A literary society. Sociology a writing workshop

A literary society. Sociology a writing workshop, a book by Frédéric Chateigner (Editions du Croquant, September 2008, 22€, 222 pages)

The present book is a monograph, a writing workshop for adults of a large provincial town. The survey was conducted by participant observation in the open, on the basis of two evenings per week, between December 2003 and June 2004. The writing workshops are an integral part of what Claude Poliak [1] calls the “universe of consolation” to the amateur writing, to the sides of the new contest, self-publishing. But the writing workshop has this peculiarity that write activity is done in common, in a place and time determined, and thus in public. The writing workshop therefore presents itself as an institution supervising and directing the writing process. The book is the opportunity to rest the question of ethical and methodological approach of participant observation [2] : how to study in detail a writing workshop without participating ? The advantages of the position of participating observer outweigh the risks of the investment in the game that requires the participation ? But also reflect on the relationship between sociology and literature. The risk is great for the sociologist to take the game of writing and to ” transform into an author “, as noted by Claude Grignon [3].

The first chapter is the opportunity for Frédéric Chateigner ask guides on the offer of writing workshops in France. It should be noted that the supply of the writing workshops is very diverse. The author identifies several poles around which organises the offer : workshops that highlight writing for the benefit of other purposes (cure psychological, academic learning, social inclusion, vocational training), those which aim at the practice of literature.

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