Merriman John M. - Margins of City Life: Explorations on the French...
|The Margins of Urban Life brings to life the "floating worlds of the periphery" in nineteenth-century French cities--the world of beggars, the most miserable prostitutes, ragpickers, casual labor, and unwanted people; the location of slaughterhouses, gas factories, tanneries, and, increasingly, even executions. The men and women of the suburbs and faubourgs were long identified by urban elites and government officials with the turbulent "dangerous classes" who might one day fall upon the wealthy quarters of the center. Merriman analyzes and evokes the social, class, neighborhood, cultural, and political solidarities--the shared sense of not belonging--that made the marginal people in peripheral places emerge as contenders for political power. His investigation explores the world of the Catalan agricultural laborers, the textile workers of the "high town" of Reims, the bitter rivalry between Catholic and Protestant workers in the faubourge of Nimes, the haven for under- and unemployed proletarians in Ingouville, above Le Havre, and France's strange frontier town, Napoleon-Vendee.|