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The article describes the signs of both a professional and an identity crisis that dairy producers in the Marais Poitevin are going through. The analysis of relationship with work, its content – milking in particular – and its compensation, has proven useful in highlighting the disaffection they have with their occupation. When desertion reaches a certain threshold, the foundations of a professional reproduction crisis are laid. Some of the specifically local features of the profession explain the sociological reasons behind this crisis. In an unfavourable economic context which highlights the limits of the current dairy production model, the local ideological and institutional context hardly helps to encourage detachment from the standard technical model. The study also revealed that comparisons made with the professional situations of cereal farmers also led to abandonment. The competition (economic and symbolic) of cereal farming, accentuates the impression of professional relegation. The occupational depreciation encountered is the result of a gradual decline in status of this professional segment.


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