Original Article

French Politics 13, 221-240 (September 2015) | doi:10.1057/fp.2015.11

Political practices from the sidelines: A qualitative approach to political ambivalence in contemporary working-class youth in France

Lorenzo Barrault-Stella and Clémentine Berjaud

As a supplement to the classic works of electoral studies, this article investigates the relationships to politics and vote of working-class youth from the Parisian banlieues on the basis of a qualitative field study conducted during the 2012 presidential campaign. In doing so it addresses the general question of why and how a population that is usually seen as disconnected from politics votes anyway. We show that disinterest in politics does not equate to dispossession. Internal divides within the working class, elliptic appropriations, personal references and everyday life all contribute to the construction of opinions that translate into electoral positions. Finally, this article constitutes a methodological contribution to electoral sociology in addition to quantitative works.