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Retour à Reims av Didier Eribon

Retour à Reims (utgåvan 2010)

av Didier Eribon

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
229391,905 (4.08)5
On thinking the matter through, it doesn't seem exaggerated to assert that my coming out of the sexual closet, my desire to assume and assert my homosexuality, coincided within my personal trajectory with my shutting myself up inside what I might call a class closet.
Titel:Retour à Reims
Författare:Didier Eribon
Info:S.l Flammarion 2010
Samlingar:Ditt bibliotek


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Na zijn interview in de Groene leek Eribon me sympathieker dan hij in dit boek naar voren komt. Gepresenteerd als een terugkeer van deze succesvolle hoogleraar sociologie en mediapersoon naar zijn 'roots', een arbeidersgezin uit Reims, na de dood van zijn vader, maar toch eerder een sociologische verhandeling over kansarmen en kansrijken. In zijn analyses heeft E. meestal wel gelijk, maar ze zijn erg 'dik' geschreven, met wel tamelijk opblazen van de kloof hoog-laag (maar misschien was die in Frk jaren 50-70 wel groter dan Nl.) en met erg weinig oog voor de verschillen binnen de klasse 'boven' hem (zoals typisch en ook logisch is voor sociale stijgers). Wat hij over de onderdrukking van homo's zegt spreekt me meer aan dan wat hij over die van arbeiders zegt; ook logisch. Wat me het meeste tegenviel is zijn gebrek aan werkelijke terugkeer, aan sympathie met zijn ouders en broers, aan een poging tot contact. Ik vind het onbegrijpelijk dat iemand veertig jaar zijn familie niet wil zien, m.i. toch ook uit arrogantie en kilte. ( )
  Harm-Jan | Jun 10, 2018 |
Like many gay men, Didier Eribon moved to the big city and effectively broke off contact with his parents when he came out — he was prompted to write this memoir largely by the process of renewing his relationship with his elderly mother, decades later, when she found herself having to cope with his father’s illness and death.

In the book, he reflects on how both his sexuality and his choice of an academic career cut him off from the rough, working-class background he grew up in, and at the odd ways in which the two interact. It is quite consciously written as a book by an academic, for academics, and it’s written in the finest sociologese (a dialect that at least has the merit of being no harder to understand in French than it is in English...). It can be tough for a lay reader to follow in places, and occasionally it almost reads as though Eribon is just making fun of himself, but it is worth battling on through the jargon. Eribon takes his personal experiences and bounces them up against political and sociological theory and against the parallel experiences of writers who have influenced him - Sartre, Marx, Foucault, Bourdieu, etc., but also, less obviously, Annie Ernaux, Raymond Williams, James Baldwin and Patrick Chamoiseau. And he comes up with some interesting conclusions about the problems that are inherent in the relationship between academic left-wing thought and the real working-class that it claims to represent.

One aspect of the book that has got a lot of media coverage is his analysis — drawn from his mother’s admission that she “only once” voted for Le Pen — of the way the Left may have made space for radical right-wing ideas by moving into the comfortable mainstream of politics. But this is actually a rather minor part of the book, and he doesn’t really develop this idea very far. What was interesting, though, was the point he made about the complexity of the act of voting. People don’t simply vote to express their agreement with a candidate’s policies, or in their own interests (in press interviews more recently he’s taken this further to talk about not only the way his mother — a pensioner dependent on social security — would have lost out if Le Pen had got in, but also the turkey/Christmas referendum in the UK). But there also seems to be something more than a little patronising about his attitude: he seems to accept that working-class culture is necessarily racist, sexist, homophobic, and that you can only get beyond that by engaging people in some cause that makes them see beyond their own noses (striking workers show solidarity with their black colleagues...).

What I found particularly interesting about the book was the frankness of Eribon’s discussion of his feelings about his working-class background, which actually do seem to come very close to those Ernaux expresses in her books (in very different language!). There is the same feeling of shame and embarrassment at his (perceived) coarseness and ignorance compared to his bourgeois fellow-students, the same guilt about having abandoned “where he came from”. And the same anger about the education system that pretends to provide equal opportunities but is actually designed to favour kids from nice, respectable middle-class backgrounds at every stage.

Also interesting to see his thoughts about how expressing his sexuality as a gay man required him to develop an identity different from the one he grew up in, so reinforcing the tendency to become middle-class (and a sport-hating aesthete — yes, we’ve all been there and done that...!).

Not an easy book, but worth reading if you’re interested in class and sexuality and how they interact. ( )
1 rösta thorold | May 30, 2018 |
A partir d'un retour dans sa ville natale, après la mort de son père, Didier Eribon mène une réflexion sur son itinéraire d'enfant d'une famille ouvrière, devenu universitaire. Bien au-delà d'un récit intime, en soi déjà intéressant, une analyse sociologique passionnante sur la famille, l'éducation, la construction de l'identité sexuelle, les choix politiques. ( )
1 rösta sylvjt | Apr 30, 2011 |
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Ostermeier, ThomasBerättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
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On thinking the matter through, it doesn't seem exaggerated to assert that my coming out of the sexual closet, my desire to assume and assert my homosexuality, coincided within my personal trajectory with my shutting myself up inside what I might call a class closet.

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