Since the 1970s, a theoretical and empirical interest in the processes of transformation of the working classes has developed in France. Pierre Bourdieu's sociology has offered an analytical framework for analysing such processes, which are investigated through various field studies that follow in the 1980s and 1990s. In particular, the long ethnography by Stéphane Beaud and Michel Pialoux among the workers of the Peugeot factory in Sochaux-Montbéliard, the largest French factory, applies a generational reading key to the decline of the French working class, which is read in terms of crisis of its social reproduction. Following this research, in the years 2000s and 2010s a broad sociological debate on the reconfigurations of the working classes opened up, showing that their heterogeneity, according to the geographical location, the fields of activity and the type of employment, the prevailing sex and nationality/ethnicity, may have consequences on the reproduction of class culture.
Working classes; French sociology; Pierre Bourdieu; social reproduction; sociology of work; labour movement