French Word of the Day: Gréviculture

French Word of the Day: Gréviculture
If you've ever joined in some collective grumbling about strike action in France you might have heard this - but be careful using it.

Why do I need to know gréviculture?

If you're ever in France and there is a strike on (which is not a wildly unlikely proposition) you might hear people muttering this to themselves.

What does it mean?

It means 'strike culture' or a culture of striking. In French une grève is a strike, while en grève is used to describe a person or group who is on strike. So you might see signs saying fermé en raison de la grève – closed due to strike action.

On days when there are big strike actions, such as Friday's public transport strike in Paris, you might hear people muttering darkly that France has a gréviculture.

When should I use it?

If you are going to use it all, we would suggest using it very carefully, as the word does carry some baggage.

For a start some French people can be rather sensitive about their country's reputation for being permanently on strike. When you compare days lost to strike action in France to the rest of the world France is often ahead, but not by a particularly big margin. There has also been a big decrease in strike days since the 1970s.

In France when strikes do happen they tend to be public sector ones, which are highly visible, widely publicised and cause a lot of disruption, so maybe it seems that French people strike more than they actually do.

The word gréviculture also has some associations with the far right, since it was widely used by Front National founder Jean-Marie Le Pen in 1995. In fact the term was coined back around 1900, but for some people it still has associations with the politics of the far right.

So this one might be a word to recognise but not use yourself.






Member comments

Become a Member to leave a comment.Or login here.