, inclus dans une pensée de l’historicité humaine, bouleverse le fondement du lien social.

Spa sociability in Bath and Pyrmont

Bath and Pyrmont were each renowned for their waters in the long eighteenth century. Bath set up an innovative model of spa sociability that supposedly exemplified the main principles of an ‘open society,’ while Pyrmont also defined a new approach to spa life but along different lines.


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

Cycle of talks "La sociabilité dans tous ses états : intimité, plein air, horizons lointains"

September 7th 2023
Talk by Jan Synowiecki (Université de Caen Normandie) "Se divertir sous les frondaisons des arbres : vauxhalls et jardins-spectacles à Paris dans la seconde moitié du XVIIIe siècle", Musée Cognacq-Jay, 7 Sept., 2023.

GIS talk "La familiarité du lointain. Voyager, explorer, collectionner au siècle des Lumières"

June 22nd 2023
Talk by Pierre-Yves Beaurepaire (Université Côte d'Azur / IUF) "La familiarité du lointain, Voyage, explorer, collectionner au siècle des Lumières. Musée Cognacq-Jay, 22 juin 2023.

GIS Sociability Study Day

June 22nd 2023
GIS Sociability Study Day, Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris, 22 June