History of a Community of Working-Class Readers: Another “Trip into the Working-Class Culture”?

By Nathalie Ponsard

Using the history of readers in a working-class community in Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray, the author looks into the specificity of the workers' readings. She highlights a high point of collective practices between 1945 and the 1970s characterized by three reading streams: the workers' press (La Vie Ouvrière) and local press (Paris-Normandie), classical literature novels as well as real life novels and communist novels, and finally works on the Second World War. The appropriation processes show a strong reference to actual experience, the influence of the C.G.T. union's culture, but also some forms of resistance to reading prescriptions. Thus, some singular appropriation modes can be identified depending on the circles of readers and in function of the importance of reading in the development of their identity. We therefore evolve from a homogeneous working community to a diversified community of readers.


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