Childhood in the Promised Land: Working-Class Movements and the Colonies de Vacances in France, 1880-1960

Childhood in the Promised Land is the first history of France s colonies de vacances, a vast network of summer camps created for working class children The colonies originated as a late nineteenth century charitable institution, providing rural retreats intended to restore the fragile health of poor urban children Participation grew steadily throughout the first half ofChildhood in the Promised Land is the first history of France s colonies de vacances, a vast network of summer camps created for working class children The colonies originated as a late nineteenth century charitable institution, providing rural retreats intended to restore the fragile health of poor urban children Participation grew steadily throughout the first half of the twentieth century, trickling up by the late 1940s to embrace middle class youth as well At the heart of the study lie the municipal colonies de vacances, organized by the working class cities of the Paris red belt Located in remote villages or along the inexpensive stretches of the Atlantic coast, the municipal colonies gathered their young clientele into variously structured child villages, within which they were to live out particular, ideal visions of the collective life of children throughout the long summer holiday Focusing on the creation of and participation in these summer camps, Laura Lee Downs presents surprising insights into the location and significance of childhood in French working class cities and, ultimately, within the development of modern France.Drawing on a rich array of historical sources, including dossiers and records of municipal colonies discovered in remote town halls of the Paris suburbs, newspaper accounts, and interviews with adults who participated in the colonies as children, Downs reveals how diverse groups including local Socialist and Communist leaders and Catholic seminarians seized the opportunity to shape the minds and bodies of working class youth Childhood in the Promised Land shows how, in creating the summer camps, these various groups combined pedagogical theories, religious convictions, political ideologies, and theories about the relationship between the countryside and children s physical and cognitive development At the same time, the book sheds light on classic questions of social control, highlighting the active role of the children in shaping their experiences.
Childhood in the Promised Land Working Class Movements and the Colonies de Vacances in France Childhood in the Promised Land is the first history of France s colonies de vacances a vast network of summer camps created for working class children The colonies originated as a late nineteenth cen

  • Title: Childhood in the Promised Land: Working-Class Movements and the Colonies de Vacances in France, 1880-1960
  • Author: Laura Lee Downs
  • ISBN: 9780822329442
  • Page: 459
  • Format: Paperback
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    1 thought on “Childhood in the Promised Land: Working-Class Movements and the Colonies de Vacances in France, 1880-1960”

    1. Although a little repetitive at times, this book is really well done and highly informative. I am not totally sold on some of her analysis, at times, but the evidence is clearly presented in a manner that one could argue with her based on her own writing -- excellent presentation of stories, data, and just plain old good scholarship. Although, I am non sure why she chose to jump around a bit with colonies. That is my only structural complaint. A few criticisms, but in the end, they are all point [...]

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