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English Issue > 2001

An Annual English Selection - 2001 - 42 - Supplement

An Unlikely Mobilization : The Occupation of Saint-Nizier Church by the Prostitutes of Lyon

Lilian MATHIEU

 

 

pp. 107-131

 

This article examines the conditions under which, in June 1975, a marginalized, stigmatized population –the prostitutes of the French city of Lyon– took the step of collective action, occupying a church for more than a week to protest against police repression. It highlights the difficulties these politically inexperienced women encountered in mobilizing, namely preventing defections and choosing an appropriate mode of action ; difficulties they were able to surmount thanks to resources provided by outside supporters endowed with practical knowledge in matters of collective action (activists in a group with close ties to the broad movement known as catholicisme social and feminists). Despite this assistance, however, the prostitutes’ mobilization quickly declined and soon expired, in part because of the leaders’ defection.

 

 

 
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