When Bookchin faces Bourdieu. French ‘weak’ municipalism, legitimation crisis and zombie political parties

Catégorie : Article dans une revue

Auteur(s) : Vincent Béal , Nicolas Maisetti , Gilles Pinson , Max Rousseau

Nom de la revue : Urban Studies

pp. 2195–2213

Année de publication : 2023

Résumé :

The French municipal elections of 2020 were marked by the emergence of ‘citizen lists’ in several cities. These lists are discussed here as ‘weak’ form of new municipalism: they integrate some ideas and logics of new municipalism without having the same level of radicality as the most emblematic international examples of the movement. By analysing these initiatives from a political sociology perspective inspired by Bourdieu’s work on the political field, we develop three main arguments. First, new municipalism in France emerged in response to a deepening political crisis. At the local scale, this crisis is fuelling a misalignment between urban societies and political parties that support entrepreneurial agendas. This has laid out the conditions for the emergence of a new municipalism, formed of complex and contradictory new social alliances. Second, this movement has been dominated by a ‘participationist ideology’. Citizens’ lists have placed strong emphasis on the search for innovative participatory tools, but have invested much less energy in the construction of an alternative urban political platform. Third, we underline the unfinished nature of the new municipalism revolution, where the movement’s impetus has been weakened by the resilience of ‘zombie’ political parties. In the end, the article highlights the need to take into greater consideration existing political and institutional contexts in the study of new municipalism.

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