Comparative Politics

Comparative Politics

Becoming Yellow Vests: The Politicization of Ordinary Citizens (France 2018-20)

Emmanuelle Reungoat University of Montpellier
,
Cecile Jouhanneau Université Paul-Valéry Montpellier
,
François Buton Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique & Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon - France

Abstract

Social movements literature has repeatedly stressed the importance of ingrained dispositions to activism. Scholarship on political participation has pinpointed how socio-economic inequalities largely determine the propensity to get involved in politics. Therefore certain social groups – with little cultural and political capital, and no background in activism – are generally expected to remain outside of political life. Yet recent movements like the Yellow Vests in 2018-20 France have thrust “ordinary citizens” into the limelight. To what extent did their unprecedented commitment contribute to giving the movement some of its unique features? Did this experience of protest affect their relationship with politics? Based on ethnographic biographical interviews with first-time protestors, we argue that becoming Yellow Vests has fostered a two-pronged politicization process: first, through their increased defiance towards specialized politics; second, through their criticism of social order, which brings the social question back in after years of interpreting conflict as "cultural".

Content

Thumbnail image of content item

Comments

Log in using your APSA account or Register to comment open_in_new
Comments are not moderated before they are posted, but they can be removed by the site moderators if they are found to be in contravention of our Commenting Policy open_in_new – please read this policy before you post. Comments should be used for scholarly discussion of the content in question. You can find more information about how to use the commenting feature here open_in_new .
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy open_in_new and Terms of Service open_in_new apply.