The "yellow vest" movement in France is anything but anecdotal. Trying to explain it by focusing on the sociology of participants or the rise of populisms and the rejection of the elites is hardly convincing. Luc Rouban sees this movement as the symptom of a profound alteration in attitudes toward politics. Through a close analysis of surveys, studies, and barometers, as well as of feedback from the French government's Grand National Debate, he reveals the hidden sources of this change. He calls this the dark matter of democracy.
In a context where policy and campaign platforms have become like any other product for consumption, and in which an increasingly large part of the population feels deprived of autonomy and forced to suffer to the negative effects of globalization, class warfare has changed. Notions of representativity and universality are no long relevant here.
Democratic debate focused on the pursuit of the long-term general interest must now confront a political sphere reduced to short term exchanges between a citizen-client and a politician-provider. The head-on conflict between these two unreconcilable constitutes a significant threat to democracy.