Frédéric Viguier traces the history of the "cause des pauvres" -- defense of the poor peoples' rights -- since 1945 in France. He describes efforts by organizations such as ATD Quart Monde and the Federation working on behalf of inhabitants living in temporary camps and cites de transit (Fédération des acteurs de la solidarité dans les campements et les cités de transit) to defend the rights of poor people before public officials, the media, and the academic community. His book also examines how the fight against poverty has been transformed since the 19th century from a social policy of inclusion to a stigmatizing view of individuals seen as too lazy to look for work.
Frédéric Viguier is a sociologist and Clinical Associate Professor at the Institute of French Studies, New York University. Emmanuelle Saada is Professor of French and History at Columbia University