The real story behind 'yellow vest' France

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Sociologist Benoît Coquard specialises in the study of the working classes who live in rural areas of France. He has just published a book which rejects many of the old assumptions about France's declining countryside and the supposed isolation of citizens living in 'peripheral' areas around the country's large conurbations cities. As Mediapart's Joseph Confavreux writes, the book also provides valuable insight into the origins of the so-called 'yellow vest' protests which began sweeping France a year ago.

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Sociologist Benoît Coquard, who works at the agricultural science institute INRA (Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique), grew up in a rural area of France. Now, following in the footsteps of another academic Nicolas Renahy – who also came from a rural area and wrote Les Gars du Coin ('The Guys From This Area') – Coquard has written about a part of French society he knows through personal experience. The result is Ceux qui restentFaire sa vie dans les campagnes en déclin ('Those who remain. Living in a countryside in decline') published by La Découverte.