A public evening to learn about Yellow Vests


Institutional Communication Service

18 March 2019

On Monday, 25 March at 6:30 p.m. in classroom A31 (Lugano campus) the French sociologist Michel Wieviorka will assess the political and cultural situation of the first 4 months of the so-called “Gilet Jaune” (Jellow Vests), who have brought innovation in the world of mobilisation and called into question the French top down system. The conference "Inventivité et violences face à la verticalité du pouvoir" ("inventive and violence against the verticality of power ")  will be held in French and will open with welcome remarks by USI Rector Boas Erez followed by an introduction by the Director of the Instiute of Public Communication Jean-Patrick Villeneuve.

The yellow vests have been around for four months. They have brought innovation in the world of mobilisation and achieved representation throughout the territory. The Jellow Vests called into question the verticality of power, promoting a bottom-up model rather than the existing top-down system, directly addressing the higher power. They are organised in horizontal fashion and refuse to act according to the traditional ways of politics. Their ideals are not a utopian counter proposal: it is a defensive movement who managed to destabilise the main power and create and unprecedented great national debate.

So what is the political and cultural outcome of this experience? Is there a real new connection between the higher power and the Yellow Vests or can their interaction be compared to a dialogue between deaf men? Faced with these dynamics, and when several countries, including neighbouring Italy, are tempted by populism, nationalism, extremism and the idea that social issues must be answered with identity responses (Islam, migrants, national identity), where does the French model stand? 

These important questions will be addressed by Michel Wieviorka, president of the Maison des sciences de l'Homme Foundation and director of research at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris. Formerly president of the International Sociological Association (2006-2010), Wieviorka sits on the Scientific Councils of the European Research Council (ERC). His research focuses on social movements, diversity, multiculturalism and the different forms of evil (racism, terrorism, violence, anti-Semitism). Michel Wieviorka regularly speaks on these issues in the French, European and international media.

The conference is proposed within the activities of USI Master of Advanced Studies in Intercultural Communication in which prof. Wieviorka has been teaching for years within the module "Multiculturalism and Diversity".