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Un motif pour une historiographie du travail : représenter les corps laborieux, 1968-2020

Abstract : This thesis proposes to examine how work has been represented in the West from1968 to 2020. As a theme lacking nobility in the history of art, work became a motif ofchoice as of the Second Industrial Revolution. This motif became stronger in countrieswith a service-based economy emerging after World War II. The “world revolution” of1968, to cite Immanuel Wallerstein, contributed to this development: as atransnational cultural revolution, 1968 challenged the great unifying narratives ofWestern modernity. The professional activity, regardless of the industry, is no longerrepresented as taking part to the political regimes in which it is performed, but as themotive of a social critique seeking to be de-ideologized.From then on, the works depicting labor have far less to do with the political functionof art that occurred in the middle of the 19th century, according to Walter Benjamin’sterminology, than with a demystifying function. The chapters of this thesis explore itsmain declinations that share the historicization of work as a common feature. Work isno longer represented as an an-historical visual subject of politics, but as a historicizedexpression of the political. Moreover, after 1968 it isn’t one, but two myths that aredebunked in the same fall: not only the mythologies surrounding work, but also themyth of this myth, supported by the idea that nature is controllable, and that this issomething desirable as long as nature would provide the energy required for fulfillingthe dreams and ambitions of social progress in the 19th and 20th centuries. Work wasboth its means and its emblem.
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Submitted on : Monday, January 24, 2022 - 3:12:34 PM
Last modification on : Friday, April 15, 2022 - 10:20:01 AM

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Camille Richert. Un motif pour une historiographie du travail : représenter les corps laborieux, 1968-2020. Histoire. Institut d'études politiques de Paris - Sciences Po, 2021. Français. ⟨NNT : 2021IEPP0017⟩. ⟨tel-03541288⟩

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