The anatomy of shame and social exclusion

Meeting with Didier Eribon

Karakter and Biennale Warszawa invite you on 24 October at 18.00 to a meeting with Didier Eribon, author of an acclaimed book Returning to Reims, translated to Polish by Maryna Ochab. The author will be in conversation with sociologist and cultural studies expert Jan Sowa, author and editor of numerous books, including The King’s Phantom Body.  A Peripheral Struggle with Modern Form and Solidarity 2.0, or democracy as a form of life.

The meeting will be held in French, with consecutive interpretation to Polish.

French sociologist and philosopher has already published numerous books, including Foucault’s biography, when he realised that although for years he has been dealing with exclusion and homophobia, he has never analysed what marked his entire life: class division and poverty.

As a very young man, Eribon cut ties to his community, to try and live different life at all cost. Years later he returns to his family home and describes everything of which has always been so ashamed and from which he was running away: the sense of hurt, humiliation, the need for social recognition. He talks about his parents – cleaner mother and labourer father – their desperate attempts to break the glass ceiling, improve their life, educate themselves, about their political choices, life decisions, and it is all supported by an insightful analysis of the capitalist society and the French province. He looks for the answer to the question: what is the current situation of the working class? Why do his relatives vote for the right? What obstacles children from families with low social capital must overcome? What is social recognition in practice? Many of them can be related also to the Polish society and ways in which it evolves.

Returning to Reims appeared several times on theatre stages, including in an adaptation by Laurent Hatat and Thomas Ostermeier.