CAIRN-INT.INFO : International Edition

In France, the 2017 legislative elections witnessed a two-fold transformation. On the one hand, the decade-long rise in the number of “career politicians” came abruptly to a halt with the advent of a large crop of political newcomers, who at least temporarily curbed the growing professionalisation of politics. At the same time, these political newcomers hailed overwhelmingly from a number of very specific (and bourgeois) segments of the French population. These two overlapping trends encouraged the rise of partial narratives which favoured one aspect or the other and were often driven by partisan motives. Based on an extensive and historical study of French members of parliament since the 1970s, this article investigates and explains this two-fold transformation of the French political sphere. It analyses the massive arrival of political novices from the upper classes of society as a phenomenon of “cutting in line” – a line composed of those waiting for access to positions of national power. From there, and due to the emphasis placed on the temporal aspect of political careers, this article shall revisit the traditional concept of “political trajectories” from a critical perspective.


  • political recruitment
  • political staff
  • political field
  • careers
  • French politics
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