By Violaine Girard
This paper focuses on the evolutions of the relationship between two local politicians representing the population of a rural industrialized territory between the 1970s and the mid-1990s. French institutional policy has led to the designation of intercommunal governments on top of existing local governments. Thus, a new level of government and a new political space appeared, within which the relationship between a rural mayor and a professional politician turns out to be tight as well as unsteady. As someone from a poor social background who has risen in social status, the mayor of a rural area clearly appears to be in a lower position than the professional politician. By analysing the different entries to the communal and intercommunal political institutions and the different paths to becoming a legitimate politician within these levels of government, we aim at identifying the most “useful” social and political resources respectively linked to these different levels.