Secondary intermediaries of “diversity”: Aspirations and attributions of an elected official of Portuguese descent

Special report. Local power and the working classes in rural settings
By Alexandre Barbet

This article contextualizes the opening and renewal of the political scene of a small rural city within the history of local migration, through analysis of the election of a working-class political novice of Portuguese descent to municipal government in 2020. Indeed, the ways in which such “minor” officials are engaged in the margins of local politics must be associated with the engagements of other secondary actors who are also called upon to mobilize “diverse” voters. Furthermore, political differences determine how a foreign background is put to use, adjusted to the political orientation of the list as well as its social composition. This article presents a path to eligibility as a candidate on a right-leaning list due to ascension via small business. The contradictions induced by this delicate role of intermediary and her premature departure from the political scene are nonetheless reminders of just how fragile promotion without notability is, and how insecure gender and “diversity” are as resources.

  • rural areas
  • municipal elected officials
  • local politics
  • migration
  • working class
  • ethnography
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