CAIRN-INT.INFO : International Edition

Using a corpus of interviews with social minima beneficiaries in the beginning and end of their professional careers, this article examines the situations of beneficiaries having had recourse to social aid (such as RMI or Guaranteed Minimum Revenue, ASS or Special Solidarity Allowance and API or Single Parent Allowance). It takes into account the adjustments the latter have made to adapt their material existence and rebuild minimum protection. They are not only dependent upon the importance and nature of family mutual aid, but also upon enrolment in diversified networks and the accumulation of various resources. A study of differentiated situations shows the inequality and precariousness of the existing measures. It additionally highlights that this quest for social protection entails great individual motivation, which is, in and of itself, unstable and fragile.

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