A festival of one’s own: Residential migration, power struggles and the transformation of political sociability in a periurban village

Special report. Local power and the working classes in rural settings
By Quentin Schnapper

Drawing on an ethnographic analysis of a conflict over an agricultural fair in a French town, this article presents a process of appropriation of suburban areas by mid- and upper-level employees in or close to the public sector. This appropriation is rooted in the organization of local festive sociability, closely tied to their gaining control of the town council. Reconstructing the residential and political trajectories of fair committee leaders who challenged the power of the farmers who historically dominated the event calls into question the ordinary interpretation of “rural locals” being driven out of urban outskirts by “new middle-class urbanites”. These power struggles are a confrontation of alliances between social groups and distinct political networks composed of people with diverse local ties (locals who have never left, return migration, new arrivals). This configuration is the product of the ongoing transformation of political sociability in the town that began in the early 1970s.

  • suburban areas
  • residential migrations
  • farmers
  • local politics
  • village festival
Go to the article on Cairn-int.info