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Based on an analysis of the social trajectories of the actors involved in the cultural policies implemented in the “red suburbs”, this article uncovers the subversive dimension of partisan –communist– socialization, that is its capacity to introduce leeway into the process of intergenerational class reproduction. In the 1960s and 1970s, communist socialization encouraged cultural self-transformation and led to an accumulation of cultural resources –transmuted into cultural capital by local institutions–, which enabled the upward social mobility of individuals from the working classes. By gaining the cultural authorities’ recognition, these individuals entered the upper classes (first dimension of the subversion analyzed). This article underlines that the efficacity of the cultural resources acquired by the individuals are conditional to their institutionalization. In the case under study, this process takes place outside the school diplomas, within the cultural institutions of the “red suburb”. The actors of these cultural policies, having experienced a communist socialization, enter a specific fraction of the upper classes, the “red bourgeoisie”, which is not characterized by a mimetic attitude towards the norms and tastes of the traditional upper classes but enjoys a relative cultural autonomy. The analysis more specifically shows how these individuals incorporated a double hierarchy of cultural legitimacy, which had an effect on the cultural policies they carried out locally, or even nationally –to the point of shifting the boundaries of cultural legitimacy (second dimension of the subversion analyzed).

  • Social mobility
  • working-class neighborhood
  • communism
  • socialization
  • cultural capital
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