L'univers politique des classes moyennes
The middle classes hâve always been at the very heart of French political thinking. From Gambetta, hailing the " new classes ", to Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, calling for a strengthening of the " central group ", ail the leaders hâve sought their support. Thèse middle classes hâve often brought about décisive political changes, contributing in the past to the break up of the Popular Front and more recently to the élection of a socialist Président of the Republic. Although the middle classes represent a principal stake, they hâve never acquired real political autonomy. Republican unity, the development of the worker's movement, and the relative lack of interest of the right and the Church before 1936 worked toward blocking a spécifie représentation of the middle classes. It was not until the Popular Front shock that they embodied a mythical " third way " between capitalism and collectivism through a passing alliance of small bases and the managerial class. The last few décades hâve seen the breaking up of the middle classes marked by the split between non salaried and salaried workers. Middle level managers, technicians and clérical workers hâve now become the driving force. Their progressive adhésion to the left contrasts sharply with the small tradespeople's conservatism. But how will the commitment of the first group be affected by the carrent socialist expérience ?