Over recent decades concerns at the increased scarcity and precarity of salaried employment have dominated political struggles, theoretical debates and cultural representations in France. This study argues that such concerns are evidence of a profound shift in contemporary French economy, culture and society. Engaging with work in political economy and sociology, the book sketches a new interpretative framework, the better to understand the nature and implications of these profound changes. It examines the challenges such changes have posed to fundamental French republican values, arguing they have opened up a rift between older notions of French republican citizenship and the precarious forms of subjectivity characteristic of post-Fordist labour. The book traces the symptoms of this rift in a range of cinematic and literary representations of the contemporary workplace, as these depict the dilemmas faced, the trajectories followed, and the geographical regions inhabited by French workers of different ages, sexes, social classes, and ethnicities.
“This is a well-written and clearly argued treatment of the implications of a post-Fordist regime of economic management on employment in France, as seen through literary and filmic representations."
Nick Parsons, Cardiff University