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Article Dans Une Revue American Behavioral Scientist Année : 2017

'Left' vs. 'Right': How French Children Reconstruct the Political Field


This article deals with the question of children’s relations to the political order. More precisely, it examines the empirical question of children’s appropriation of the left/right cleavage. To do so, we conducted a 2-year study (2010-2012), in two primary schools in Paris, with 336 children aged between 7 and 10 years. This article is based on the analysis of the questionnaire that was administered to all the children at the beginning of the second year, before the beginning of the presidential campaign of 2012. Starting with what could have been taken for survey bias—children preferring “the right” because they are right-handers—we argue that this misunderstanding is indeed meaningful and can be very useful, theoretically and methodologically. It helps us demonstrate that politicization is based on symbolic logics of transposition from one practical domain (the use of the body) to another (politics). On the basis of this misunderstanding, we construct an indicator of the degree of politicization, which allows us to demonstrate that these general symbolic logics are themselves dependent on social logics (of gender and class in particular) that make this transposition more or less difficult, and to occur more or less early. Regarding the qualitative analysis of the open-ended questions for the significations of “right” and “left”, we finally identify four main lexicons of explanation for this dichotomy (corporeal, nominal/descriptive, affective/moral, and argumentative).
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Dates et versions

hal-03151779 , version 1 (25-02-2021)



Wilfried Lignier, Julie Pagis. 'Left' vs. 'Right': How French Children Reconstruct the Political Field. American Behavioral Scientist, 2017, American Behavioral Scientist, 61 (2), p. 167-185. ⟨10.1177/0002764216689120⟩. ⟨hal-03151779⟩
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