Platform for City Culture and Public Debate


Didier Eribon

on Class, Shame and The Future of the Left

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Date: Wednesday 18 September 2024
Time: 20:00 (drinks from 19:30)
Location: OASE, Schiehaven 15a, Rotterdam
Admission: €10,- (regular), €6,- (reduced)
Language: English

On Wednesday, September 18, we welcome French sociologist and philosopher Didier Eribon on the occasion of the Dutch translation of his new book, A Woman of the People (Een Vrouw uit het Volk). Eribon is internationally renowned for his groundbreaking work Returning to Reims. Part memoir, part social and political theory, the book caused a stir in France and approached cult status in Germany, where it touched a nerve with its central premise that the mainstream left is to blame for pushing the working classes towards the far right and nationalism.

A few years ago, Didier Eribon’s mother entered a retirement home and died within a few weeks. After her death, Didier Eribon resumed the personal and theoretical exploration he had begun in Returning to Reims after his father’s death. In A Woman of the People, he analyzes his mother’s decline, which leads him to reflect on old age and illness, our relationship with the elderly and death, and the conditions under which dependent people are cared for. Eribon revisits his mother’s life, particularly the periods when she was a cleaning lady, a factory worker, and then a pensioner, capturing her in all her complexity, from her participation in strikes to her obsessive racism. He concludes by using old age as the basis for a reflection on politics: how can people be mobilized to take action?


Didier Eribon

Didier Eribon is professor of Sociology at the University of Amiens. His books include Returning to Reims, the biography Michel Foucault, Insult and the Making of the Gay Self, and other works of critical theory. He is the mentor of French bestseller writer Édouard Louis and influential for his views on gender, education, and social issues such as nationalism, poverty, and the future of the left.

Marianne Klerk

Marianne Klerk is a historian and programme curator. Working on the intersection of academia and the public debate, Marianne researches, curates debates and publishes on a variety of social and political topics, ranging from cultural heritage to neoliberalism. She is a senior lecturer in humanities at the Erasmus University College and a fellow at Debatpodium Arminius in Rotterdam. Currently, she is writing a book on the history of gentrification, titled ‘Stadtschmerz in tijden van gentrificatie’ (Boom uitgevers).

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