L'Humanité in English
Translation of selective papers from the french daily newspaper l'Humanité
decorHome > Society > ESSAI. FROM ONE CLASS TO ANOTHER, WITHOUT...
 

EditorialWorldPoliticsEconomySocietyCultureScience & TechnologySportInternational Communist and Labor Press"Tribune libre"Comment and OpinionBlogsLinks
Society

ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: https://www.humanite.fr/essai-dune-...

ESSAI. FROM ONE CLASS TO ANOTHER, WITHOUT...

Translated Friday 7 September 2018, by Laurent Etre

ESSAI. FROM ONE CLASS TO ANOTHER, WITHOUT SERVING AS A SUBSTITUTE
Thursday, September 6, 2018
Laurent Etre
La Fabrique des transclasses Under the direction of Chantal Jaquet and Gérard Bras PUF, 256 pages, 21 euros
In a collective work continuing the work of the philosopher Chantal Jaquet on "transclasses", contributors seek to understand this change.

Following a symposium organized around a previous work by Chantal Jacquet, Les Transclasses, ou la non-reproduction (PUF, 2014), this collective book crosses theorizations and life stories in order, in the same movement, to enlighten and give to feel what is deeply at stake in the migration from one social class to another. Beyond the diversity of their forms, the different contributions are driven by the idea that the reality of the "transclass" is in no way reducible to what would be a pure and simple abandonment of the original environment.

The transclass, in other words, is not a "class defector", as the philosopher and co-director of the book Gérard Bras insists, in a stimulating return to the thought and experience of the "historian of the people", Jules Michelet (1798-1874). Rather, he is the one who, although no longer living like the people, reveals himself concerned and capable of "remaining the people", by fighting, through a certain work ethic, against gentrification and its affects (envy, malice, jealousy...).

This dialectic between change and fidelity to one’s starting environment resurfaces with particular acuity in Paul Pasquali’s text, which focuses on pupils in priority education zones (ZEPs) integrated into the "social opening" schemes of the "elite streams" (Science-Po Paris, preparatory classes for the grandes écoles, etc.).

Rather than having to decide between two worlds, these transclasses are led to what the sociologist calls "arrangements" between their different "worlds of belonging".

Situations can be very complex, as class migration intertwines to varying degrees with cultural, geographic, or even linguistic migration. And it is all the interest of this book to offer an insight into this complexity, through reflections rich in experience, such as that of Soubattra Danasségarane, associate professor of philosophy in Seine-Saint-Denis, which was built between two languages, Tamil and French, and strongly denounces "the injunction to choose".

As for the stories themselves, perhaps the most shocking is that of Patrick Bourdet, a public assistance orphan who spent part of his childhood in a "cabin" in the forest and now runs a consulting firm. But all bring a precious human dimension to this exploration of the "manufacture of transclasses".

A WORK THAT GOES OFF THE BEATEN TRACK
The question remains as to what is at stake in such an approach. If transclasses are not defectors, then are they a manifestation, at the heart of class society, of a possible beyond? "The transclass, by its crossing, deconstructs the lines of social divisions between classes," says philosopher Vincent Houillon. To the point of relegating the "class struggle" to a background? Not necessarily, at least if we follow Chantal Jaquet, who, in her introduction, shows convincingly how the very fact of looking at the "factory" of the transclass participates in the response to the "fiction of the self-made-man" and to the "meritocratic ideology", which "never ceases to obscure the class struggle by the struggle of the places". A work that goes off the beaten track, to better resist a certain air of time, in short.

Laurent Etre


Follow site activity RSS 2.0 | Site Map | Translators’ zone | SPIP