Class defectors, a phenomenon of the literary re-entry

The writer Edouard Louis calls it ” his odyssey “: This journey of life that he described in Ending Eddy Bellegueule (Seuil, 2014) to the one he built for himself through transformations – voice, name, body, readings, vocabulary – has erased “ one by one the traces of what[’il a] summer “. But now, when he has come to the end of this odyssey, his childhood memories are more nostalgic. ” I would like to go back in time …, he writes in Change: method, published on September 16 in Seuil. “Am I doomed to always hope for another life?” “

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This re-entry, they are several authors to be interested in the course of the “transclasses”, theirs, like Edouard Louis, or that of their fellows. In What are your parents doing? (JC Lattès), the journalist Adrien Naselli, son of a bus driver and a secretary, went to meet the parents of other “class defectors”, as they are called today: the politicians Aurélie Filippetti and Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, journalist Rokhaya Diallo, magistrate Youssef Badr, to name only the best known.

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The philosopher Chantal Jaquet, who coined the term “transclass” in Transclasses or non-reproduction (PUF, 2014), looks back on his career in a book of interviews with Jean-Marie Durand (Just by the way, PUF). Finally, the editorial director of Le Point, Sébastien Le Fol, denounces, in Stay in your place… ! (Albin Michel), ” the supposedly meritocratic French system ” who “Murder every day thousands of budding geniuses”. There he talks about celebrities of modest origin – Anne Hidalgo, Fabrice Luchini, Michel Onfray, Cyril Hanouna, Bernard Tapie or François Pinault – of the social contempt of which they have been the object.

Meritocracy, a lost illusion

This publishing phenomenon does not, however, make class defectors heroes. On the contrary, the authors drive a few additional nails into the well-damaged coffin of meritocracy. It is rather a question of a feeling of dereliction, of contempt, of shame and of this shame of being ashamed described by Albert Camus. “In recent years, the discourse has changed, thus writes Adrien Naselli. Defectors no longer just smile on television, setting an example and saying thank you. “

“Even those who have benefited from social mobility are very skeptical of the system. And many explain their success mainly by luck. »Luc Rouban, political scientist

They are rather privileged witnesses of the scarcity of their own success, they who can see that their place in the republican imagination is inversely proportional to their number. To the point of making Adrien Naselli say: “When one or one of them crosses my path, what I feel is comparable to feeling in love. “” This is what we see in our surveys, comments Luc Rouban, from Cevipof. Even those who have benefited from social mobility are very skeptical of the system. And many explain their success mainly by luck. ” Criticism of the republican model crosses all classes.

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