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France’s #Nuit Debout Social Movement: Young People Rising up and Moral Emotions

1
Institut du Monde Anglophone, Université Sorbonne Nouvelle—Paris 3, 75006 Paris, France
2
School of Global, Urban and Social Studies, RMIT University, Melbourne, VIC 3000, Australia
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Societies 2018, 8(4), 100; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc8040100
Received: 20 August 2018 / Revised: 26 September 2018 / Accepted: 11 October 2018 / Published: 16 October 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Youth and Social and Political Action in a Time of Austerity)
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Abstract

Set against a backdrop of austerity and neoliberal policies affecting many young people adversely, the Nuit Debout protest movement in France began in March 2016 when people gathered in public spaces to oppose the Socialist government’s plan to introduce neoliberal labour legislation. Like other post-2008 movements, Nuit Debout was leaderless, non-hierarchical, and relied on social media for political communication and to mobilise participants. The Nuit Debout was also a movement inspired by powerful moral-political emotions such as righteous anger and hope. In this article, the authors address two questions. First, what features of Nuit Debout distinguished it from earlier social movements in France? Second, what role did moral emotions play in mobilising people to act as they did? Drawing on interviews with young protestors and their own testimonies, we argue that Nuit Debout was a distinctive form of protest for France. One distinguishing feature was the way young people—the “precarious generation”—were motivated by a strong sense of situated injustice, much of which related to what they saw as the unfairness of austerity policies, being deprived of a decent future and the feeling they had been betrayed by governments. View Full-Text
Keywords: young people; social movements; protest; political participation; austerity; moral-political emotions; precarity; labour laws; Nuit Debout; France young people; social movements; protest; political participation; austerity; moral-political emotions; precarity; labour laws; Nuit Debout; France
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Pickard, S.; Bessant, J. France’s #Nuit Debout Social Movement: Young People Rising up and Moral Emotions. Societies 2018, 8, 100.

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