Power popular and social reform. The consumption of workers in the latter Nineteenth century, a book by Anne Lhuissier (Quae editions/MSH, November 2007, 284 p., 26 €)
The work of Anne Lhuissier aims to restore the coherence of family practices power of working-class families, escaping to a reading pessimistic consumption popular in the Nineteenth century, reading for a long time predominant. Based on surveys of the Nineteenth century, in particular on the case studies of families undertaken by Frédéric Le Play and his disciples, this book identifies methodological issues of importance.
On the one hand, this book raises questions about the sharing of tasks between sociologists and historians. The sociologists who go to get their data, in the domain of historians, are they of the sociology of the past or of the secondary analysis of the former surveys ? Adopting the methods and ways of thinking that are specific to the story ? It is on this debate again, Claude Grignon in his preface titled ” History and sociology “.
The second methodological interest of the book, it allows you to bounce the debate opened by Claude Grignon and Jean-Claude Passeron  in The erudite and the popular. Because it has been a subject of observation, an issue publicly debated in the spheres of political, administrative, employer and charitable, the power is in the Nineteenth century the subject of moral judgments. The food shortages and claims workers on food led to a reflection on the catering. The major issue is that of the cost of the food. The inclinations of moral investigators often lead to defects in observation, interpretation, hasty, and erroneous, partial, and misérabilistes. Reworking on these data, Anne Lhuissier is based on the most objective, compare the monographs of the leplaysiens to economic surveys on the consumption of meat. She probe with constance investigations of the Nineteenth century, which had a target of social reform and manage to sort the wheat from the chaff. The material of investigation is presented in a very precise way in chapter 1, which is entirely devoted to.
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