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Based on a series of in-depth case studies of working-class households, this article discusses volunteering and politicization among the stable fractions of France’s working-classes. It lays bare a striking paradox: the respondents, middle aged men and women characterized by rather stable economic and home positions, are committed to local association or various forms of volunteering, but express a strong distrust of politics. The analysis of the practices and moral values these men and women attach to volunteering –practical and concrete actions, strong work ethic– reveals their distance from politics as well as from other social groups. Rejecting political and economic ruling classes, these industrial and service sector workers also set themselves apart from people perceived as “living of hand-outs”. In other words, they share what can be called a “triangular social consciousness.” This moral and social perception does not however result in a homogeneous political orientation. On the contrary, it often acts as a source of moral and political tensions within households, especially with regard to electoral choices.

  • Working-classes
  • associations
  • volunteering
  • politization
  • vote
Séverine Misset
Yasmine Siblot
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