Which politicization of voluntary downshifting bifurcations? - Université Paris-Est-Créteil-Val-de-Marne Access content directly
Conference Papers Year : 2022

Which politicization of voluntary downshifting bifurcations?


paper will focus on downward professional changes (with a drop in income) and the consequent downward reorganisation of consumption. It is part of the sociology of work and consumption transformations in relation to the ecological transition. It is based on a qualitative interview survey conducted in France between 2016 and 2020 on the trajectories of downward professional reconversions. The survey focuses on the justifications given by individuals for the process of changing their lifestyle in order to question their transformative power and their political dimension. Is it a commitment to practices in the name of ecology and social justice, or is it an individual hedonistic quest representative of homo oeconomicus pursuing his own interests? Are this downshifting to care, cultural or ecological occupations (organic food, agriculture, animal husbandry, etc.) and these downward rearrangements of consumption interstitial resistance to capitalism with a transformative capacity? The paper schows the ambivalence of these changes and their politicisation. They are justified by a self-centred individualistic rhetoric ("my choice") stating the implementation of individual preferences but also by a set of values opposed to the dominant economic system which lead to a desire to work and consume differently. The politicisation of these life changes also varies greatly. Exit is linked to both voice through the demand for alternative forms of life and apathy, not as passivity but as silent, unpoliticized criticism. The politicisation of this professional exit varies greatly. The exit is linked to two other types of reaction to discontent: “voice”, through the demand for alternative forms of life and “apathy”, not as passivity but as silent, marginally politicised criticism. This hybridisation between the exit, voice and apathy categories, which Hirschman sees as alternatives, invites us to rethink the relationship between political practices and political discourse.
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hal-04464603 , version 1 (18-02-2024)


  • HAL Id : hal-04464603 , version 1


Anne de Rugy. Which politicization of voluntary downshifting bifurcations?: Ambivalences of individual transitions. Consumption, justice and futures: Where do we go from here?, European Sociological Association; Sociology of consumption (RN 5), Aug 2022, Oslo (Norway), Norway. ⟨hal-04464603⟩
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