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Journal Articles Constellations Year : 2024

Manifesting the revolutionary people: The Yellow Vest Movement and popular sovereignty

Abstract

The Yellow Vest movement that emerged in France in 2018 brought together people from many and varied backgrounds and political affiliations, united by a common avoidance of partisan politics. This made it difficult to characterize them politically. They claimed to be a manifestation of the sovereign people as a whole, in a manner typical of populist social movements. To give substance to this claim, they used the imagery and symbols of the French Revolution, presenting themselves as the original constituent people returning to the political arena. But from this position, rather than calling for a popular government or a new populist leader, they intended to regain popular control over the actions of representatives, to monitor them and ensure that they acted in the general interest. In doing so, they reverted to a conception of popular sovereignty already seen in the Sans-Culottes movement and in the insurrections of the 19th century, but invisibilized by the now declining historical triumph of the institutions of party-political democracy.
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Dates and versions

halshs-04448736 , version 1 (09-02-2024)

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Attribution - NonCommercial - NoDerivatives

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Samuel Hayat. Manifesting the revolutionary people: The Yellow Vest Movement and popular sovereignty. Constellations, In press, ⟨10.1111/1467-8675.12736⟩. ⟨halshs-04448736⟩
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