A collection to testify to the experiences of confinement in Rezé – Fragil

How has the experience of confinement upset the daily life of Rezéens and Rezéennes? It is to answer this question that Anne Johnson, citizen participation professional, and Isabelle Louineau, environmentalist, went to meet them. These interviews gave birth to a searchable collection in line.

This book brings together, through quotes and photographs, the testimonies of 34 inhabitants of Rezé, aged 6 to 92 years. Anne and Isabelle questioned them about the impact of health restrictions on their daily life and their feelings. Several themes are discussed: family, social life, economic and professional life, the life of young people… The diversity of backgrounds reflects the differences in ways of living this very special period, this “shock”.

Writing a book: a need to transcribe this very special period

Anne and Isabelle had the idea of ​​going to interview the Rezéens and Rezéennes at the end of the first confinement, in May 2020. They explain to Fragil the birth of their project: “During the confinement, neither of us was able to work, the heart of our business being based on citizen participation. Talking with people was therefore a visceral urge after two months of confinement. We also had the feeling that, during the lockdown, citizen participation was endangered and that decision-makers were taking the opportunity to push through controversial projects. There was therefore a risk of silencing the citizen’s voice. This book is also a way to fight against this drift at our level by going out to meet people to question them. ”

The collection does not want to be a story but rather a testimony of the moment lived. Indeed, they say they are not “Communicating” but having wanted “Leave a trace with the support that [leur] appeared the most accessible: the book ”. They continue: “We wanted to promote the words of those we met to give them a feedback. This project was both personal and professional so having a support facilitates its presentation. ” This choice was therefore obvious for Anne and Isabelle.

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An approach that is not meant to be sociological

The authors do not put forward any sociological significance to their collection. Indeed, the people met were met by chance, in the street or in parks. Few people refused to talk about their experiences, the majority took a long time to give themselves up: according to Isabelle, these interviews allowed “free speech” around a trauma experienced collectively: “it was saving for many” .

In addition, the diversity of the experiences recounted reflects Rezé’s social plurality. The testimonies of Louna, 6 years old, and Manuela, self-employed, mix with those of Michel, teacher, or Yoann, detained in March 2020 at the Maison d’Arrêt.

Talking about how people felt during the lockdown also has a psychological purpose, the authors say: “Choosing what to tell rewrite history and heal trauma. The idea of ​​resilience spoke to us. ”

Upheavals linked to health constraints

Each participant was able to focus on what he had most marked during the confinement and deconfinement. What comes first is obviously the lack of social bond, of interpersonal relationships. Loneliness is referred to as suffering by some people, like Anne (93), but also as a respite from a hectic life. The return to nature and calm were the outlets in the face of the stress of being sick. Fewer cars, planes: Bao, manager of the tobacco shop at Place du 8-Mai, spoke of “good for the planet”.

The development of digital tools, in particular through the rise of teleworking, has questioned many Rezéens and Rezéennes. High school students explained that they had difficulty taking distance courses due to a limited internet connection.

Example of a testimonial from a person who wonders about the new habits linked to distancing

Another theme that the interviews address concerns the “world after”, deconfinement and the hopes that it gives rise to. Whether it is through a healthier life (sport, food, etc.) or more oriented towards others, there is a need for ecology and social measures. But, reading these testimonies, it is difficult to measure the degree of motivation and long-term impact of these hopes expressed during the first confinement.

Isabelle explains: “We felt a dawning hope, a desire for the world to change. We were amazed that, whatever the situation, people experienced this confinement as a moment of respite to focus on oneself and almost all of them had a reflection on the aftermath. ”

Examples of testimonies: many Rezéens and Rezéennes hope for a better world

Limited distribution of the collection

Anne Johnson and Isabelle Louineau, however, regret that their book was not more relayed. It has not been printed and has not been the subject of very active communication. A collective frieze was to emerge but discussions with elected officials from the city of Rezé could not be completed because of the second confinement. Due to lack of funding, the project was not able to gain momentum and readers did not give feedback to the authors.

“A coffee-meeting followed by a debate was to take place in a café but had to be canceled because of the second confinement. All the projects were therefore stopped. There was nevertheless an article in Rezé Magazine. ”

Looking to the future, Anne and Isabelle, however, conclude on a positive note: “Beyond the content, it is more the working method that we would like to see reused. We recently met with the Loire-Atlantique department to present the work. ”

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