The aim of this article is to explore the way in which mining identity has been put to political use in the northern mining region—the most important in France—over the past century. The article describes images and representations that define, in political terms, mining identity. Attention is also paid to the different political actors producing these narratives. The article begins with the construction and evolution of the political myth surrounding mining identity, especially after the Second World War. Then it examines the controversies and debates concerning the management of mining identity during the period of pit closures. Finally, it attempts, from a historical point of view, to show how the evolution of these political narratives can help us understand the present situation in the former mining basin of the north.
From Myth to Stigma? The Political Uses of Mining Identity in the North of France
MARION FONTAINE is lecturer (Maître de conferences) at the Université d’Avignon, France, and a member of the Research Centre Norbert Elias. She is interested in the social and political history of the European working classes and in the history of the deindustrialization process. She recently published The Racing Club de Lens et les gueules noires: Essai d’histoire sociale (2010) and Liévin 74: Fin d’un monde ouvrier (2014).
Marion Fontaine; From Myth to Stigma? The Political Uses of Mining Identity in the North of France. Labor 1 March 2019; 16 (1): 65–80. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/15476715-7269326
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