The legitimist social conscience of the working-class and middle-class support of the UMP in the Paris regionBy Raphaël Challier
Right-wing political parties are often viewed as “parties of the rich,” deprived of grassroots activists. This article deconstructs this representation by referring to a piece of field research carried out in the Paris region during the 2014 local elections. How do members of the working and middle classes in a suburban city where the left-wing vote is dominant come to support a right-wing party such as the UMP? The right-wing vote is primarily explained by the social trajectories of the activists. Some of them achieved upward social mobility through small business-owning and entrepreneurship, while others are blue-collar workers and low-level employees coming from a higher social background who wish to regain their former social status. These two types of trajectories led the members of the studied group to campaign “for the right” and to develop a legitimist social conscience that values the economic elite while disparaging the inferior layers of the working classes, as well as middle-class intellectuals.