If one looks past the overblown rhetoric, the portrait of the bleak prospects of the diverse communities outside of France’s largest cities is disturbing and affecting. It also is reminiscent of the economic challenges faced by many living between the coasts of the United States ... While Mr. Guilluy is withering in his criticism of establishment politicians on both the left and right, he does not offer up anything concrete in their place ... For someone who is committed to listening as at least part of a solution, Mr. Guilluy has a reputation for refusing to engage with either academics or journalists — both professions are accused repeatedly in Twilight of the Elites of furthering the agenda of the traditional upper classes and 'the new bourgeoisie that supports them.' This is particularly unfortunate given the urgency of the issues he raises. But one does not need to accept all of the elements of Mr. Guilluy’s diagnosis to sense that he has hit on something profound that extends well beyond the borders of France.
... a pithy screed against France’s bobo elite and what he sees as its shameless embrace of a 'neoliberal,' 'Americanized society' and a hollow, feel-good creed of multicultural tolerance ... It would not diminish Guilluy’s broader point about la France périphérique if he acknowledged that victims of structural changes can also be intolerant. Guilluy also regularly recycles anxieties over immigration, often from controversial theorists such as Michèle Tribalat, who is associated with the idea of le grand remplacement, the alleged 'great replacement' of France’s white population by immigrants from North and Sub-Saharan Africa ... Whether the gilets jaunes will eventually come to agree with him is a crucial question. Like Guilluy, they are responding to real social conditions. But if, following Guilluy’s lead, they ultimately resort to the language of race and ethnicity to explain their suffering, they will have chosen to become a different movement altogether, one in which addressing inequality was never quite the point.
Guilluy's argument is not especially complicated ... Guilluy, whose work is not universally admired in France, particularly by academic geographers and many on the left, seems to have seen it all coming. So there will be considerable interest in his latest work ... In a further development of his now-familiar argument, he tackles head on – and with great virulence – the flip side of La France périphérique, those he considers largely responsible for the country’s profound social, economic and political dislocation: hipsters, who the French call bourgeois-bohèmes or bobos ... angry, compelling stuff, if all perhaps a bit too seamless. In France, Guilluy is often accused of being selective with his data and simplistic in his science.