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By Brian Rigby

`Culture' is among the most often used phrases within the French vocabulary. It sells not just books, newspapers and magazines but in addition customer items and political events. yet what are the meanings of `culture populaire'? What have the French understood by means of it, and what's its heritage? Brian Rigby's full of life and cogent research strains altering notions of pop culture in France, from 1936 - the yr of the preferred entrance - to the current day. Asking why `culture' has develop into this type of fiercely contested time period, Rigby considers the paintings of the foremost French theorists, together with Barthes, Bourdieu and Baudrillard.

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Extra info for Popular Culture in Modern France: A Study of Cultural Discourse

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58 He does, however, add that the complex and profound life of the ‘quartier’ cannot be captured by political rhetoric or by statistics. Mayol has, therefore, tried to write a text in which he consciously avoids foisting political categories and political interpretations on his material. In fact, his ‘socio-ethnographic’ approach leads him away from politics and into a consideration of the ‘culture populaire’ of his district, conceived of not as a politicised working-class culture, but as a popular culture which is the modern equivalent of the old folk culture: To be a member of the working class is…not so much to be yoked to a specific job, as to participate (and this is fundamental) in a form of urban popular culture, in which what are most important are those essential values of 21 POPULAR CULTURE IN MODERN FRANCE identification which revolve principally around practices of solidarity.

38 2 POPULAR CULTURE AND POPULAR EDUCATION: LEISURE, WORK AND CULTURE In 1962, Jacques Charpentreau and René Kaës published a volume entitled La Culture populaire en France [‘Popular culture in France’],1 which provides a useful starting-point for the analysis of one of the dominant meanings of ‘culture populaire’ in France from the 1930s until at least the late 1960s. Essentially, Charpentreau and Kaës used the term ‘culture populaire’ to characterise the educational and cultural movement that emerged at the time of the Popular Front, was nurtured during the Resistance and took form at the time of the Liberation.

86 Everyday life for Lefebvre was, therefore, nothing but a manufactured illusion, a domain in which people were controlled and manipulated, while being made to feel that they were making free choices and living the good life. In calling for the revolutionary transformation of daily life through grandiose and daring acts of destruction and creativity, Lefebvre was heralding the Utopian dreams of 1968. Writers such as De Certeau, who in the wake of 1968 experienced the failures and disillusionments of these Utopian dreams of cultural revolution, could not write of cultural matters in the same way as Lefebvre, even though after 1968 De Certeau still shared some of Lefebvre’s attitudes to mass culture.

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