Retour à Reims) [Pdf/E–book] å Didier Eribon

With Returning to Reims French sociologist Didier Eribon sparked a heated debate about the meaning of class in today s society both in France and in Germany and probably in other countries in which the book was published as well The book is a memoir that tells the story of Eribon s coming of age as a homosexual youth in a poor working class family in Reims and the obstacles he faced on his way to becoming a professor in Paris The text is heavily interspersed with sociological language references to Bourdieu Foucault Sartre et al but it is not necessary to be an expert on these theoretical issues in order to follow Eribon s arguments and there are a lot of them The text breathes Eribon s enthusiasm for all matters of the mind and reading it is less of a literary and of an intellectual experience of course these two are connected but this is heavy on the scientific side I commend Eribon for highlighting the meaning of social class and habitus I found this utterly fascinating and of significant explanatory value for the rightwards drift of culture and politics for his words the failure of the left Not just in France not just in Europe The first half is an account of his rowing up working class of his family back to WWII As he says nobody writes about the working class unless they have already left it Didier Eribon has become a sociologist Once he escaped in disgust by a set of circumstances so rare that he calls them miraculous He explains how difficult it is to escape in ways a sociologist notices He complains of other influential writers on the working class who have no firsthand knowledgeThere has been a reat lag as he avoided his whole family rejected his background before his return to Reim One of the best books I ve read this year The book is part sociological treatise on class and sexuality in post war France part political manifesto on what the Left must do in order to re claim the language of class in an age of populism for a new kind of emancipatory politics and part intellectual history of modern French philosophy all somehow miraculously disguised as a memoir The book begins with Eribon returning to Reims the place where he begins with Eribon returning to Reims the place where he abandoned if that s the right word at the age of 20 his working class parents siblings and the degrading manual labor job that was sure to be his destiny to pursue an intellectual life in Paris as an openly ay man Prompting his return is the illness and then death of his father whom Eribon admits to always having disliked due to his homophobia He returns to console and comfort his mother and during a series of searching uestions raised in the course of their discussion he begins to reach very startling epiphanies This return to the social space he had always tried to forget was a revelation for Eribon for he realizes how deeply marked and influential his class background was to the formation of his own subjectivity He begins to reevaluate utilizing French theories of class relations habitus his once held negative assumptions about his father and the French working class enerally coming to see that their prejudices beliefs and feelings are products of the class oppression that was part of their history which inevitably left their indelible mark He extrapolates from this analysis in order to explain how it was that the French Communist Party which once represented for his parents and many French workers the uncontested horizon of their relation to politics beautiful phrase capitulated in the 70s and 80s failing to provide a language of class that explained their plight and predicament This in turn lead to his parents and most of the French working class to vote for Jean Marie Le Pen s National Front who filled that void interchanging bourgeois with foreignerHe ends his book with a plea to the mainstream left to re articulate a new kind of political language one that encompasses all forms oppression and to place class as the organizing locus point I really can t say enough about this book it s relevance in the era of Trump where so much is made of the white working class and with rise of the populist right wing figures in Europe who have appropriated many of the talking points once associated with the traditional leftRead it for fuck s sake It s a week or so since I finished reading this book but in pandemic years that s about a month which means I ve left it too long to be able to write any full thoughts Here s a French intellectual oing back On thinking the matter through it doesn't seem exaggerated to assert that my coming out of the sexual closet my desire to assume and assert my homosexuality coincided within my personal trajectory with my shutting myself up inside what I might call a class closet from Returning to ReimsAfter his father dies Didier Eribon returns to his hometown of Reims and rediscovers the working class world he had left behind thirty years earlier For years Eribon had thought of his father largely in terms of the latter's intolerable homophobia Yet his father's dea. Retour à ReimsIven to self criticism As a warning when the topic delves into the compromises made by the French left with the right wing the writing becomes thick and embellished with many over erudite sentences on the class struggle I am a Francophile so expected and didn t mind this But for me the major interest was the author s constant conflict with his family and their background The author rew up in an abusive household with parents who had no love for each other Didier felt completely alienated from his family and community I ll admit I don t read non fiction titles very often but this is one of the better ones I ve read in recent years With his sociologicalphilosophical approach Eribon provides insight into what it is like to come from the working class and try to break out of the vicious cycle very interesting thoughts about what happened to Marxism and the left accompanied by the rise of the ultra right and a reat deal of enuinely honest self analysis about what it means to be a homosexual in a society that is still today highly discriminatory of any behaviour it sees as different from the accepted norm whether that means being poor being a socialist or being ayThis is a very interesting book that can be read by everyone who wants to understand the importance of tolerance This is a highly recommended reading and a book that had a big impact on me This is in part because I see a lot of me in it but importantly because it is illuminating in so many ways Anyone int I thought I already knew what this book is about and in some sense I did But it s main value is not its conclusion or the theory behind it but the story and the protagonists Eribon lets the reader into his and his family s life and make us the theorists feel how it was like It s definitely a must read Didier Eribon relates his personal experiences of social mobility and of coming out as a homosexual The value and the interest of this book lie in its being a first hand account In that sense I would call it recommended reading As a eneral sociological analysis it suffers from two defectsOne the author confounds all classes that are better off than the working class by lumping them together under the Marxist archaism bourgeoisie conveniently a French term Thus he derides Raymond Aron for failing to see any sharp class distinctions in his immediate surroundings and he does so by painting a picture from Eribon s own childhood of two separate sets of Children Playing Within Their playing within their roup in two separate areas of the same country estateWhile I am not trying to defend Aron s claims here Eribon s counterargument betrays even ignorance of social realities in France Aron was the son of a lawyer not the heir to a major landowner Any sociologist unwilling to see the difference is either stupid which Eribon clearly is not or indoctrinated which might be the case iven his freuent name dropping and adoration of the French left s Moral DeitiesTwo it is insufficiently structured The author has allowed his thoughts to flow or less freely perhaps according to some rough initial plan and then apparently could not be bothered to revise the thing This is a pity because it might put some readers off what is otherwise an interesting perspective I mean seriously a nonfiction work where the chapters bear numbers but no titles For readability that s about as bad as the Bourbaki series of mathematics booksHis thoughts on the massive swing to the right of the French Bourbaki series of mathematics booksHis thoughts on the massive swing to the right of the French are worth looking into particularly when trying to understand the ideological base of the new eneration of European and US politicians whom we conveniently label populists Even the French Communist Party in its heyday was never free from an us versus them rhetoric Parliamentary democracy by its very nature needs opposition of political ideas If the traditional ideologies of liberals social democrats and intelligent Christians exhibit little fundamental differences nowadays and over all three of them appear in practice to support unchecked How to Live the James Bond Lifestyle: The Complete Seminar globalization of trade and culture then an antilobal opposition is bound to arise with a vengeance be it anti European anti migration protectionist racist or just throwing a political tantrum in any other wayFor the interested reader there are references at the end of each chapter For me personally at least the name dropping served a purpose in that it allowed me to discover two novels see here and here as well as the author Michel Foucault. Eribon's own family which changed its allegiance from the Communist Party to the National FrontReturning to Reims is a remarkable book of sociological inuiry and critical theory of interest to anyone concerned with the direction of leftist politics in the contemporary world and to anyone who has ever experienced how sexual identity can clash with other parts of one's identity A huge success in France since its initial publication in 2009 Returning to Reims received enthusiastic reviews in Le Monde Liberation L'Express Les Inrockuptibles and elsewhe. ,


Didier Eribon æ 3 read

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Ome literallyfiguratively upon the death of his father to reflect upon his class roots sexuality and cetera Some of it is exceptional though whenever I read this kind of biography parentegraphy patergraphy matergraphy I find it hard to escape the thought that I d really like to read the parents perspective on the prodigal sonnevertheless it was ood to the prodigal sonNevertheless it was ood to reminded of Bourdieu s pessimistic functionalism in this day and age related to a tyranny of low expectations as well as the invisible scaffolding that supports those in dominant class position who do not notice that they are positioned situated within a specific world Such scholars the author enjoyably remarks come from someone of privilege who imagines he is writing sociology when all he is doing is describing his own social status The scholarly euivalent of the newspaper columnist media punditI enjoyed asides seemingly directed at the sensible technocrats who are trying to protect their monopoly over what can be said to constitute legitimate politics while the author has value to add "on the rise of nationalism it is the absence of political "the rise of nationalism it is the absence of political or the absence of the perception that one belongs to an organised social roup that makes it possible for a racist form of division to replace a division based on class Such left behind people find that the political discourse that is constantly played says nothing to me about my life and thus shift toward Morrisseylike rhetoric which appears to provide meaning to the experiences that made up their daily life Interesting parallels between the resurgence of the far right in France and this country This is a very intense autobiography of a French man who successfully extracted himself from a narrow working class background to study and then join the intellectual elite of France He rew up in a house with no books He also became aware in his teenage years that he was Heads of the Colored People gayIn his adolescence he faced two hurdles to develop his intellectual knowledge and beingay Both these were anathema to his family and to the surrounding working class communityPage 73 74 my book One day as I was walking in central Paris he the author s randfather saw me and stopped at the curb delighted at this fortuitous meeting I on the other hand was acutely embarrassed terrified that someone I knew might see me with him What would I have said if someone had asked me Who was that fellow you were chatting with What is it about the time spent in a bourgeois or petty bourgeois world that has led you to the point where you would be willing to deny your family or feel so ashamed of it Why have you interiorized to such an extent all the hierarchies of the social world that intellectually and politically you claim to be opposed toPolitically I was on the side of the workers but I detested being tied to their world Doubtless I would have suffered fewer inner torments and less of a moral crisis in claiming allegiance to the people if those people hadn t been my family which is to say my past and therefore whether I liked it or not my presentIt would seem that class distinction is far reater in France and in Europe than here in North America I have perceived this somewhat on my European travels I am not saying that North America is classless but it is less obvious than in France For example the author discusses how schooling in France almost forces and directs the lower classes to leave school in their teenage years at 15 to take up a trade and discourages them from taking preparatory classes for elite subjectsDidier s the author parents like many of the working class use to be communist but then in the 1980 s switched their allegiance to the right wing parties national front now the right wing parties National Front now Rally The author has remained left wing He has felt alienated from his family and has not spoken to his elder brother in over thirty years he did not o to his father s funeral His father was vehemently anti ay The only news he ets on his family is from his mother who he has kept in touch with albeit sporadicallyWhen Didier made himself a part of the intellectual elite by becoming a writer and journalist he tried to hide his working class roots He had to change his way of speaking he read voraciously listened to music like opera all of which were far removed from the working class world There is a shame he had for his backgroundI found this a very interesting and passionate book The writer is honest in his various portrayals and is Th provokes new reflection on Eribon's part about how multiple processes of domination intersect in a iven life and in a iven culture Eribon sets out to investigate his past the history of his family and the trajectory of his own life His story weaves together a set of remarkable reflections on the class system in France on the role of the educational system in class identity on the way both class and sexual identities are formed and on the recent history of French politics including the shifting voting patterns of the working classes reflected by.
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