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Relegation, Rejection, and Revolts: The Spa tial Isolation of the French Banlieue By Aaron Phillips A Thesis Submitted to the Division of Social Sciences New College of Florida in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Bachelor of Arts Under the sponsorship of Joseph Mink Sarasota, Florida May 2009
ii Dedication I dedicate this thesis to Le Cor busier, for his admirable intentions (despite their results); to those who live in the banlieue and struggle each day fo r acceptance; and to my parents, for offering my sister and me a phenomenal foundation on which to construct our lives. Acknowledgements Words cannot adequately convey the appreciation I feel for those who helped shape both the development of this project and me as a person. First, everlasting grat itude goes to Dr. Joseph Mink for putting in many ten (plus?)-hour workdays and coming to campus on the weekend. Without your help, I would not have known how to articulate a good portion of my arguments, or have much theory to back them up. History co urses with Dr. Robert (Bob) Johnson made me (re)consider the connections between humans and their environment in a multitude of different ways. To be frank, he singlehandedly revolutio nized my opinions of academia, something for which I will forever be thankful. Classes w ith Dr. Frank Alcock taught the importance of providing clear and articulate answers to questions, no matter how tough or complicated. All three merit a second round of thanks for serving on my baccalaureate committee. It was a pleasure to field your questions and hear your thought-provoking analysis of this project. Even though I had never taken a class with her, Dr. Chavella Pittmann kindly took time out of her busy schedule to discuss my thesis with me. This single conversation ignited a torrent of ideas for the projects approach, as well as ne arly all the solutions pr oposed in the Appendix. An ISP my second year with Dr. Barabra Hicks ga ve me the opportunity to research racism in France while studying abroad there. This research in large part inspired my interest in the banlieue, which developed further in courses wi th Dr. Gayle Zachmann at the University of Floridas Paris Research Center. Zachmanns pr ofessionalism, style, an d devotion to students well-being left a lasting impressi on on me. I would also like to th ank the other professors of the
iii Paris program, Drs. Richard Conley, Juan-C arlos Molleda, and James Sterns, for their engagement with French politics and culture. Dr s. Amy Reid and Jocelyn Van Tuyl also deserve recognition for their intense, yet accessible courses in French la nguage and literature. Without taking them, I seriously doubt this thesis would incorporate sources in the original language. Finally, thanks go to Meg Lowman for passing on her ecological perspective to me. While the natural sciences may not figure directly into this project, the incorporation of residents point of view stemmed from thinking of the banlieue as a biome. Thanks also go to the Mulochot family and Fr ench rappers, for elucidating both side of the debate over French identity. Finally, my fa mily deserves recognition for the unconditional support they extended to me over the past year (and for that matter, lifetime). Thank you, Dad, for lending me a critical lens with which to view the actions of any government. Thank you, Mom, for the frequent reminders of optimisms power over perception. To Leah, Im sorry that going to school so close (and yet so far) from each other meant missing so many wonderful moments. I hope this helps explain what I was working for over the last four years and why. Also, thanks to my parents for pointing out typogra phical errors in this wo rk. I assume fault for any that remain. Thank you again, all of you, for helping me spread my wings and take flight.1 1 Phrasing inspired by je dploie mes ailes et prends mon envol, a line from Kenza Farahs first single Je me bats (I push myself). http://www.kenza farah.fr/paroles/paroles je me bats.html
iv Table of Contents Page: Title: ii Dedication and Acknowledgements iv Table of Contents v Abstract 1 Introduction Defining the Banlieue 16 Chapter 1 The Bloom and Decay of the Banlieue 44 Chapter 2 The Significance of and Responses to Urban Violence 72 Chapter 3 French Identity and Banlieue Residents Alternatives 95 Conclusion Hope for the Hopeless? 98 Appendix 110 Works Cited
v Relegation, Rejection, and Revolts: The Spa tial Isolation of the French Banlieue Aaron Phillips New College of Florida, 2009 ABSTRACT No single word in the English language carries a ll the connotations of the French banlieue. Scholars, politicians, and residents offer dissonant renditions of these neighborhoods that vary from suburb and outskirt to ghetto and slum. Th is thesis analyzes the construction of the banlieue, both as a physical sp ace and a site of contested me aning. Following the Second Word War, France poured reconstruc tion funds into public housing. Guided by Le Corbusier's utilitarian, modernist philosophy, th e state outfitted hundreds of cit s (projects) on the cheap land outside major cities with massive residential high -rises. This originally improved sanitation and quality of life for the occupants. Howeve r, these improvements homogenized the urban periphery and reinforced its fracture from cen tral cities. Simultaneous government sponsored guest worker programs attracted droves of immigr ants to the banlieue, shifting their ethnic and cultural composition. When Les Trentes Glorieuses (The Thirty Glorious years) of economic and job growth stagnated in the 1970s, entire communities plunged into a self-reinforcing cycle of adolescent delinquency, unemployment, crime, and poverty. This pattern persists today, leaving few to desire life in the stigmatized ba nlieue. Residents expre ss their frustration through two modalities: violence and articulation of a distin ct banlieue culture. First, thirty years of violences urbaines (revolts or riots) culminated in the even ts of fall 2005, which dominate the discourse and distort the banlieues' reputation. In order to abate future unrest, President Nicolas Sarkozy created a controversial plan for th e neighborhoods renovation and policing. Second, residents offer their own interpre tation of life in the banlieue via religious expression and rap music. Through the competing lenses of sociol ogy, political science, urban studies, and popular culture, it becomes apparent that the banlieues geographical isolation mani fests itself in socioeconomic and cultural segregation. Joseph Mink Division of Social Sciences
Introduction: Defining the Banlieue Night after night, another set of embittered citizens turned their forgotten wastelands into a battleground. The skies burned red. Crow ds of stone throwers clashed with police, while shadowed figures hurled Molotov cocktails at cars and buses. The rioters were mostly Arab or black, but they were al so mostly French, born and bred in the neighborhoods they were setting ablaze. Their anger spread in an arc across northern Paris, just a few miles from the city's glitteri ng heart, as one desola te neighborhood after another joined in the mayhem. Thousands of police and firemen struggled to douse the rebellion [to instead find] themselves inflaming it. In one suburb, four shots, a rarity in France, were fired at the cops. French leaders tried to strike a balance between condemning the violence and seeking to unders tand it, but they seemed powerless to impose order on the streets. Above all, the rage expressed by alienated youths dealt a crushing blow to France's self-image as a m odel of tolerance and social equality. "It's like a forest that's dried out," says Malik Boutih, the Socialist Party national secretary on social issues. "Things heat up, a wind starts blowing, and all it takes is a spark for the whole thing to go up" (Graff). The burning skies of fall 2005 represent a chapter of France s history that many want to forget, or wish never happened. Th e unexpected deaths of two teenagers from Clichy-sous-Bois, an economically depre ssed neighborhood on the northern outskirts of Paris, at the hands of police set ablaze d ecades worth of tension. Within two weeks, rioting spread to over 300 similarly impoverished neighborhoods. Gang-style confrontations with police united residents of diverse ethnicities and religions together in the fight. Despite President Jacques Chiracs declaration of a nationa l state of emergency (the first time since the war in Algeria, fifty years earlie r) and the imposition of a strict curfew, the uprisings en dured for three weeks. By the time the state restored order, rioters burnt 30,000 dump sters, 10,000 cars, and hundreds of buildings (Mauger 18-30). Fr ench and international media scrambled to document the unrest, interpreting the events as a French intifada, an uprising by French Muslims, and a war (Phillips). These first journalistic accounts overlooked two remarkable attributes: first, the part icipants confined vi olence to their own neighborhoods; and second, the rioters overwhe lmingly directed their angst at the banlieues infrastructure. In particular, sy mbols of state influence suffered the greatest
2 damage, such as schools, daycare and community centers, and police and fire stations (Le Goaziou and Mucchielli 8-9). Why did residents target services vital to their own communities? Some particularities of history, riot participants, and political actors put this question in perspective. First, urban development in Fr ance resembles the inverse of that in North America. The wealthy and educated classes live in chic, well-preserved urban cores, while the marginalized and im poverished call the decaying oute r reaches of cities home. This pattern first emerged with the vassal sy stem of the Middle Ages. Starting in the 1940s, the French governmental began a national program to build cits, or sections of high-rise housing, in the banlieue. Based on Le Corbusiers modernist architecture, the designs emphasized simplicity, order, and hygiene. What seemed like a novel idea quickly turned into a nightmare, for both the re sidents and the French state. Cut off from the central city, Le Corbusiers machines for living lacked adequate means for recreation, education, or employment. As their buildings began to fall apart onl y a few years after their construction, the original residents fled the banlieue. To a ttract new ones to the featureless neighborhoods, the government intensely subsidized rent prices a practice that conti nues to this day. The less fortunate remain in the banlieue, lacking either the opportunity or resources to move elsewhere. Social problems like crime, unemployment, drug use, vandalism, delinquency, and hopelessness disproportionately afflict the banlieue. Violence not only takes the form of uprisings, but also daily interruptions of ci vility. This causes innocent residents to fear the ramifica tions of actions as simple as hopping on mass transportation
3 or leaving their apartments at night. In the worst areas, po lice stand by helplessly, unable to enforce any semblance of the rule of law (Le Goaziou and Rojzman 37). It may seem surprising that these conditi ons, and the resultant violence, exist in contemporary France. The official motto of the state, libert, galit et fraternit (liberty, equality, and fratern ity/unity), proclaims citizensh ip an equalizing vocation, where it is each individual's sacred duty to uphold the Republic's ideals (Honicker). Some believe the emergence of the urban pr oblem in the 1970s coincides with the end of Les Trentes Glorieuses (The Thirty Gl orious) years of post-War economic expansion (Pineau). During that era, job growth dr amatically outpaced the number of workers available (Martin et al., 90-91) To close the gap, France r ecruited hundreds of thousands of people from the (now, former) colonies. A preponderance of these workers came from North Africa. Many turned a short visit into a lifetime, either through the legal extension of their visas or by joini ng the clandestine, undocumen ted population (Samers 354). Even after naturalization or birth in France, this diasporic community1 and its descendants must endure discrimination, r acism, and rampant unemployment. For example, according to the French govern mental agency INSEE, unemployment for college graduates hovers around 5% For North African gra duates, the same statistic reaches 26.5%. To xenophobes in France, relig ious, cultural, or linguistic difference interfere with these applican ts ability to conform to the narrowly defined box of 1 Literature on diasporas traditionally divides the movement of large numbers of refugees into voluntary (from below) and enforced (from above) transnationalism. The factors that influence such migrations come in the form of state policy, the context of flight, historical antecedents, or the domination of particular ideological, moral, or cultural positions (Al Ali et al., 580).
4 French-ness2 (Astier). Public attitudes in Fran ce and around Europe show a growing stigmatization and resentment of Islam.3 When asked, who is responsible for Muslims problems, French Muslims outranked the five other European nations surveyed for everyday discrimination by ordinary people, with 66.7% calling it the most important factor. Only 5.6% deemed discriminati on unimportant, while the remaining 27.8% thought of it as somewhat important. Nega tive press treatment received the greatest preponderance of responses as most important in France (84.2%). Again, the country outpaced the others, with the exception of the UK (96.4%) and the extremely close Denmark (84.8%) (Klausen 59).4 These numbers highlight the persistence of bias, discrimination, and distorti ons by the press in France.5 The different treatment that Muslims feel seems to contradict the pr inciple purported by the state to make no distinction based on race or religion. 2 Legally, the government cannot keep track of race, religion, ethnic origin, or sex. Neither can public or private institutions, since this would violate the consideration of each citizen as an individual (Honicker, Laurence and Valisse 175). Only non French citizens, foreigners and expatriates residing in France are subject to data collection. This makes it impossible to document and monitor unemployment and other indicators of disparity known to be prevalent among minority ethnic and racial groups in France. Hence, minority identities and marginalization are rendered invisible in a republic whose protectionist integration model subsumes and digests its margins (Iskandar and Rustom). 3 To tabulate this data, Jytte Klausen conducted hundreds of interviews in France, Germany, the UK, the Netherlands, Denmark, and Sweden. She interviewed parliamentarians, city councilors, doctors and engineers, a few professors, lawyers and social workers, owners of small businesses, translators, and community activists. They all reported interest in the religion of Islam and engagement in political and civic organizations. She wrote her book about who these people are and what they want, claiming no ideological bias. The study reveals both continental trends and the multifaceted outlook of Muslims toward their (and their religions) relationship with secular life and liberal democracy in Europe (Klausen). 4 Curiously, France ranked second lowest (52.6%) next to Sweden (50%) in lack of economic opportunities as most important. The nation ranked the lowest of the six countries surveyed in rightwing antiforeigner rhetoric (38.9%) cited as most important 5 However, they also display how anti immigrant rhetoric and austere economic conditions do not necessarily prevent Muslims from advancement.
5 The violence of fall 2005 raises a number of questions related to social conditions in the banlieue.6 For instance, how did these spaces come about? What philosophical, political, and economic rationales drove their production? What caused their downturn? Where do they stand today, afte r the violence and the inte rventions of the mid-2000s? How could the riots get that out of hand? How did academics, the media, and the state each respond to the uprisings? What can the uprisings tell about residents opinions of violence and the banlieue in general? What does spatial isolation mean for the banlieue, and does it cross over to social or cultural isolation? Ho w do residents conceptualize and react to these spaces? Finally, what does the banlieues rejection mean for traditional notions of French identity? This thesis proposes to answer these questi ons in two ways. First, it reconstructs the actual events behind the banlieues fo rmation, disintegration, present condition, and possible fate. Second, it analyzes the competi ng conceptions of the banlieue as debated in French academia and the media. Tr acing the distinctions between these two perspectives can help clarify the interactions between political initiative and social conditions. The historical deve lopment of the banlieue depended on a variety of factors that shaped French society as a whole, including immigration, riots, challenges to secularism, and most recently, a commitment to neoliberal political philosophy. Through each progression, the French states choices a nd the banlieue residents responses reveal the precarious relationship they share. Accounts often focus on the perception of the banlieue amid the rest of French society, but often omit the resident s own understanding. 6 The uprising of 2005 represents the strongest example of such violence, but also falls in line with a long legacy of urban violence. In fact, the banlieue experienced riots of some form every summer since the late 1970s (Mauger 13 15)
6 The analysis brings together the academic, j ournalistic, and cultural debates on the spatial isolation of the banlieue. By laying the events and the schola rly discourse on those events side by side, one realizes how the te rms chosen and the debate constructed with those terms determine the physical spaces meaning. Finding an accurate definiti on for the term banlieue proves a thorny task in and of itself. Franco-American sociologist Loc Wacquant claims one must not presuppose or impose wholesale a continents analytical fr amework onto anothers social conditions. Remaining sensitive to the fact that all 'na tional' conceptual tools have embedded within them specific social, political and moral assump tions reflective of the particular history of [that] society prevents su ch confusion (Wacquant 2007, 367). 7 The comprehensive study entitled Les Banlieues starts with a definition of th e word that dates from 1185. A medieval and feudalistic concep t, the conjunction banlieue contains two words, ban, and lieue. Similarly, two senses derive from their combination subservience and spatial domination. Originating from the Germ anic bann (authority), to submit to the ban meant to live under the lo rds jurisdiction. Modern li nguistic descendents include Band-Aid, banishment, the French ve rb banner (to ban), and banding [together] in preparation for war. Lieue demarcates distance, comparable to the 7 The inclusion of this disambiguation comes for those without a background in urban policy, immigration, crime, or poverty in France. Mustafa Dike chose to use the word banlieue itself, rather suburb throughout the English version of Bandlands of the Republic in order to emphasize the terms origin and geographical connotations (Dike 8). To avoid the amalgamation of the Anglophone suburbs connotations with the banlieues, or the projection of these attributes on to the banlieue, this study will keep banlieue in its original language.
7 English lieu or league.8 These derive from the Latin leuca (a unit of approximately 4 km) (McNeill). 9 During the 17th and 18th Centuries, banlieue adapte d to its current meaning of the area surrounding a large city. Pub lished in 1718, the Second Edition of La Dictionnaire de lAcadmie franaise (the official Dictionary of the French Academy) defined banlieue as a certain stretch of land that surrounds and depends on a city (Paquot et al. 25). 10 The 1913 edition of Websters Dic tionary described the banlieue as the territory without the walls, but within the legal limits, of a town or city (Porter). Submission to the central city remains a cr ucial aspect of the banlieues etymology through each evolution of the concept. B anlieusard came into existence in 1889 to describe excluded people, specifically the inhabitants of the area around Paris, in a pejorative sense. Within a single word, subur b seems the closest geographic equivalent to banlieue in English. However, subur b does not function as an appropriate analogy with regard to socio-economic status or envi ronmental quality. Lost in translation, the divergence of British and French suburbs can make theory from one side of the Channel irrelevant to the other. For a basic overview, The English word suburb conveys little of the meanings of the French word banlieue The word suburb in any British or North American context evokes leafy streets of Tudorbethan semi-detached houses with neatly clipped lawns and shining Volvos in every drive. The French word banlieue on the other hand evokes an entirely different set of connotations drugs, crime, delinquency civil disorder, Islamic fundamentalism, and even terrorism. Les banlieues are not full of comfortable housing for an affluent middle class, but are composed, rather of large high-rise blocks full of the very poorest of 8 Le Robert Micro considered by many the authoritative French English dictionary, defines banner as to exile, expulse distance from delete (Rey 2006, 111). 9 Lieue, the female form of leuca, equates to the English league (McNeil). 10 Une certaine tendue de pays qui est autour d'une ville, et qui en dpend. Curiously, the eighth edition of the dictionary incorporated the word often between and and depends by 1935 (ARTFL Project).
8 Frances population. If there is one term th at is particularly used to describe the inhabitants of les banlieues it is les exclus [the excluded/exempted], that is to say those excluded from playing an active role in and enjoying the fruits of the affluent society (McNeill). Sociologist Pierre Bourdieu conjectures, The areas called difficult are first difficult to describe and contemplate, becau se the media and popular culture associate various images with the banlieue. Examples include disfavored, sensitive, hot or tense, and in decline (Bourdieu 1993, 9).11 Politically, the banlieues contain 751 Critical or Sensitive Urban Zones (Zone s Urbaines Sensibles, or ZUS) (ONZUS Taking Action 2). 12 In 1981, President Mitterands ad ministration introduced the ZUS precursor, the Zones dducation Prioritaire (E ducaitonal Priority Areas, or ZEP). This governmentally defined label sought to refo cus resources on the worst areas of the banlieue, as a response to the fi rst urban uprisings in the Lyon banlieue cit of Vaulx-enVelin (Dike A 12). The geographic and soci ological perspectives employ relegation and exile to describe both the residents and the spaces status in French society (Avanel 16). 13 The contemporary definition of banlieue conspicuously resembles those of centuries ago: a space situated outside the cen ter, on the periphery and further out, that more or less depends on the central authorit y. The outcome of this distance becomes double damning, because banlieue residents live too far from the city to play an active role in decision-making, yet not far enough to avoid subjection (and subjugation) to the 11 Les lieux dits difficiles sont dabord difficiles dcrire et penser les notions comme quartiers dfavoris, sensibles, chauds, [et] en difficult 12 To understand the forces of time exerted on the banlieue, the trends that shaped France over the last 30 years aid ones comprehension. Sociologist Cyprien Avenel claims social and economic dynamics played as much a role in the stigmatization of the banlieue as urban uprisings and the resultant dramatization of their effects by the media (Avenel 13). 13 relgation ou dexil
9 centers influence (Le Goaziou and Rojzman 5-10). If suburb cannot represent banlieue in English, Wacquant asserts neit her can ghetto. The latter word cannot encapsulate the diversity of economic activity, urban texture, occupational choices, or any other attribute of the banlieues populat ion. The same diversity characterizes the sensitive neighborhoods of th e banlieue targeted by Fran ces urban policy since the early 1990s (Howe and Wacquant, 135).14 In studies of the banlieue conducted during the 1990s, the extremes of high society and dark ghetto, luxur ious wealth and utter dest itution, cosmopolita n bourgeoisie and urban outcasts, flourished and decayed side by side. 15 Instead of a ghettoization of the French urban periphery (or Red Belt to coin his term), Wacquant believes class drives exclusion, partly exacerbated by colonial immigrant status and partly alleviated by the (central and municipal) state. Conve rsely, he contends the American analog (or Black Belt) suffers from markedly higher le vels of blight, segregation, isolation, and distress operat[ing] first and foremost on the grounds of race, bolstered by state structure and policies and aggravated by class divisions (Wacquant 2001 121-122).16 14 Regardless, Wacquant does not aim to deride the banlieues decay since the 1970s, nor the need for a multisided intervention of public authorities much more vigorous and coherent than the ones, largely media oriented and reactive, that it has elicited thus far (Howe and Wacquant, 136). 15 By employing an historical comparison of todays banlieue with that of fifty years ago, Wacquant sees six changes as essential to the creation of advanced marginal classes in France. These include the banlieues decrease in internal homogeneity, the breakdown of labor socialization, the disassociation of macro economic trends from physical conditions in neighborhoods, a fixation on territorial distinction and stigmatization, the diminishment of a sense of place (spatial alienation), the elimination of a true hinterland, and the social fragmentation of marginalized groups. 16 From an urban studies perspective, Wacquant takes issue with the convergence theory proposed by comparative researchers. This theory considers impoverished areas on both sides of the Atlantic as subject to the same processes of polarization and dualization. Endorsements of the convergence theory usually cite common urban political processes, such as government promoted suburbanization and home ownership, lowered bars for immigration, and push to relocate the homeless in public housing projects, as
10 Up until the 1990s, most ignored the b land and banal universe of degraded housing projects [on] the urban periphery. A series of dramatic events, including Arab (descendants) political mobiliz ation through the Marche des Beurs, the urban uprisings fights involving immigrant groups and po lice, and the National Fronts xenophobic political ideology catapulted the issue of the cits to the fore front of journalistic, political, and urban study debate. Scholars and the medi a portrayed a pervasiv e, negative image of the banlieue as a homogenized singular term, not unlike ghetto in America since this era (Howe and Wacquant, 138). In the opinion portrayed by most members of the media, the degraded neighborhoods low-income hous ing becomes a 'dumping ground' for poor people, downwardly mobile working-clas s households, and marginal groups and individuals (Wacquant 2007, 367-368). Although Wacquant warns against the easy/ lazy and perhaps misleading export of American terms to France, his vision of the banlieue does not necessa rily match that of other scholars. Turkish-American geographe r Mustafa Dike constructs his perspective of the banlieue around histori cal and comparative analysis.17 Through this, he seeks to determine the role of geography in the cr eation and reproduction of tensions in the banlieue. He breaks down the French govern ments varying levels of interest in and engagement with the banlieue into three eras : the revolts and first urban policy responses of 1981-1989, the surveillance of 1990-1992 (whe n uprisings reached new levels of intensity), and the repression of 1993-2006. The moments chosen for each transition to evidence. Together, these developments [in France] have separated populations along racial and ethnic lines in a manner that resembles historic racial sorting in the United States (Campbell and Fainstein 156) 17 These two nationalities seemed most relevant due to Dikes birth in Turkey and education in Pennsylvania and California. However, one may add British to this list because he currently teaches at Royal Holloway, the University of London.
11 a successive stage come at critical points in revolt activity. As time passes and the political motives for the revolts fade from memory, the banlieues become notorious for their menacing exteriority. This encourages the consolidation of a more repressive police force. The influentia l and wealthy care less about the difficult material conditions in banlieues than the threat posed by these areas, shifting focus from growing inequalities and disc riminations to menaces to the values of the republic, French identity, and the authority of the state (Dike A 21-22). In this vein, Dike takes in to account the role of cu ltural processes, such as Frances alleged universalism, colonial past post-colonial presen t, and oppression, as behind the stigmatization of Islam in France. Policies to reduce the banlieues concentration of immigrants began in 1991 w ith the Loi dOrientation pour la Ville, commonly known as the anti-ghetto law. To encourage mixit sociale (social blending or diversity), this law require d new cit construction throughout France. Rather than the previously restriction to the banlieue, ne w social housing must not avoid wealthier neighborhoods. Politicians in France embraced this idea as the only way to ensure equality without voiding the republican model, which bans the differentiation of people based on race or ethnicity (Dike A 12). Dike also explains he wish es not to ignore the overrepr esentation of cits already constructed in the banlieue. To him, these ghettos function as spatial references for [the] ethnic nightmare of communitarianism, referring to non-white and/or nonFrench communities. 18 Although some of their parents moved to France from other countries, recent generations of French-born re sidents increasingly cite the failure of the 18 Dike obviously does not feel the same apprehension as Wacquant in appropriating a term from one national context to another.
12 republican model of integrat ion. Residual socio-economic difficulties, discrimination, and increasing repression play into this construction. St ructural issues, such as discrimination, stigmatization, police violence, a nd mass unemployment contribute to the residents resentment. Despite twenty year s of failed tries, the utter inability of politicians to substantially address these issu es bred the despair, resentment, and anger among residents of the banlieue which fu elled [the] disturba nces (Dike B 1194-1196). French scientist Cyprien Avenel focuses hi s research on the banlieues sensitive neighborhoods in particular the social conditions within and governmental mandates for their renewal. He believes that schol ars like Wacquant and Dike converge around a spatial approach toward the social probl ems and patterns of life, displaying the cumulative aspect of inequality and interrogating the principle[s] of equality and integration of groups (Avenel 7).19 In application to the ba nlieue, other researchers use this geographic component in one of two ways to analyze segregation in France. First, the objective view of social di vision interrogates the role of patterns on the banlieues development, such as business development, demographic trends, spatial transformations, urban politics, the private housing market, a nd public housing provi sions. Second, the more qualitative and micro-scale perspectiv e questions cultural, economic, and social factors that create or en hance inequality, along with how they contribute to the persistence of poverty (Avenel 25). Avenel claims it impossi ble to distinguish distinct eras or waves of theory on the banlieue let alone the development of a coherent 19 travers la question des quartiers sensibles, les termes du dbat sociologique montrent la convergence dun ensemble de travaux autour dun approche spatiale des problmes sociaux et des modes de vie, montrant laspect cumulatif des ingalits et interrogeant le principe dgalit et de mixit des populations
13 approach. Rather the debate grew organi cally, cycling any one (or number) of these variable to the front of the stage, only to return it/them to its/ their place on the metaphorical shelf soon after (Avenel 11-12). To study the banlieue in any effective ma nner, Avenel declares researchers must disambiguate the causes from the results. By demystifying the various aspects that contribute to the banlieue as a marginal space, he wants people to see sensitive neighborhoods for more than simply the problems they pose (Avenel 13). The stigmatization of the banlieue became an obviously integral part (both cause and perpetuator) of the problems researchers obs erve there. In other words, by focusing on the banlieues problems, academia and the medi a reify the constructi on of the banlieues problematic image. Territorial stigmati zation adds another layer of depth that geography determines which spaces deserve stigmatization (Avanel 8). Conventional methods to interpret the banlieue revolve around this territorialization, segregation, and violence, wh ich theorists often link to racism, riots, popular classes, urban culture s, social politics, the questi on of the (central) city, and urban policy.20 Within each issue, one question retu rns: the fate of those of immigrant ancestry. Avenel believes the interest in violence and marginality by some writers21 only serves to perpetuate pessimistic views of the banlieue. The dichotomization of good city and bad suburb simplifies the debate and makes it a problem of image as much as an actual problem. He postula tes the real problem plaguing the banlieue comes in the 20 Original quote: la sgrgation, limmigration, le racisme, les violence urbaines, les classes populaires les cultures urbaines les politiques sociales, la question de la ville, la politique de la Ville, etc. 21 For example, Dike, Le Goaziou, Rojzman, and Wacquant.
14 form of this constructed problem. For ex ample, after the Lyon banlieue rodos of 1981, the spectacle of youth burni ng their own cits intrigued the media. Academia and politicians created from these urban uprisings a new locus of analysis. Yet in the nearly 30 years since those first uprisings, few solu tions to the banlieues problems arose (Avenel 7-10). Chapter 1 covers the history of the sp aces outlying major cities in France. The first section details the state of sanitation and cleanliness in bidonvilles (slums or shantytowns), which occupied the banlieue before the construction of social housing. The second section tracks the transformation to modern Habitations Loyer Modr (reduced price housing, or HL Ms) halfway through the 20th Century. The ideological underpinnings of this movement came from Le Corbusier, whose architectural career and personal life prove essen tial to understanding why th e HLMs took such a stark, unwelcoming form. While th e shift to modernism improve d quality of life in the banlieue as a whole, it created an entirely new set of concerns for those who lived there. These concerns interrelate and act as a malais e, or sickness, built into the environment and perpetuated by discrimination against the residents of the banlieue. Sociologists propose a variety of ways to conceive of the sickness. Yet, the f act that the sickness affects the fates of one part of the French population (immigrants and those of immigrant origin) in a disproportionate manner appears the common th read of their analyses.22 After a brief outline of the history of urban violence in France, the second chapter reconstructs the most dramatic episode of upris ings in the banlieues history: those of fall 22 Although the banlieue did not start out a racial or ethnic space, in effect it became one through government sponsored immigration and a sort of reverse white flight.
15 2005. With each phase of riots came specific policy responses as a reaction from the state. Systematically, these responses attemp t to fix the banlieue through tangentially related factors for example, housing, transp ortation infrastructure and directives to reinforce policing and riot control systems. Reforms of the past brought mild success, but the problems of the banlieue endure and tensions tend to revert to their feverish pitch within a few years. This gives rioters the impetus for another action of even greater magnitude. Each time, the participants aim to raise attention for their cause in the hopes that the state properly addresses their concerns (Kaulingfreks 7). Considering the first two chapters take on the development and persistence of problems in the banlieue from a governmental and academic perspective, Chapter 3 considers the opposite perspectiv e that of banlieue reside nts. First, this chapter discusses the relevance of a unified, national identity through the concept of Republicanism to the debate on the banlieue. Under this philosophy, the mere existence of other identities and/or cultu res on French soil offends the traditions of a mono-cultural and monolingual society.23 Following the discussion of id entity, an analysis of popular culture inspects the relation between spatial is olation and residents cultural exclusion. The appearance of a banlieue culture in contemporary music (rap) and religious observance (Islam), distinct from Frances ow n, questions conventional notions of what it means, To be French. Instead of accepting a state imposed identity, residents construct a collective identity around the discriminati on, racism, and other biases that accompany life on the outside. 23 Since many banlieue residents or their ancestors came from other countries, traditionalists perceive their arrival and life in the banlieue as antithetical to the preservation of French culture and the French state
16 Chapter 1 The Bloom and Decay of the Banlieue Take the Mirail neighborhood, a sprawling stretch of housing projects at the southern limits of Toulouse. Mirail's 42,000 residents have seen crime, poverty, and incivility rise as living standards and hopes have slumped. "In the 10 years I've been in this neighborhood, I've witnessed a slow but steady process of social decomposition," says Yannick Lefevre, a teaching aid at Mira il's Buffon Elementary School Officials at the school insist that unemployment 40% of Buffon parents are jobless has produced disobedience among its 242 students, as well as insolence and even violence among youths both inside and outside the classroom. Some kids have never seen either parent with a job , says Ghislaine Delcourt, a school inspector in Mirail "Many children never see an alternative to the bl eak and resigned outlook of their parents." As a result, the Buffon school has experienced a dramatic rise in antisocial behavior. Whereas before we had cases of insolence, now we see real contem pt toward adults in ever-younger children , says [P]rincipal Yolande Ruiz. Some stop at contention, others pass to insults, and a few resort to violence "Elections over the years have centered on crime, immigration, unemployment never the condition of the banlieues," says Salah Amokrane, a member of Toulouse's municipal council. "Yet all those issues are concentrat ed foremost in banlieues. It's as though people just expect the banlieues to rot " At the Buffon school, educators put in long hours encouraging kids to be good students and good citizens. When things go well, Buffon turns out intelligent, well-adjusted kids. It's a lot of work and energy invested for a rather small reward, but we do succeed in fighting the tide, says teaching aide Michele Letalleur. These kids represent France's future. Just imagine the disaster if we stopped trying to salvage them" (Crumley, emphasis added). Given Yannick Lefevres decade-long tenur e in Mirail, his de piction of decline underestimates the breadth and endurance of the processes at work in the banlieue. Rather than during the 1990s, the French government began to marginalize the banlieue in the 1960s. The insecurity th at afflicts Mirail started a decade later, as immigrants replaced the original residents of the banlieue. Subsidized housing in the banlieue gave immigrants better living conditions than the bido nvilles (slums) they liv ed in prior to this era. However, as Ghislaine De lcourt alludes, immigrants liv ing in the banlieue (and their children) suffer from an unemployment rate four times the national average (Kokoreff et al). Thus, only a segment of the populati on must endure the problem. Scholars and nonprofessionals alike consider the probl em (confronting both Mirail and other
17 impoverished neighborhoods in France) as part of a larger dilemma. This predicament began with shoddy design that planned only for the short-term, worsen ed with the spatial concentration of poverty, (re)pr oduced a resentful population, and stagnated because of a lack of effective urban policy over the last forty years. The Principal of Buffon, Yolande Ruiz, id entifies a key factor behind the decay of the banlieue: hopelessness. Desolation penetr ates politicians hopes for the banlieues future, because their predecessors tried tirelessl y to solve these problems to no avail. Salah Amokrane recognizes that Paris lawm akers go through the motions of addressing the banlieues problems, but these e fforts rarely coalesce around the banlieues themselves. When they do, they fail to a ddress the problems in a structural or systematized manner. This despair also mo tivates students to drop out early, participate in the underground economy, commit crimes land in the court system, and/or die.24 Stuck in a downward spiral, this leads yout h to feel contempt for their surroundings regardless of the fact that they call th ese areas home. Many choose disrespectful modalities of self-expression (i.e. vandalism) and/or violence against the state, their families, and neighbors property. Michele Letalleur presents a rarely disseminated view of the banlieue: that same of those working on the ground make honest attempts to instill a sense of hope, where, when, and for whom none exis ts. Overall, the educators and citizens of Mirail raise seve ral different concerns, each dis tinct in nature and effect. 24 While very rare, the second chapter delves into a few such cases.
18 When compiled together, they appear as a list of symptoms for psychological or medical diagnosis. This study will term the dia gnosis la malaise, or the sickness. 25 Sanitation, Le Corbusier, and how the Solution to one Problem Spurs Others Authority must step in, patriarchal authority, the authority of a father concerned for his children (Le Corbusier 152). Inadvertently, the roots of this sickness sprouted from an effort to solve other problems in France. For this reason, the history of the banlieue serves as a useful tool to examine the original problem, its pr oposed solutions, and the inauguration (and evolution) of the sickness. The mass enhan cement of the banlieue began at the end of Second World War. Intense bombing campaigns led by the Axis powers reduced buildings in many of Frances central cities to heaps of rubble. Although many of their compatriots died in battle, once back from the frontlines, veterans of the war sought to establish families. A burgeoning generation of young children (commonly referred to in the United States as the baby boom) aggravat ed the necessity of larger households. The unprecedented demand for domiciles and gr owing family sizes co alesced to elicit a structural solution from the French govern ment. Guided by func tionalist, utopian, and modernist modes of thought, Paris responded with a national building campaign for new housing (MacLeod and Ward, 153). Politicians conceived of the housing as a solution to a variety of concerns, including (but not limited to) the above. Pr ior to the war, bidonvilles (or shantytowns) occupied the land of many future banlieue c its (projects). Nanter re, Neuilly-sur-Marne, 25 La malaise holds manifold connotations in French. In this context, it reiterates the hopelessness described by Crumley.
19 and Noisy-le-Grand exist as renowned examples of this pattern. While they housed people, the amenities of the bidonville did not extend much further than that (LeGoaziou and Rojzman 14). The feudal system of the 17th and 18th Centuries displaced the bidonvilles original settlers fr om the countryside to these ar eas, located on top of former dumpsites. Inhabitants chose this locale because it offered the protection of the city in case of attack and plentiful te xtile and metal refu se. Ecologically, the bidonvilles worked like a sink for the trash and waste of the c onsumer society simultaneously developing within the cities walls (Krupa). By the 19th Century, the French state embraced the sanitation model for the disposal of waste (Krupa). Michel Foucault argues that city pla nning took on a directly political battle at the same time. An obse ssion with hygiene and th e order characterizes this period, which planners expressed through architectural designs. Leaders began to reflect on architecture as a f unction of the aims and techniques of the government that addresses what the order of a society shoul d be, what a city should be. Under the paradigm of a decent and moral family life as promoted through design, the state could banish disease, rioting, and any other force w ith the potential to di srupt order (Foucault and Rabinow 239). To create a decent life, the sanitation and hygiene movement signaled the death of the organic city. A concept borrowed fr om American history, th e organic city let the impoverished (alongside swine) scavenge for f ood and fertilizer in the waste of open-air dumps. This form of recycling bolstered living standards and s upplemented the working class diets. Masses migration to cities upset this balance, because economies
20 increasingly revolved around consumer spe nding. This generated new products and packaging, which subsequently elevated garbage production. Municipal collection agencies arose to dispose of capitalism's wa ste. Large-scale disposal shifted waste outside the immediate food and soil cycles to downstream and downwind regions, where it did far more harm (Steinberg 168-171). In France, the Socialist theorist Le roux developed a similar concept with circulus, a theory that posited the Earths nutrients renewed themse lves in a succession of human use and re-use. France ignored the organic city cycle of the bidonvilles to dump waste, for example, north of Paris in the suburb of Bondy. To bring human sewage and trash from the central city outward, urba n planners created a wa ste exchange program for the cesspool cleaners in La Villete, another suburb halfway between Paris and Bondy. From La Villete, a pipeline transporte d liquid waste, while solid waste traveled by boat. In the process of transporting ove r 100,000 cubic meters of solid trash, one third decomposed, one third made it to Bondy, and a final third simply washed into the Seine. Twenty four informal suburban dumpsites came on line at this time, making lucrative deals with the c ity [but also] producing ammonium sulfate, whose smell reach[ed] all parts of Paris (Krupa). In the end, Breaking the "circulus" was the most regrettabl e loss that the modern developments have lead to. By not utilizing the waste that society produces as fertilizer, the soil gets depleted and must be fertilized by other means. The unused refuse was essentially wasted, often in landfills. Many large cities have serious problems in dealing with the increase in population, garbage, and sewage. Toxic industrial chemicals and plastics, especially packaging, have increased the complexity of these problems (Krupa). Once the state felt satisfied with the dis posal of waste, the bidonvilles no longer provided utility to French society. This cleared the way for their removal, and
21 replacement with public housing. The first cit s appeared near ancient fortifications on the outskirts of French citie s. Construction soon shifted to industrial parks and the forcefully vacated bidonvilles in the banlieue Politicians cited the low price of land and potential for gentrification of abandoned factories and/or slum s as their rationale. Cit creation in the banlieue, in alliance with ambitious projects of political and economic restructuring, endeavored to promote urba n settlements founded upon social solidarity rather than segregation (MacLeod and Ward, 153-154). The famous Swiss architect Charles-doua rd Jeanneret-Gris (who preferred to go by Le Corbusier) invented a naturalist utopi a that would inspire th e architectural design of new cits throughout France.26 He proposed La Cit Radieuse du Corbusier (Le Corbusiers Radiant City) for the erasure of social difference and the creation of equality in the rational city of the future (Caldeira 128 ). Le Corbusier invented his ideal city in his homeland, where he lived until moving to Pa ris at the age of 31. Tendencies toward order, self-control, discipline, and perfection, all attributed to Swi ss urban environments, sprinkle Le Corbusiers designs. The traditional chaos of old Paris represents an antithesis to the Swiss model. While Ha ussmanns reorganization of Paris streets rectified the twisty, winding roads of the Midd le Ages, a few of the latter lurked behind the 1880s facades. Le Corbusier would devote his professional life to Genevaizing [Paris], and any other city that had the impertinence to be un ruly (Hall 219). 26 Le Corbusiers namesake comes from Jeanerette Gris maternal grandfather, which he first licensed in 1920 when he learned how to write. He would popularize his grandfathers name in popular culture with the quote, houses are machines for living (Hall 219 220),
22 Le Corbusiers urban designs followed hi s watchmaker familys tradition of crowding thousands of components into a pl anned harmony. This harmony reacted to an era of Parisian history during which Le Corbusiers design career saw high activity, the 1920s and 1930s. At the time, the indul gent, lively, and impromptu conquered any form of centralized, organized authority in Pa ris. Underneath the joyful faade, slums, disease, and incivility threatened the viabi lity of the French capital. City planners abandoned Haussmanns Republican reforms in lieu of slum clearance campaigns to restore the rule of law. Le Corbusier c oncluded the mayhem merited intervention from grands seigneurs (mighty lords, or men w ithout remorse), with the power and prestige of Louis XIV, Napoleon, or Haussmann. Le Corbusier idolized Louis the 16th to the extent of dedicating the end of his book L Urbanisme (Urbanism) to the monarch: Homage to a great town planner This des pot conceived immense projects and realized them. Over all the country his noble works st ill fill us with admiration. He was capable of saying, we wish it, or such is our pleasure (Hall 220-222). Le Corbusiers first design, the Plan Vo isin of 1925, failed miserably. The plan proffered enough room for three million citizen s. In order to free enough space to make this idea a reality, Le Corbusie r wanted to demolish or move most of the buildings on the north bank of the Seine. In their place, he e nvisioned 18 identical, 60to 70-story towers. To quote the architect himself, the object of his plan intended not to overcome the existing state of things, but by constructing a th eoretically water-tight formula to arrive at the fundamental principles of modern town planning (Hall 222, LeGa tes and Stout 337). Le Corbusiers plan came with an embedded class structure of citizens proper; of suburban dwellers; and of those of a mixed kind:
23 (a) Citizens are of the city: those who work and live in it. (b) Suburban dwellers are those who work in the outer industrial zone and who do not come into the city: they live in garden cities. (c) The mixed sort are those who work in the business parts of the city but bring up their families in garden cities (Le Gates and Stout 338). He estimated that 24 towers in Paris would provide enough workspace for roughly 500,000 jobs of the elite cadres: in dustrialists, scientists, and ar tists. In the city center, 95% of ground-level space would remain open. To accommodate the elites, Le Corbusier proposed a preliminary zone of six-floor, l uxury residential buildi ngs with 85% of the ground space retained. After that, a series of garden city courtyards on a uniform gridiron of streets would ring outward, offering less opulent housing for the working classes. He reserved solely 48% of the ground space of the lower classes housing. Le Corbusier thought to classify these divisions (and so make possible the transmutation of these recognized types), would resolve th e problems of the city as a business and residential center, and transportation between in dustrial cities and garden cities. As a symbol of order (and the last remaining historic al vestige of Paris), he made an exception to permit the retention of la Place Vendme and its column. The city council reacted by calling Le Corbusier a barbarian. Undeterred, he went on to claim twelve years later, the design of cities was too important to be left to the citizens (Hall 222-224, LeGates and Stout 336-338). After the Great Depression, Le Corbusier re turned with a distin ctly anti-Capitalist vision of the city.27 Switching sides to advocate central city planning, Le Corbusier claimed 27 Le Corbuser had lost his faith in capitalists, probably because in the middle of the Great Depression they had lost the capacity to fund him (Hall 225).
24 the harmonious city must first be planned by experts who understand the science of urbanism. They work out their plans in total freedom from partisan pressures and special interests; once their plans are formulated, they must be implemented without opposition (Hall 225). Like the Plan Voisin that preceded it, the Radiant City removed a ny sign of historical context by leveling existing buildin gs and creating an entirely new set of structures. This conversions architectural unity theoretically encouraged a sense of collectivism, a foundational principle of French citizenship (Kennedy).28 However, Le Corbusers designs did not sustain personal liberty. While certain aspects of his designs intended to bring liberating effects, F oucault argues, perhaps the means that [Le Corbusier] proposed were in the end less liberating than he thought. Foucault thought no architectural or urban design project could promote liberty by itself, because the people who occupy the space must exercise liberty themselves. In conj unction with the real practice of people in the exercise of thei r freedom, social housing could produce positive effects. He resisted the associati on of liberty with a built environment because There may, in fact, always be a certain numb er of projects whose aim is to modify some constraints, to loose, or even to break them, but none of these projects can, simply by its nature, assure that people will have liberty automatically, that it will be established by the project itself. The liberty of men is never as sured by the institutions and laws that are intended to guarantee them. This is why almost all of these laws and institutions are quite capable of being turned around. Not because they are ambiguous, but simply because liberty is what must be exercised Which is not to say th at, after all, one may as well leave people in slums, thinking that they can simply exerci se their rights there (Foucault and Rabinow, 245-246). Le Corbusier attempted to reinforce hi s argument with the age-old puzzle of decongest the centers of our cities by increa sing their density. His own motivation for the design shined through the utilitarian su rface, when he demanded in characteristic capital letters: WE MUST BUILD ON A CLEA R SITE! The city of today is dying because it is not constructed geometrically (Hall 223). Les un ites (pre-fabricated 28 Also known as Republicanism, a concept more thoroughly explored in Chapter 3.
25 apartments) offered housing to anyone, no matter economic status. They allotted an average of fourteen square meters (~151 s quare feet) per person in a 50-meter tall (approximately sixteen-story) bu ilding. This meant 2,700 resident s could live together in a single building (Kennedy). The units would no t differentiate in terms of class or any other cleavage. Every occupant would receive the same treatment in accordance with spatial concerns, and benefit from the same collective services, such as cleaning, cooking, and raising children (Hall 226). While he would realize li ttle success during his lifetim e, Le Corbusiers real legacy came from cities that were built by others incorporating the planning principles that he pioneered (LeGates and Stout 336). His successors envisi oned comfortable and hygienic housing in a natural, green environm ent, with close access to the necessities of daily life. The Minister of Reconstruc tion and Urbanism, Eug ne Claudiun-Petit, inaugurated the first of the new projects in Ma rseilles in 1952: the Radiant Citys first seventeen-story tower. Once on a roll, the Mini stry hired influential architects of the time (i.e. Aillaud, Beaudoin, Candilis, Colboc, and Ze hrfuss) to design additional residences. France would not see an end to the construc tion spree until the early 1970s (Le Goaziou and Rojzman 12-16). Between 1958 and 1973, the state built 195 projects with subsidized housing, formally known as p riority for urbaniza tion zones; which comprised two million units total (Avenel 28).29 Initially, residents and politicians view the cits as a positive development. Coming from temporary, insufficient, and/or substandard living conditions, the cits 29 Zones urbaniser en priorit or (ZUP)
26 seduced new occupants with their clean and spacious quarters (Le Goaziou and Rojzman 16). Le Corbusier supposedly spent much time and thought on outfitting of cits for residents use. Expansive windows permitted ample exposure to sunlight, which he balanced with the modern conveniences of air conditioning, elevators, and rooftop gardens (Kennedy). Running water, electricit y, dining rooms, bathrooms, central heat, and other basic amenities made the units hospitable, no matter their minimalistic placement. The settlement patterns enforced diversity and integration, even though this diversity came in the form of spatial proximity and social distance (Avenel 28). The move into cits accompanie d a nationwide transformation in buying power and quality of life. Classes previously excluded from upwar d mobilization could fi nally differentiate a path toward a brighter future (Le Goaziou and Rojzman 16). From the Metro to Work to Sleep: The Disintegration of the Functionalist Utopia The evil that Le Corbusier did lives after him; the good is perhaps interred with his books, which are seldom read for the simple reason that most are almost unreadable. (The pictures, if should be said, are sometime s interesting for what they reveal of their draughtsman). But the effort should be made, because their impact on twentieth-century city planning has been almost incalcula bly great Ideas forged in the Parisian intelligentsia of the 1920s, came to be applied to hundreds of other cities too, in the 1950s and 1960s; the results were at best questionable, at worst catastrophic (Hall 219). It did not take long for the initial pleasure of entering a consumer society to wear off. Almost immediately after moving in, resi dents identified errors made in the cits rapid and cut-rate construc tion. For instance, the fibe rglass covers used throughout concrete patio construction on the roofs leak ed water. The abundance of windows gave the apartments an over-exposed feel, wh ile the absence of blinds prevented any semblance of intimacy or privacy. Constructi on teams fabricated di viding walls too thin to insulate sound, which provoked battles be tween residents over noise pollution from
27 both human and electronic sources (L e Goaziou and Rojzman 16-17). Todays generation of urban planners recognize th e faults of modernism, contending the imposition of functional homogeneity led to the death of vital differences intrinsic to a healthy urbanity (MacLeod and Ward, 154). In stead of integrating communities, leaders shifted to a policy of developm ent that reified distinctions between the cit and central cities.30 Contrary to popular percepti on, the first cit inhabitant s came from a variety of social classes. The homel ess or poorly/under-housed31 lived alongside young couples expecting children and rural families who moved from Provence in search of jobs. Often blamed for the cits decline, immigrants in fact came after the first symptoms of sickness in the projects. Suboptimal outcomes of uniformity32 became apparent to residents at this time. The erection of towe rs and their amenities in perfectly straight lines lent a cold, industrial, a nd institutional feel to the cit s. Support services promised by the government when attracting occupants di d not often materialize. When they did, they came years behind schedule, which left re sidents with a residua l sense of deception or neglect. A roof and walls did not provi de an adequate replacement for the schools, transportation infrastructure, and hospitals on wh ich residents predicated their decision to move to the banlieue. While some infrastruc ture, such as garages and parking lots, sat 30 Globalization coupled with this phenomenon lead to pockets of extreme wealth and poverty an intensely uneven patchwork of utopian and dystopian spaces physically proximate but institutionally estranged (MacLeod and Ward 154). 31 Mal logs 32 Originally calleduniformisation
28 empty, residents eagerly anticipated the firs t stores and cafs of their neighborhoods (Le Goaziou and Rojzman 17). 33 The lack of public space, places to go out, to wander, and roam aimlessly presented another major blunder. Put simp ly, instead of exploring the new cits, residents dragged their feet from the metro to work to sleep, only to repeat the cycle again the next day (Le Goaziou and Rojzman 18). 34 Since rationality guided the cits design, no features of the Radiant City allowe d residents to behave in irrational ways. Leisure activities included day minded pur suits, with the intentional omission of extravagance or chaotic excess. Le Cor busiers top-down design also did not permit residents to have a voice in the governance of their lives; they are ab le to behave, but not to act (Kennedy). Contemporary assessments of his designs reveal the role of Le Corbusiers own mentality in his designs. A Calvinist who would make the world over for the glory of rationalism He prescribed a plan that eschewed embodi ment, cleared away history, and established orthogonal order. This is the essence of ut opian thought, the reliance on scientific fact and removal of memory. The other, be it female or a worker, is disorder and must be brought into line. Implicitly, it is a fear of this world, a Cartesian desire to escape this mortal coil. Corbusiers designs for the city are grounded in the desire to escape the earth The skyscraper, the death of the street, the destruction of the sensuality of city life are all proof positive that he was terrified of the Earth and others. In the Contemporary City [Le] Corbusier describes the view fr om the skyscraper as not of this Earth; it is placid, serene, and harmonious (Kennedy). Most of the now sick areas, considered problematic or sensitive by the French state, broke ground during the 1960s and 1970s. However, it took time to realize the cit 33 To this day, the Cit des 4,000 (which houses the same number of residents) in the Parisian suburb of La Courneuve contains one sole caf. At the foot of a 26 story residential tower, the cafs owners can usually count their customers on the fingers of a single hand (Pineau). 34 Literally. The authors of Les Banlieues cleverly rhymed on ne flne pas (deriving from flner, which means to wander [typically in Paris] and marvel at the joys of ones surroundings, with on y trane, which means to lag behind. Mtro boulot dodo became a(n in)famous French idiom for this set of actions, the normal routine for the residents of dormitory cities (cits dortoirs) in the banlieue
29 concepts failure because urban sociologists did not question Le Corbusiers designs. Instead, they focused on micro-scale problem s of functionality, su ch as individuals housing and lifestyles (Avenel 11). Sociological theory followed larger trends in French society, such as urbanization a nd economic expansion. Both of these forces concentrated population growth in cities, creating the need for the state to build as many units of housing as cheaply and efficiently as possible. The government envisioned the cits as a quick solution to a multitude of issues: to absorb families from the rural exodus and those displaced from bidonvilles, to welc ome French and non-French citizens alike during decolonialisation, to offer lower and middle classes a means for subsistence (Avenel 27). To meet the labor market gaps of the booming post-War economy and to end the routine abuse of foreign workers, France created the Office national dimmigration (National Office of Immigration, or ONI) in 1945. The ONI entered into a bilateral guest worker agreement with Italy two years later. The administrations of Spain, Portugal, Morocco, (the former) Yugoslavia, Tunisia, Turkey, and Algeria followed suit over the next decade. Foreign workers immigrated at a steady rate, but largely fell under natives radar until a key series of st rikes and protests in May 1968.35 The state expelled hundreds of foreigners who participated, mobilizing activists from both sides of the political aisle in France. Lef tists rallied for better conditions in the cits, while the right called for limits on immigration. Under pres sure from these (and of course, economic) concerns, by 1972 the French government decl ared its intent to end [the] routine 35 Many refer to these manifestations as the Student Protests, but this term ignores the fact that participants came from diverse occupations, cultures, and lifestyles.
30 legalizations of foreigners. Algeria chose to suspend sending its citizens abroad for work because of the risk of violence posed by repeated attacks in France against North Africans (Martin et al., 90-91). For some immigrants, government manda ted isolation in foyers (workers dormitories) made their new existence in Fran ce a living hell. The National Company for the Construction of Housing for Guest Worker s created numerous apartment buildings of this sort between 1950 and 1970 (Keaton 63). Wh ile the term may appear similar to its English homophone, The foyer is a ubiquitous aspect of the French urban and architectural landscape wherever there are high concentrations of foreign work ers. The term foyer, or home, with its domestic connotations, is ironic, in that the foyers rarely house families and typically forbid couples and children. The migrants in the foyer are frequently married, but they have left their families in their countries of origin. The foyer is a social universe of nonFrench males, an island of workers, usua lly unskilled or low-skilled, away from their homelands and isolated from their families The function of the foyer is to provide sleeping accommodations and common facilities for its inhabitants. Several workers may share a room or a group of small individual bedrooms, grouped around a shared kitchen/dining facility and a bathroom (Diop and Michalak, 74-75). The majority of North Africans came to France in search of education, employment, reunification with family, or a bett er standard of life (a s opposed to political asylum, the last remaining open door for immigrants to France). Samers posits the North African diasporic identity does not stem from a common desire to escape the homeland. A large proportion of North Afri cans and their descendents in France speak Berber dialects, especially those from Al geria and Morocco. Other groups, primarily from Tunisia (but also from other parts of Algeria and Morocco), speak Arabic and not Berber. Linguistic, ethnic, and religious differences would theoretically keep these groups from associating with one another. However, Arabaphobia, Islamaphobia, and the formation of imaginary boundaries thr ough stigmatization (all North Africans,
31 Maghrebins, Arabs or Muslims are this or that ) combine to form a potent cocktail of hostility (Samers 354). Through the con cept of victim diaspora, North Africans suffer under the same racism, xenophobia, di scrimination, stigmatization, and social exclusion (Saint-Blancat 145). Many of the workers recruited to live and work in these cits came from Frances former colonies in North Africa: Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco. Federal contracts brought them to France from rura l locales without the need fo r qualifications or a formal education. Coincidentally, rapid advancemen ts in manufacturing processes and worker organization rendered unskilled workers less a nd less adapted (or adap table) to their new home (Le Goaziou and Rojzman 21-22). Th e construction and automobile industries recruited heavily in North Af rica because they overworked and underpaid immigrants. Mmoires dimmigrs (Memories of Immigrants), a documentary released in 1997, thoroughly examines the practices of recruite rs from France. They selected men who had little or no formal schooling, their hands we re also inspected for calluses and sores to confirm that they were familiar with the type of work they could expect upon arrival. Without the resources to live in central citie s, immigrants already in France often moved into public housing. The state encouraged relocation because it was presumed that [immigrants] would appreciate living in the comforts of public housing after the horrors of the bidonville or the isolat ion of the foyer (Keaton 63). Initially, the immigrants did live in be tter conditions in the cits and things appeared optimistic. French families inhabited public housing side by side with foreigners, and the banlieue experienced a few years of true divers ity. Unfortunate for
32 the residents left there, a vari ety of factors made the banlieue into the de facto ghetto of France (Le Goaziou and Rojzman 29-30). So cio-economic difference transitioned to ethnic over the years [and] relocation has turn ed into segregation, in that public housing is located in the most disadvantaged outer cities a dumping ground for the least desired populations (Keaton 63). During the 1970s, ci t construction and renovation occurred, but the state rarely opened new or improve d units to immigrants. Older projects pauperized36 as the middle classes fled, and the second generation of immigrants reached adulthood, married, and had children. Reduced spending on cit construction toward the end of the 1970s and throughout the 1980s exacerbated the immigrants demand for existing housing. Simply put, ma ny communities refused to build additional projects. This sent some immigrants (back ) into substandard conditions. Ghettoizationdid not occur in a uniform manner.37 The banlieues of Sarcelles and Chanteloup-lesVignes to the north of Paris hos t residents from highly diverse origins the former counts more than 90 nationalities, while the latt er, 50 (Le Goaziou and Rojzman 30-31). Both communities count a similar number of resi dents who trace lineage to foreign soil roughly 40% (INSEE). The government clearly intended mass development in the banlieue to solve problems, not cause additional ones. Yet from the 1970s onward, the banlieue steadily 36 les quartiers se pauprisent 37 While the term ghettoization may appear inflammatory or disingenuous, political elites all the way up to the former President Jacques Chirac have incorporated this word into their parlance of the banlieue. After twelve nights of riots in 2005, Chirac claimed he deplored the fact that in certain neighborhoods, a ghettoization of youth of African and North African descent was taking place [as well as] the incapacity of French society to accept them fully. Original quote : Hier soir, la prsidente de Lettonie Vaira Vike Freiberga, qui a discut en dtail de ce sujet lors dun djeuner avec Jacques Chirac llyse, a confi que le prsident dplorait le fait quil y ait dans ces quartiers une ghettosation des jeunes dorigine africaine ou nord africaine, ainsi que lincapacit de la socit franaise les accepter pleinement. (La Voix du Nord).
33 devolved in terms of the resident s social status and their desi re to live there. A uniquely French White Flight occurred, in which resi dents with the resources necessary to move back to central cities did so. Reconstruction of the latter helped city centers approach their pre-War grandeur, which brought back so me residents who fled central cities for the cits decades earlier. The notorious ec onomic slowdown accompanied these changes, partially because France fina lly repaired most of the Wars damage. Residents found themselves increasingly isolated from the rest of French society. With isolation came resignation, as central city re sidents began to see their surrounding environment as a bastion of the undesirable classes. Politicians, architects, urban planners, a nd investors (both public and private) each played a complicit part in the sickne ss of the banlieues, although none wanted to claim responsibility or attempt to rectify the mistakes. Though the alarm bells sounded, the bottom line meant more to these official s than thinking of the residents needs, aspirations, or quality of life. Despite a myriad of othe r solutions, France privileged gigantism and made urban monsters rise fr om the dirt, over all the rules of human ecology and the equilibriums inherent to li fe together (Le Goaziou and Rojzman 19). The residents of the banlieue did not willingl y choose this outcome, because the ideal of the vast majority of people in France re sembles the typical American Dream, perhaps without a white picket fence. According to a survey conducted in the 1998, 80% of French citizens prefer detached housing and a garden to living in grandes ensembles (apartment complexes) (Bonvalet and Lelivre).
34 Apparently, Le Courbusier harshly critiqued this sort of suburb, which he termed the horizontal garden city. He thought that instead of following this pattern, his vertical garden city would help move pe ople quickly and effici ently to, from, and around the cit (Kennedy, LeGate s and Stout). Some criticiz e the state for replacing the old way of life in the bidonville communities with an artificial and constrained grouping of former residents. Little by lit tle, the new housing projects appeared more like a forced relocation scheme than one chos en by those living there. Once seen as a method for integration and social mobility, ci ts (and the banlieue as a whole) became a symbol of French economic decay and the failure of cultural cohesion (Avenel 29). With the cits of the banlieue already built, politicians and academics in France decided to debate their future instead of r ectifying the sickness firsthand. During the 1980s, conceptions of the banlieue reversed entirely. A rapid succession of incidents catalyzed these changes, including the riots of Lyon (and their accompanying media blitz), the anti-hot summer reforms in 1982, growing conversions of residents to an extreme-right political persuasion, deaths with rumored links to racism and/or discrimination, and the march of Arabs38 in Paris for civil rights and equality. The dominant discourse attempted to condense all the externalities of Western society (and capitalism) into the banlieue. Since, cit s became inextricable from the concerns of unemployment, delinquency, urban uprisings underground/back door economies, school inequalities, immigration, exclusi on, ghettoization, etc. (Avenel 11-12). 38 La Marche des beurs
35 The evolution and expansion of termi nology shaped both the banlieue and its study. By the mid-1980s, academics spoke of a new poverty, one caused by problem[s] of integration th at immigrants and their progen y faced. A push for Beur (or Arab) rights exemplifies division between an intelligent, well-integrated sect of secondgeneration immigrants and another group who suffers the results of extreme economic marginality. The conflicting notions about immigrants (and immigration as a whole) became the number one question in researcher s minds during this period. They soon realized blaming immigrants for the sickness lacked legitimacy given the fact that some manage to integrate and ascend the social la dder. Thus, the problem reformatted to segregation, with the banlieue encapsulating the image of exclusion. French society perpetuated the concept of b anlieues sensibles (sensitive ghettos/suburbs), dominated by gangs of youth and their accompanying viol ence. Reinforced through music, cinema, literature, and news report throughout the 1980s and 1990s, th e French version of the ghetto gained a level of notoriety (and infa mousness) similar to its American sister (Avenel 12, 15). While the ghettoization of the banlieue stemmed from Le Corbusiers designs, a combination of various forces in central citi es and suburbs catalyzed and reinforced one another to (re)create the ghetto phenomenon in France. Before the 1950s, immigrants and other marginalized groups made thei r homes in the cramped dormitories of profiteering marchands de sommeil (sel lers of sleep), condemned buildings, and abandoned apartment complexes of central cities. When the gentrification projects of the next thirty years displaced them, they im provised housing in shantytowns on the urban periphery, in self-regulated groups of the sa me nationality. In 1970, a fire in one such
36 bidonville killed five Malians, which convinced th e same generation of leaders that supported the May 1968 strike to support a sy stematic plan for the resettlement of immigrant families. The state devised a quota sy stem to help the new arrivals move into existing projects, officially known as Habita tions Loyer Modere (Reduced or Fixed Price Housing, HLM). The plan consisted of introducing small doses of immigrant families in the projects to allow them to me ld slowly with the native population, and to avoid any semblance of regroupement (e thnically concentrated communities) (Le Goaziou and Rojzman 28-29). This idea retu rns to notions about French identity, specifically Republicanism, and its opinion of outside cultural influence: to deny, deride, and hide. Meanwhile, the sickness translated cons equences of spatia l isolation on to residents lives, apparent above all in th e lack of employment. Ever since the 1980s, many banlieues experienced unemployment rates th ree to four times the national average. In certain cits, that figure reaches as high as 60, 70, or 80%. Youth of foreign origin suffer the brunt of habitual unemployment, most notably those of Afri can or Arab origin. Some explain the unemployments cause as th e high concentration of unskilled labor and lack of easy access to mass transportation in ma ny cits. West of Paris, city planners built the banlieue to supply automobile fact ories with workers. The national government made similar plans up and down the Seine valle y, an industrial core of Northern France (Le Goaziou and Rojzman 21-22).
37 When they look for a job, those of North African origin (particularly Algerians) encounter an idleness of sustainable unemployment.39 The lucky ones break this apart with periods of temporary work in precari ous, unstable, and/or physically compromising positions. For example, 27% of the youth of L ille-Sud (South Lille) w ith a high school or college degree cannot find a job, versus 10% of French residents40. Half of those of French origin claim access to a job, while only a quarter of Maghrbines (North Africans) agreed. Prejudiced or not, th e habitants of the cit claim some justification for feeling hostility from their surroundings. Many make e fforts to find jobs, elevate their social status, marry, procreate, and leave the banlieue be hind. For others, chronic unemployment becomes a way of life, made ordina ry as time elapses and spirits fade. In response, cit residents deve lop what researchers variously refer to as an underground, black-market, or parallel economy (Keaton 84).41 Without an official accounting method or way to tabulate this systems size or exte nt, it seems impossible to analyze fruitfully. However, research shows that once sucked in, it proves difficu lt to exit and find a legitimate job. The extreme example of this comes from the cads (gang bosses), who rule entire buildings of the cits. Through illicit activities, a cad can make in one day alone what his or her average neighbor ma kes in an entire month (Le Goaziou and Rojzman 23-25). The backdoor economy and unemploymen t inequality bring with them implications for urban policy in France. From haughty suburbs to poor neighborhoods, 39 Chmage durable 40 Although some contend official figures distort the situation on the ground because they ignore those who give up on the search for employment or do not consider themselves a part of the above ground economy. 41 Le bizness to quote Le Goaziou and Rojzman.
38 spatial hierarchy embodies the social hierar chy of Frances ban lieue. Disjointing between city and cit continue s to escalate, at the same ti me a social distancing as a process of physical separation.42 The state created the label Zones urbaines sensibles (sensitive43 urban zones, or ZUS) to target the neighborhoods most in need of reform. Signed into law in November 1996, the legi slation attempts to re-launch cits characterized by large apartment complexes or degraded habitations, with a significant inequality between number of residents and j obs available (Avenel 18). The category of ZUS came about in the same fashion as the i nvention of a new social politic toward the end of the 1980s. The interest and formaliza tion of Politique de la Ville emerged to target efforts on the improvement of conditions because previous efforts evidently failed. While social redistribution policies functioned to a certain extent, they seemed outdated and incapable of handling the di sorganized and deregulated e nvironment of the banlieue. Questions about the cause of chronic and pervasive unemployment (and its disproportionate concentration) pushed the st ate to revaluate its strategy (Tissot 2008).44 42 la fois une mise distance sociale et un processus de sparation physique 43 Otherwise translatable as contentious, tense, or dangerous in this context. 44 During the 1990s, the unemployment rate in the ZUS climbed from 18.9% to 25.4%. For metropolitan France as a whole it increased less dramatically, from 10.8% to 12.8%. Even though a quarter of Frances youth seek employment, a striking 40% of the banlieues youth (as opposed to 28.5% in 1990) cannot find any. For those lucky enough to have a job, 20.1% (versus 12.1% of the Metropole) lack the job security of an employment contract. Similar to the unemployment figure of cits, 39% of ZUS inhabitants never graduated from high school (compared to 21.2% of French people as a whole). A mere 4% obtain a masters or doctorate degree. Finally, 56.3% work in unskilled or somewhat skilled jobs. This all translates to an income mean of 918 Euros/month, more than 300 Euros less than the 1260 average for France all together. More than half (51.5%) receive allocations from the state for housing and food, and three times the normal number of French people receive unemployment benefits (8.6%). Whereas one in ten French people live under the poverty line, one in five ZUS residents do so (Avenel 19 20).
39 As of 1999, the ZUS included 751 neighbor hoods. In metropolitan France, one finds 717 zones. 45 Within these 717 ZUS, 4.46 million people reside, or 7.6% of Frances overall population. Between 1990 and 1999, 6% of ZUS residents moved out of their neighborhoods. Over the same peri od, Frances population grew by a little more than 3% (Avenel 18). Considering that the birth rate of immigrants living in France outpaces that of women born in France (2.16 versus 1.70, respectively), a population change cannot be avoided as inevitable (Toul emon). The demogra phic challenge of the ZUS also appears in family structure, b ecause the lower presence of childless couples, and higher incidence of singl e-parent households (14.2%) and immigrants (18.6%, three times the national average) in the ZUS (Avenel 19). These statistics hide regional diversity in ZUS composition. In the north and east of France, most ZUS lie in the stereotypical ba nlieue cit, whereas half of the ZUS in the southern region of Provence exist within central cities. Residents themselves vary greatly from cit to cit. Some residents cannot find (stable) employment, but that does not presuppose unemployment for all. The immi grant population of the ZUS seems higher than that of France as a whole, yet one ca nnot consider this th e formation of ethnic enclaves.46 The heterogeneity of the youths paths highlights this latter point, in terms of the social origin of ones parents, educational background, ethnic origin, and willingness to graduate. However, the media and academia repeat three (stereo-) types of youth endlessly. First, the scholarly or socially in tegrated one holds steady employment and makes money through lega l means. Second, the precarious case 45 Which means on the continent of Europe, rather than including Frances overseas possessions and territories. 46 Enclaves ethniques
40 combines unstable employment and periods of joblessness, exploits the social welfare net, and/or entangles his-/herself in petty delinquency. Third, th e corroded or rusty one, who internalizes the exclusion and disc rimination experienced in the search for employment and projects feelings of in security as a result (Avenel 20-22). At the turn of the century, public debate on exclusion shifted to the concept of insecurity, a manifestation of the banlieues stigmatization in prior years. This brought the discussion of problems back to the era of their debut: th e riots of the 1980s. Question from this time focused on the rule, effectiveness, and presence of law in the banlieue. The police forces responsibility to maintain orde r became critical to politicians and intellectuals, which reverberat es to this day in Sarkozys push toward neoliberalism. Media sensationalism prope lled this school of thought further. The banlieue became the symbol of life outside47 of safety, as well as social and cultural cohesion. It also represents a lawless, no-go zone, characterized by one sole image, that of poverty and social destruction, [which] a ffect the most excluded and determine discourse on the formation ghettos. 48 For instance, the words youth of the projects spontaneously conjures the image of probl ematic youth to most French people, whose only appearance in media comes in the form of threats posed to the status-quo (Avenel 12-13). For a typical vision of the ma rginalitys (and racisms) effects in the banlieue, the French government tabulated the followi ng figures in preparation for a national 47 Lextriorit 48 caractris par une seule image, celle de la pauvret et de la destruction social, reposant sur la population la plus exclue et orientant le discours sur la formation des ghettos
41 conference on juvenile delinque ncy in March 1999. The Dlgation Interministrielle la Ville (Interministral Delegation for Ur ban Affairs, or DIV) desired a better understanding of life in the ZUS from the hab itants point of view. The DIV contracted marketing giant Taylor Nelson Sofres to prepare a survey on neighborhood characteristics. Sofres asked residents what aspects of life seemed most important (in other words, deficient) in the banlieue (PL F: Ville, 2001, B). At least half of those surveyed labeled security, employment, and cleanliness essential, along with a notable minority (44%) for schools. Au contraire, r elations with your neighbors and diversity of residents ranked last on the list of e ssential attributes (PLF: Ville, 2001, B). Figure 1: Question: Tell me if you consider each of the following characteristics in the neighborhood as essential, important, sec ondary, or useless? (PLF: Ville, 2001, B).49 Essentiel % (Essential) Important % (Important) Secondaire % (Secondary) Inutile % (Useless) NSP50% La scurit (Security) 58373 11 L'emploi dans le quartier ou proximit (Easily accessible employment) 57354 22 La propret (Cleanliness/Neatness) 53404 3Les coles (Schools) 44377 57 Les espaces verts (Green spaces) 394113 61 Les quipements sportifs et culturels (Sporting and Cultural 394112 53 49 Originally worded, Question : dites moi si vous considrez comme essentiel, important, secondaire ou inutile chacun des points suivants dans le quartier dans lequel vous habitez ? 50 Ne se prononcent pas, which literally means does not pronounce itself, or more figuratively, not indicated.
42 Institutions) La beaut des btiments (The buildings exterior appearance) 383916 61 Le niveau du bruit (Sound pollution) 374014 81 Les transports en commun (Mass transit) 363514 123 La qualit de votre logement (Quality of your housing) 354013 102 Les commerces (Shopping) 353816 101 La circulation et le stationnement (Traffic and parking) 333818 92 Les relations avec votre voisinage (Relations with your neighbors) 313717 141 La diversit des habitants (The diversity of residents) 313417 126 Many of the features central to Le Corbusie rs original plans (including cleanliness, schools, green spaces, and the buildings appe arance) rank conspicuously high (in the top half) of residents concerns. The lack of ad equate infrastructure for daily activities (such as cultural institutions, recreation, and shoppi ng) results from Le Corbusiers transitoriented, minimalist design. The states spar se investment in outfitting the banlieue attests to the priority assigne d to the space as a real solution. Instead of actually solving the bidonville problem, administrators dest royed the organic city/circulus; hastily planned and poorly constructed public housing in its place; which pr oved insufficient for the wave of guest workers recruited by the st ate; and treated the ba nlieue as a sink for
43 problems (rather than its earlier function as a sink for trash). This means that sixty years of thought, and forty years of efforts to reposition (or reinvent) that thought, passed in vain. Instead of offering any real soluti on, Frances political elite further incubated the symptoms of the sickness.
44 Chapter 2: The Significance of and Responses to Urban Violence No matter how terrifying a given system may be, there always remain the possibilities of resistance, disobedience, and oppositional groupings (Foucault and Rabinow, 245). The sickness could only grow in size fo r so long without disrupting the normal functions of its host organism. Officially known as violences urbaines (urban uprisings or urban violence) in France, and riots or revolts in the scholarship and media; this chapter gives an overview of th e history of such disturbances an in-depth reenactment of the events of fall 2005, and discusses governme ntal responses to such events. Through the analysis of each flare up of tensions in the banlieue, a pattern emerges. First, the police persecute youth from the banlieue to the point of injury or death. 51 Second, stories of injustice committed against the youth sp read around the banlieue, which distort the actual event and enrage citizens. Third, mild protests snowba ll into brutal clashes with the police, often overnight. Depending on the duration of uprisings, damage accrues and pressure mounts on the government to interv ene. Fourth, police forces eventually assuage the hostility by arre sting its perpetrators. Fifth, the state announces comprehensive plans to fix the banlieue. Consistently, the plans contain a two-part response: a set of policies to improve the sy mptoms of the sickness (i.e. unemployment and/or poverty), and another th at (less forthrightly announced ) expands or reinforces the police force. Each time the state institutes the plans, they fail to inoculate France from future violence in the banlieue. Eventually, the cycle repeats itself when another police officer offends or injures a resident. 51 Often, but not exclusively, of foreign origin.
45 How do urban policy and polic ing interact with the s ickness, and why do the former matter to the latter? Foucault contends the 19th and 20th Century rush toward urbanization also lent cities unprecedented import to nationa l policy and police practices in France. This occurred because the cities with the problems that they raised, and the particular forms they took, served as models for the governmental rationality that was to apply to the whole of the te rritory (Foucault and Rabinow 241) Utopian visions of the urban landscape developed on the premise that a state is like a large city; the capital is like its main square; the roads are like its streets. A st ate will be well organized when a system of policing as tight and efficient as that of the cities extends over the entire territory. At the outset, the notion of police applied only to the set of regulations that were to assure the tranquility of the city, but at that moment the police become the very type of rationality for the government of the whole territory In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, police signified a program of government rationality. This can be characterized as a project to create a system of regulation of the general conduct of individuals whereby everything would be controlled to the point of self-sustenance, without the need for intervention. This is the rather typically Fr ench effort of policing (Foucault and Rabinow 241). Considering the cyclical pattern of viol ence and policy/police response, (how) can a system of self-sustenance work within the confines of the banlieue? While the uprisings habitually fit the mold of police-folly, resident anguish, and state suppression/intervention, indi vidual actors determine the dur ation and extent of the sickness manifestation. Between Octobe r and December of 2005, banlieue residents expressed the most significant voicing of ha tred and discontent in French history. According to an official account released by th e Ministry of the Inte rior, over the span of three weeks, protestors burn t 9,790 vehicles (52.12% of wh ich in ZUS), attacked 255
46 schools (including 92 middle and 49 secondary), and inflicted an estimated 250 million Euros total in damage52 (Kokoreff et al.) According to a (-n originally) confiden tial report by the Direction central des Renseignements gnraux (Centr al Director of the RG in telligence agency) obtained by the newspaper Le Parisien no other manifestation of discont ent in modern French history rivals the urban uprisings of fall 2005. The RG claimed, Never had so many cities been touched in a simultaneous manner. Never had a movement lasted as long: it took twenty days for peace to return. Never had it cost as much: more than 250 million Euros in a short time-frame. That frame of three weeks saw nearly 280 communities experience urban violence, ranging from trashcans to whole blocks of buildings set aflame (Mauger 13). Frances model of socialism permits the state to own the infrastructure of cits (projects), incl uding schools, day cares, hospitals, and public assistance offices; and hold partial or full deeds to public housi ng units. When tensions spike and urban violence erupts, these buildings serve as targ ets for the youths rage. Planning began in 2004 for a widespread and coordinated arra ngement of (sub-) urban renewal, first implemented in 2007 (ONZUS 2008, 9). Ma ny consider recent changes in public policy an inadvertent, yet pot entially desirable benefit of the uprising of fall 2005. A dichotomy exists between the facts a nd the signification inferred from such facts. What really happened on the ground durin g riots rarely reflects what reporters or 52 Originally worded, Selon les donnes du ministre de lIntrieur, 9790 vhicules de particuliers ont t incendis durant ces trois semaines, dont 52,12 % dans les zones urbaines sensibles ; 255 atteintes des tablissements scolaires, dont 92 collges et 49 lyces, ont t enregistrs. Le cot global a t estim 250 millions deuros de dgts assurs (source : FFSA/GEMA).
47 researchers end up writi ng about the event(s).53 The events and their representation oppose one another and compete for prominence as the meta-narrative, yet views of the urban uprisings do not necessari ly fall into separate categories for the rioters and the analysis of the riots. 54 The media (newspapers, broadcas ts, magazines, et c.), politicians, political parties, associations, social movements, and intellect uals, all play a part in the analysis of urban uprisings. In the end, a riot of paper stems from the riots. 55 To make sense of both the physical and intell ectual riots, analysis should combine what happened on the streets with the debate of in tellectuals, politicians, and the media on the banlieue (Muager 5-8). Through another viewpoint, France witnesse d the emergence of two sociologies the Durkheimian objectivity or realistic cons ideration of quantifia ble facts, and the construction of representations detached from those to which they refer. The second modality considers problems a social fabrica tion, known in the social sciences as the constructivist or subjectivist opinion. Simultaneously complimentary and at conflict, the two representations reappear in sociologists work, particul arly on the banlieue. When residents become people with problems and who are a problem, the stigmatization and 53 In the original language, Mauger defines the dichotomy of fact as ltablissement des faits, or ce qui sest rellement pass, (the establishment of facts, or what really happened); and le sens leur attribuer, ou ce quil faut en penser (the sense/meaning given/attributed to them, or what one must think/make of them) (Mauger 6). 54 Here Mauger cites influential French Sociologist, Pierre Bourdieu, for his La science et lactualit in Actes de la recherch en sciences sociales no. 61 (1986) (Ibid, 6). Coincidentally, after meeting Bourdieu, who later became his mentor and career long editor of his work, Loc Wacquant decided to orient himself toward the study of Sociology. 55 Mauger bases this conclusion off manifestations de papier (protests of paper) that came from manifestations de rue (street protests), as mentioned by Peirre Favre in La manifestation comme action symbolique in La Manifestation (1990) and Patrick Champagnes La manifestation. La production de lvenment politique Actes de la recherch en sciences sociales no. 52 53 (1984) (Ibid, 6 7).
48 segregation of the banlieue follows (Avenel 14-15). 56 What can the dichotomization of events and their study tell abou t violence in the banlieue? Pierre-Didier Tchtch-Apa, complaining about the negative image of banlieues and increasingly repressive measures devised to contain them: Are we going to go on this way with millions of citizens excluded from th e system, and just make do with it, with impressive police forces, even the military to contain these areas and keep these territories well delimited in public space and where serious crises like riots and so on are not considered as political acts, in the sense that they result from a socio-political problem, but are seen only in terms of se curity and repression (Dike A 18, emphasis Dikes own)? Before explaining these measures of secu rity and repression, an explanation of violences urbaines seems necessary. The cl osest thing to an o fficial or concrete definition of urban uprisings/violence come s from the Renseignements Gnrauxs subsection of [central] cities and suburbs.57 The agency envisions violences urbaines on a sliding scale. Starting at vandalism and petty delinquency, the actions escalate to (verbal) harassment of authority figures, (physical) assa ult of these figures, mini-riots, and fullblown revolts. 58 Two to five nights of repeated action, conducted by twelve or more participants, merit the official title of meute (often translated as riot).59 Some conceive of the riots as urban guerilla wa rfare, with a directly anti-institutional component. They constitute acts of revolt, al most at the level of opposition to the state as a formal structure. 60 The RG charges itself with protect ing the safety of the state from subversive forces, often taking the form of surveillance of political and social movements. In this police-vis ion of politics, the appearance of urban uprisings confirms 56 les habitants ont des probmes et quils sont un problme. Here, Avenel quotes G. Baudin and P. Genestiers Banlieue problmes. Paris: La Documentation franaise, 2002. 57 villes et banlieues 58 dlinquence crapuleuse 59 Violences Urbaines. Des vritis qui drangent 60 Anti tatique
49 the RGs suspicions of a general delinque ncy and collective acti on against the state (Mauger 15-17). Dike posits residents absorb influence fr om the relegation and exclusion of their neighborhoods, which in turn incubates a sepa rate identity based on resentment. Urban uprisings incarnate this resentments mo st deleterious effects. They follow a stereotypical pattern of the d eath(s) of banlieue youth, whic h French media projects on to the national stage. This inspires furthe r uprisings and perpetuates the image that banlieues are the natural s ites of recurrent revolts. Fo r example, the paper Libration called the banlieue one of the major phobias of the French in the new millennium. However, Dike intends not to generalize fr om the uprisings, because an unprecedented number of residents expresse d discontent in the fall of 2005. He believes the geographic component of these revolts dist inguishes them from previous occurrences. Most notably, the uprisings extent (with 300 towns affect ed) and endurance (th ey continued about 2 weeks), along with the resu ltant police response (exceptionally repressive measures with the declaration of a state of emergency), attest to this events uniquene ss. For these reasons, Dike rebrands the 2005 riots (as th ey appear in most scholarship and the media) as revolts (Dike B 1190-1193). meutes and Violences Urbaines Dissected Looking back, it seems academics and the government always associated violence with the banlieue (and banlieue residents). meutes in 1981 in the Lille suburb of Vaulxen-Velin inaugurated this image, one seared deep into everyday citizens consciousness since then by the media. The stereotype of burnt cars, broken windows, [and] hooded
50 youth61 leaves little room for neutral or positiv e reporting. Analysts rarely see the cause of riots in racial or ethnic terms, desp ite the discrimination suffered by many banlieue residents (especially at the hands of police officers). Instead, traditional scholarship associates uprisings with the problems of the banlieue. The territorialization of social problems extends beyond the social and economic fields, to a cultura l reassign[ment of] the responsibility for unemployment on to th e immigrants rather than the employers. [This] creates a taboo around ethnic ques tions clearly existent in racism and discrimination62 (Tissot 2008). Does the media amplify violence by transmitting its effects and inspiring copycat incidents, or doe s violence arise in ignored spaces as a sort of natural progression? Some posit the th irty years of relative calm between the banlieues construction and the Vaulx-en-Velin incident attest that the built environment itself may have little to do with th e riots (Le Goaziou and Rojzman 36). However, the size and scope of the banlie ue (and its problems) did not stay consistent over this period. From the firs t cit development to the 751 ZUS of today, quite a marked change in the urban environm ent occurred. For example, the percentage of non-nationals living in th e Parisian suburb of La C ourneuve, where much of the violence of 2005 erupted, doubled between 1968 (11%) and 1990 (25%) (Wacquant 2001, 11). Academics attempts to address the problems of the banlieue originated a decade before the violence, with Henri Lefebvres La Rvolution Urbaine (The Urban Revolution) of 1970 It contained the political stra tegy of introducing the urban 61 voitures, brles, vitrines dfonces, jeunes cagouls 62 La territorialisation des problmes sociaux qui sest opre avec la question des banlieues, cest cela : ce nest pas seulement loccultation des questions sociales et conomiques au profit dune vision culturaliste (qui renvoie la responsabilit du chmage sur les immigrs plutt que sur le patronat) ; cest aussi loccultation des questions ethniques bien relles que sont le racisme et la discrimination.
51 problematic into (French) pol itical life, pushing it to the forefront, [and] elaborating a programme of which the first article will be generalized self-management (Lefebvre, 199). The self-management theme proposed by Lefebvre regurgitates the same concept of French policing to which Foucault alludes. From that 1970s forward, the French polit ical establishment would not view the banlieue in the same light. A pattern of two responses developed: a superficial cure to the ills of the environment, masking over structur al efforts to restore the rule of law in the banlieue. The first formal policy of the government, entitled Habitat et Vie Sociale (Housing and Social Life), perpetuated the c onstruction of a problem while trying to fix it. A precursor to the modern ZUS scheme, the program selected 50 severely deprived areas for renovation in 1977. Some criticized the plan for its superficiality and desperation to hold onto the fleeing middle cl ass during the nationwide demographic shift of the 1970s. Obviously, it did not achiev e the overarching goal of eliminating degradation in the banlieue. To preeminent scholars of the banlieue, the urban and social degradation is largely attributed to the concentration of problem populations in certain areas mainly the large housing blocks a situ ation which aggravates the marginalization of individuals. Such a concen tration is seen to c ontribute further to the problem of exclusion (Dike A 37-39). How can violence come from a media construction when politicians desire, but fail, to fix the problems of the banlieue? Depending on which scholar you trust, banl ieue violence started in Vaulx-enVelin as early as 1978 or 1979 (Daoud, Mucchiell i, and Rey). Rodeos, the reason that the suburb gained notoriety, began during the summer of 1981. They would repeat
52 cyclically during subsequent summers as a forum for youth to vent their hatred of society in face-to-face confrontations with institutional structure, represented by the police (Avenel 10). Claims of the ghettoization of the banlieue first appeared in the news that summer, after rioters pillaged st ores, received injuries in gang-related standoffs with police, and set fire to 200 cars and several buildings. In response, the government enlisted a campaign of anti-hot summer63 reforms dedicated to prevent such acts. First, the state created the Mini stre de la Ville (Ministry of the City) to coordinate a nationwide anti-ghettoization policy.64 Then, it reinforced a police troop called the Brigade anti-criminalit (Anti-criminality brigade, or BAC), which thereafter dedicated itself to the prevention and/or disruption of urban violence. Finally, it committed additional resources from the Renseignements Generaux (Department of General Intelligence) to the study of urban violences causes and outcomes. Despite these reforms, every summer between 1995 and 2007 witnessed a signif icant flare-up of tensions in the banlieue (Le Goaziou and Mucchielli 5-7). Never had an insurrection warranted such a rapid and widespread mobilization of French police forces. Nearly 12,000 police a nd seven helicopters mobilized each day to gather intelligence and face the angry mobs. The chaos alarmed the President and Prime Minister enough to permit 25 departments to enact a state of emergency, the first time such an action seemed necessary since the policys creation during the Algerian War in 63 Anti t chaud dispositive de prvention 64 politique de la ville anti ghettos
53 195565. Although only seven took Paris up on its offer, they invoked the clause from November 8, 2005 to January 4, 2006. The law allows police to ban traffic and pedestrian activity in some neighborhoods (dur ing certain hours), cl oses bars and other nighttime venues, forbids large meetings, places former criminals under house arrest, and clears the way for police to conduct investiga tions at night and sear ch the interiors of private residences (Le Goaziou and Mucchielli 9-10). In contrast with the RGs findings, an o fficial report from the Ministry of the Interior foresaw 200 million in insurance claims ; the vast majority of which originated from the public sector (80%), and the remainde r from the private (20% ). This indicates most destruction centered on the representations of the state within the banlieue. Rioters incinerated hundreds of public bu ildings (schools, recreational facilities, city halls, some government treasuries, and police stations) eith er partially or entirely. RATP, the mass transit authority in Paris, es timated rioters ruined 140 buses (with many dozen burnt). La Poste, the nations postal serv ice, claimed 100 burnt-out vehicles. Police, firefighters, and religious associations reported similar da mage. The latter claimed the some twenty churches, mosques, or synagogues damaged. In addition, rioters set fire to almost 10,000 cars and some 30,000 dumpsters. Yet, the rioter s actions did not occur with impunity. Of the 5,200 people arrested, the state brought at least 4,400 into custody and incarcerated 800. The Ministry of Justice announced that out of the 600 imprisoned, adults accounted for 489 cases, and minors, 108 (Le Goaziou and Mucchielli 8-9). 65 The French government enacted a state of emergency once in the former colony of New Caledonia in 1985 to calm an anti colonial insurrection, but never on the soil of metropolitan France (Le Goaziou and Mucchielli 9 10).
54 The label of riot clearly does not seem appropriate for the events of fall 2005. In that case, would revolt function as more appropriate? A reconstr uction of the facts, and specifically how the riots spread from one cit to over 300 in just three weeks, seems necessary before one can determine their si gnificance. The unrest of fall 2005 followed the typical sequence of events that causes urban violence in France: a youth from the banlieue either loses his or her life or sust ains serious injury at the hands of a police officer. Police represent the antithesis of lif e for a youthful delinque nt, as well as the states authority over individuals lives. Fo r this reason, and because of the compacted spatial structure on which Le Corbusier base d his building designs, friends of the victim quickly learn about the incident. This t ouches off a cycle of rumors, emotion, and solidarity. These three reactions to the events feed off one-another and escalate initial expression of discontent into a scene fr om an all-out warzone (Mauger 18-21). Working off this sequence, the events of fall 2005 make no exception to the rule. According to a book published by their families lawyers,66 three teenagers chased by police took refuge in a power substation.67 Electrocuted and burnt alive, 15 year old Bouna and 17-year-old Zyed never lived to tell about the incident. A third boy, the 17year-old Muhittin, miraculously survived, although he sustai ned major injuries and spent nearly two months in the hospital. Interior Minister Nicholas Sa rkozy made no hesitation to blame the victims and exonerate police of any responsibility for their actions (Mauger 21-24). He claimed the police merely investig ated what they saw as attempted burglary and/or trespass on a constructi on site, asserting the police n ever physically pursued the 66 Mignard, Jean Pierre and Emmanuel Tordjman. Laffaire Clichy Paris, FR: ditions Stock, 2006. 67 Or electrical transformer, depending on how one translates the many versions of this story.
55 teens. Since the police officers involved ev entually apprehended the trespassers, the Inspector General of the police concluded th at no proof of a chase meant no need for sanctions against the officers involv ed (Le Goaziou and Mucchielli 11-12). To understand the events of October 27, 2005, a complete reconstruction of the boys paths helps. During a school holiday, Bouna Traor68 proposed a mid-afternoon game of soccer with about a dozen friends. They decided to go to the neighboring town of Livry-Gargan for its football stadium. Zyed Benna69 shared an interesting commonality with Bouna aside from their fate: both of their fathers collected garbage for the city of Paris. The father of th e only one who survived, Muhittin Altun,70 worked in construction, although he did not have a job at the time of the incident. After leaving the stadium at 5 p.m., the boys headed into a c onstruction site. Ariane Chemin, an employee of a funeral home next to the site (and incide ntally, a police station) saw the boys enter. Out of fear for their safety as she claims, she called the police to help escort the youngsters out of the hardhat area (Mauger 24). From this point onward, the stories begin to conflict. The youths families argue that since the event occurred during the holy month of Ramadan, their children went the entire day without eating or drinking anything. Once finished with soccer, the parents feel their children would feel pressed to return home in order to refuel and abide by religious and familial custom. The youngste rs, who lacked identity cards on their persons, assumed a search for those as the polices motive. Apprehension by the police 68 One of eleven children born to parents of Mauritian origin. 69 Who came from a family of Tunisian origin with six children. 70 His parents came from Turkish Kurd origin.
56 would thereafter result in a wait of one to four hours at the stati on during inte rrogation. Then the boys would have to the wait for pare nts to arrive from th e neighboring town and go through the formalities of releasing thei r children. No matter what reasoning the youth chose, they fled the scene, which many consider a conventiona l reaction to a police check of the sort. Racial profiling among wh ite police and carried out against non-white youth happens often in France, especially in and around Paris. 71 Police demand to check for identity cards through tense, offens ive interactions, usi ng stern body language. During these encounters, more than a check usually occurs because of the humiliating remarks, slang, mockery, looks of defiance, and bodily searches to which the police subject youths. These gests r eached a critical point in r ecent history, one that cannot continue at its current rate if the police wish to command any respect in the banlieue (Mauger 25-27). Police apprehended six of the slowest runners in the original group of soccer players. When released hours later, they had no idea of the horror unfolding for three of their close friends. As Bouna, Zyed, and M uhittin ran across a cemetery, another group of police joined the first and bot h continued to chase the teens. Ignoring signs that stated, Stop! Dont risk your life! and Elect ricity is stronger th an you, the three boys climbed a containment wall and a barbed-wire fence in order to enter a substation of lectricit de France, a stat e-owned electrical power monopo ly. Upon hearing the sounds of sirens, search dogs barking, and the voices of police, the three managed to stay hidden in the transformer for over thirty minutes without harm (Le Goaziou and Mucchielli 12). At 6:12 pm, something went wrong, and 20,000 volts coursed through each of their 71 See Kokoreff, Michel. Les meutiers de linjustice. Mouvements No. 44, Pg. 13 25, March April 2006.
57 bodies. Severely burned but still breathing, Mu hittin recounted his version of the events to reporters of Le Parisien after his release from a hospital on December 15. Killed instantly, the two companions lacked his luck (Mauger 28). The Eruption of D eep-Seated Tension The urban uprisings that followed came in three phases. During the first, riots started in Clichy-sous-Bois on October 27, just hours after word spread of the three youngsters harrowing journey. Participants se t aflame a post office, a tanker truck, and 23 cars that night. The followi ng day, Nicholas Sarkozy called the victims suspects in a burglary investigation, which denied the possibility of their i nnocence outright. On October 30, the Minister of th e Interior announced the state would take a zero-tolerance policy toward urban violence (Mauger 29-31). Both of these announcements served to provoke the youth more than prevent violence. A silent march of 500 on the night of the 29th temporarily pacified Clichy-sous-Bois, as residents turned out to show their support for the victims families (Le Goaziou and Mucchielli 13). Tension reached new heights on the 30th, when teargas canisters launched by the CRS72 landed in front and inside of the Clichy Mosque. The night afterward, October 31 November 1, symbolized the passage into a second phase, characterized by the riots spread to non-neighboring ZUS73 communities in the Paris region. From the northwestern corner where the riots started to southern extremities of Paris banlieue, youths burnt hundreds of cars nightly (more than 500 on the night of November 3-4 72 Compagnies Rpublicaines de Scurit, a national police force charged with protecting the civil order and addressing riot like activity. 73 Zones Urbaines Sensibles, (sensitive/dangerous urban zones) known for their poverty and high rates of crime.
58 alone), got into altercations with police brigades in groups (or gangs as some authors call them), and either partially or completely destroyed buildings. By the end of the first week of November, things began to calm down ag ain in the more than 25 cities affected (Le Goaziou and Mucchielli 13-14). November 4 inaugurated the th ird phase of the riots, when they spread to banlieue outside metropolitan Paris, such as Lyon, Renne s, Rouen, Lille, and Soissons. Two days later, that list grew to over 200 cits, with riots in Prove nce of the same magnitude as those in Paris. The worst effects occurred on the night between November 7 and 8, when rioters ruined 1,500 cars. In all, 274 commun ities reported violence of some sort on the same night, a new record for urban violence in France. As the number of communities affected approached 300 and the number of departments headed toward 40, things started to cool down in others. By the 21st day of rioting (November 17), the Interior Minister declared that the situation in the banlie ue returned to normal (Le Goaziou and Mucchielli 15-16). During a visit to the banlieue of Argenteu il a week earlier, Sarkozys appearance attracted opposition from the local youth. They launched insults and trash at him and his entourage as they walked past. In front of a camera and local residents, he declared he would remove all hoodlums/thugs from the city.74 He called certain youth scum75 and vowed to engage in a personal joust with the streets. Four months earlier, while in front of the police station in La Courneuve, Sarkozy promised to clean [or rid] the city 74 dbarrasserait [la ville] des voyous 75 racailles
59 of 4,000, in both the literal and figurative senses.76 The 8:00 pm news broadcast of TF177 pushed the rest of French society to misconstrue these words. The father of a victim of police brutality (a n 11 year old by the name of Sidi Ahmed Hammache, the reason why Sarkozy visited La Courneuve in the first place) linked Sarkozys words with another, Krcher.78 Aside from its use in firefighting, this high-pressure hose conjures up images of race riot control methods from the civi l rights era in the US. The effect of this word on the residents came in both expected and unexpected forms. While outraged, they also felt united in an anti -government sentiment (Mauger 33-35). Initial reactions to riots from political elites placed blame on cultural preferences of and religious practices asso ciated with some banlieue residents. On November 23, a consortium of 200 Parliament members of the UMP party (the same one as then President Jacques Chirac; and then Minister of the Inte rior and current President Nicolas Sarkozy) asked the Ministry of Justice to pursue act ion against rappers w ho incited hate and violence. At the National Assembly, the President of the UMP party as well as the Delegate Minister of Employment79 alleged that polygamy played a role in escalation of violence. Sarkozy echoed these borderline racist sentiments in an interview with LExpress on November 17 (Le Goaziou and Mucchielli 17). Politicians from both the right and left fa iled to address the role of discrimination and/or racism as a motive of the youths actio ns. Socialists buried the question long ago and refuse to accept its logic (and only brought it up after 2005, in the proceedings of the 76 nettoyer la cite des 4,000, au proper comme au figur 77 Incidentally, a partially state owned TV station 78 nettoyer au krcher 79 le ministre dlgu au Travail
60 Politique de la ville). Neo-l iberal conservatives tangentiall y admit to the persistence of these concepts, yet internally disagree about the steps to take for its rectification. In any case, they would never create a program to speci fically deal with the effects of such bias because it would go against the Republi can model. Their rhetoric cites misunderstandings and blockages as the cause for individual problems. They believe an explanation of the benefits of diversity to businesses does enough80 to cure structural discrimination (Tissot 2008). Without exception, no urban uprising in French history reached the magnitude or pervasiveness comparable to the events of fall 2005. Regardless, intellectuals and reporters tried to apply previous explan ations of the countrys urban violence phenomenon to its latest incarnations. Some wondered about the role television played in provoking the form and extensiveness of rio ting. This decades-old question gained prominence during the 1995 riots of Strasbour g, during which uprisings spread from one city to the next until cars burned in banlie ue all over the country. With the medias sensationalism of these events, burning cars gained notoriety as a form of passive expression in poorer neighborhoods. Elites also posited competition between certain cits and/or banlieues as another cause. If any competition occurred, the two authors agree it possible for neighboring projects, but not for cits on opposite sides of the country. Without proof of an ideological or organization st ructure on the local level (and it seems even less likely to identify one on a national scale), these accusations bare little weight (Le Goaziou and Mucchielli 18-19). 80 Il rsulte dincomprhensions et de blocages, et il suffirait pour y remdier daller expliquer aux entreprises les vertus de la diversit.
61 The function of the uprisings, the motiva tion of the rioters, and the underlying reasons why so many potential rioters exis t evade the public debate. At the time responsible for the security of the country, Sarkozy and his co-workers in the UMP embraced the delinquent gangs explanation fo r the uprisings spread and organization. Nothing new,81 this explanation originated in th e early 1990s. Sarkozy invoked this idea in front of the National Assembly to assert That 75 to 80 pe rcent of the rioters captured were well-known delinquents. He went on to say the riots most notably translated the desire of those who have ma de from delinquency their number one priority to resist the ambition of the Republic to reinstate order, [a nd] the rule of law, in the territory82 (Le Goaziou and Mucchielli 17). Behind the scenes, French political or ganizations chose not to dismiss the uprisings as petty or mindless delinquency th at lacked meaning. The same report by the RG released on November 23 and cited by Ma uger at the beginning of this chapter termed the riots a form of non-organized urban insurrection, a popular revolt of the projects, without a leader and without an e xplicit plan. Led by youth with a strong sense of identity not only in respect to their ethnic or geographic origin, but also born out of their excluded social condition fr om the rest of French society.83 The report 81 Mucchielli, Laurent. Violences et Inscurit. Fantasmes et ralits dans le dbat franais La Decouverte, Paris, 2nd ed. 2002, pg. 40 54. (Violence and Insecurity: Fantasies and Realities in the French Debate) 82 Exact quote from Quand les banlieue brlent : devant lassemble nationale que 75% 80% des meutiers interpells sont des dlinquants bien connus et que les meutes traduisent notamment la volont de ceux qui ont fait de la dlinquance leur activit principale de rsister lambition de la Rpublique de rinstaurer son ordre, celui de ses lois, dans le territoire (Le Goaziou and Mucchielli 17). 83 une forme dinsurrection urbaine non organise, une rvolte populaire des cits, sans leader et sans proposition de programme, anime par des jeunes habits dun fort sentiment identitaire ne reposant pas uniquement sur leur origine ethnique ou gographique, mais sur leur condition sociale dexclus de la socit franaise Ibid, 18.
62 continued with an explanation that the Fren ch government preoccupi ed itself with the forces of religious terrorism and the growt h in radical Islam, while neglect[ing the] complex problem of the banlieues. The RG dispelled the role of radical Islam in the uprisings, which Agence France Presse confirme d this just one day later by citing a report of the DST84 (Le Goaziou and Mucchielli 18). Political or Rhetorical Responses? Aside from the rhetorical responses, duri ng the last five years the government of France undertook actual motions to assuage the root causes of violence, such as exclusion. Politicians from the Ministry of the City and numerous other governmental agencies85 drafted aggressive, methodical plans to put a stop to the intricate cycle of blight and destitution in Frances banlieue (ONZUS 2008, 3). The new level of awareness includes a National Agency for Urban Renewal (Agence Nationale pour la Rnovation Urbaine, or ARNU), which intends to invest 11.8 billion Euros in ZUS between 2004 and 2013 (ANRU 2006). Critic s of the plan view it as the Urban 84 La Direction de la surveillance du territoire (DST) normally concerns itself with spies and efforts of foreign governments to overthrow or influence France, but its role expanded in the wake of what it calls terrorist threats and scientific and economic rivalry between countries. For more information, see the agencys page in English on the Ministry of the Interiors official website, http://www.interieur.gouv.fr/sections/a_l_interie ur/la_police_nationale/or ganisation/dst/dst/view 85 The 2008 edition of the report acknowledges the following organizations for their help in compiling the data: LAgence nationale pour lamlioration de lhabitat; LAgence nationale pour la cohsion sociale et lgalit des chances; LAgence nationale pour lemploi; LAgence nationale pour la rnovation urbaine; La Caisse nationale dallocations familiales; Ministre de la Dfense: Direction gnrale de la gendarmerie nationale; Ministre de lconomie, de lIndustrie et de lEmploi: LInstitut national de la statistique et des tudes conomiques; Ministre de lducation nationale: Direction de lvaluation, de la prospective et de la performance; Ministre du Travail, des Relations sociales, de la Famille et de la Solidarit: Direction de lanimation de la recherche, des tudes et des statistiques; Ministre de la Sant, de la Jeunesse, des Sports et de la Vie associative: Direction de la recherche, des tudes, de lvaluation et des statistiques; Ministre de lIntrieur, de lOutre mer et des Collectivits territoriales: Direction gnrale de la police nationale; Direction gnrale des collectivits locales (ONZUS 2008, 3).
63 Ministrys waste of billions of Euros on the banlieue without re sults and worry about the plans intent to increase policing of the banlieue. Yazid Sabeg explains in the preamble to the ANRUs Urban Renovation 2004-2008: What means for what results ( Rnovation urbaine 2004-2008: Quels moyens pour quels rsultats ) that the costs of the ANRU only represent 230 million Euros (in a ddition to a hundred million Euros of extrabudgetary resources) in 2008. The costs for 2007 numbered as high as 385 million, dwarfed by the Ministry of the Citys annual budget of 7 billion Euros (ANRU 20042008). For 2009, he estimates the costs will rise to 560 million86 in order to prevent the worst effects of the global recession on France. The elev ation of funding in the 2009 budget also results from the Hope [for th e] Banlieues (Espoir-Banlieues) plan announced by President Sarkozy on February 8, 2008. Prime Minister Fanois Fillon elaborated the programs deta ils during the summer of 2008 in a speech given at Meaux, a suburb of Paris in the Seine-et-M arne department. According to Agence France Presse the government promised to pump a total of nearly one billion Euros into 215 problematic neighborhoods, including the inve stment of at least 220 million Euros in public transportation infras tructure (Demangeat). The plans ideological guidelines aim to better residents access to urban services, such as those vital to empl oyment, schooling, shopping, health, and entertainment; at the neighborhood, municipal, and regional levels and improve the 86 As stated in the report, Certains reprochent contre raison la politique de la Ville de dverser des milliards deuros dans les banlieues, sans rsultat. Mais les crdits de paiement de lANRU ne reprsentent que 230 millions deuros en 2008, contre 385 millions deuros en 2007, sur un budget global Ville et Logement de prs de 7 milliards deuros. On peut dailleurs regretter quil soit envisag que ce budget global soit amput de 560 millions deuros au titre du projet de loi de finance 2009.
64 quality and quantity of resources necessary fo r daily life in ZUS and associated areas relative to other neighborhoods87 (ANRU 2004-2008, 67). In his analysis of governmentality, Foucault grappled with politi cal discourses objectification of space. This conceptualization of space seems eviden t in the ANRU. Through the eyes of urban planners, this sort of polic y dictates the spaces of intervention (or sickness) by differentiating them from the rest of th e sane, healthy, or otherwise problem-free Republic. The spaces of intervention become a measure of governmental practice and outcomes, while the spaces physical conditi ons may suffer as a result (Dike A 23). Around Paris, the new developments in clude a tramway that will extend to Clichy-sous-Bois (the infamous stag ing ground for the meutes of 2005) and Montfermeil in Seine-Saint-Denis. Anothe r tram-train will connect Massy-Evry in Essonne to the capital. The joining of the suburban RER-B and -D trains and a northern peripheral train calle d the tangentiell e round out the transportation reforms (Demangeat). Another 60 million will improve existing means of transport, with one third of that subtotal dedicated to bus service (ANRU 2004-2008, 66). Ministers still need to determine the exact costs, but Fill on clarified the government would reallocate 520 million Euros originally intended to fight the (ethnic, religious, or racial, for example) enclave phenomenon88 in the banlieue, a prime goal of the ANRU. This comes through a competing program, The Greeni ng of the Environment, which will help 87 la cohrence des objectifs du PRU avec les moyens mis en uvre en terme de transports pour amliorer laccs des habitants aux fonctions urbaines relatives lemploi, lcole, les commerces, la sant et les loisirs lchelle du quartier, de la ville et de lagglomration ; lquit de rpartition des lieux de ressources ncessaires la vie quotidienne [ ] sur la ZUS et ses territoires associs en quantit et qualit relativement aux autres quartiers. 88 Dsenclavement. To further these efforts, 260 million will go toward the dsenclavement of 152 priority neighborhoods outside the capital region of le de France.
65 finance the plan89 (Demangeat). While some solu tions prescribed by the ANRU seem practical and wise for the banlieues future, ot hers display the overt shift to a neoliberal interpretation of urban space. Instead of compounding reliance on the state, this school places value in individual enterprise, fo cusing more on economic efficiency and competitiveness, and less on say, full empl oyment and social welfare (Dike A 24-25). To solve the issue of unemployment, a nother objective of the plan would seek to create 45,000 jobs and fund 20,000 small bus iness owners or other entrepreneurs in three years. Fillon proclaimed unemploym ent without a doubt the most important problem for youth, a sign that Paris official s at least became awar e of some of the causes of sickness in the banlieue. Mentor ing programs also figured high in the plan, as well as 200 million Euros allocated fo r experimental school busing or voucher programs that would move kids from 50 im poverished (disfavored) neighborhoods to schools in other areas (ANRU 2004-2008, 66). This component seems to mask over the problem or avoid it, rather than offer a tena ble solution. Finally, th e plan will increase the number of police in a hundred nei ghborhoods by a total 4,000, or 40 per cit (Demangeat). Positioned toward the end of the laundry list of policies, this last one indicates the governments relu ctance to admit to the Neo liberal mutation of French politics. For neoliberalism to function, poli tical intervention and or chestration through institutions, discourse, decr ees, practices, and norms th at support the prudence and competitiveness of institutions and individua ls must occur (Brown 10). Without the 89 Le projet sera financ par redploiement de crdits, hormis quelque 520 millions d'euros prlevs sur le Grenelle de l'Environnement et affects au dsenclavement des quartiers.
66 assurance of additional police forces, how could the government expect a long-term reward on its investment in the banlieue? The UMP, Sarkozys own political party, saluted the coherence and scale of the plan because it includes ideas proposed by the left that never assembled in such a complex, sweeping package. Rivals in the Socialist Party even commended the announcement, such as the President for lede-France (the Paris Metropole) Jean-Paul Huchon, who declared Espoir-Banlieues a genuine attempt by the government to make up for the under-funded participation of the state in the past (Demangeat).90 The fact that increased policing came enveloped in a plan name d Hope [for the] Banlieue seem ironic. Some question the true motives of Sarkozys admini stration, especially given his past as Minister of the Interior during the 2005 uprisings. This position makes its holder in effect functions as the chief of police. Academics91 wrote as early as 2001 on the new and aggressive strategies of po licing and surveillance aimed at particular groups and particular spaces (mostly city cent ers), the criminalization of poverty, and the increased use of the penal system (Dike A 26). Others see the Sarkozy-Amara plan as a me re repetition of previous efforts also purported to address the ba nlieues true problems: With each plan for the banlieues, a robust re flex expresses itself, which consists of a critique of the deficiency of ambition and persistence, the lack of means and the abandonment of public services, the resigna tion of the state and the indifference of 90 Le prsident PS de la rgion le de France, Jean Paul Huchon, a "pris acte avec satisfaction" de l'annonce du plan, tout en affirmant que les sommes inscrites pour les transports correspondaient un rattrapage d'une participation sous value de l'Etat aux grands chantiers franciliens L'UMP a salu la cohrence et lenvergure d'un plan qui rompt avec la politique d'empilement de mesures incohrentes que la gauche a toujours prne. La montagne a accouch d'une souris, a ironis le PS pour lequel ce plan est un ensemble de mesurettes sans vision ni financement. 91 I.e. Wacquant and Peck
67 society as a whole. The banlieues are left to themselves, forgotten, relegated, abandoned, and at last one must put an ends of thes e [problems] in finally attacking the true problems. We see this yet again in the an nouncement of the Secretary of State Fadla Amaras Banlieue Plan by Nicholas Sarkozy in February 200892. Above all, the banlieues lacked the vital at tention they deserved during the last two decades. Amara and Sarkozy envision the fight against unemployed youth as a prime component of their new plan, via contracts termed autono mous between the youth and businesses, the availability of courses in el ite schools outside the banlieue for banlieue youth, and the construction of more prestigious schools within the banlieue. Politicians intend these programs to help those ready to do something for/with their selves. Under this neoliberal mindset, those who meri t [and] those who want to leave (masqueraded as those who seek, shall find)93 soak up the privileges. This means for the conventional politician, the only explanation for unemploymen t lies in strategies that blame or otherwise identify deficiencies with applicants (i.e. thei r lack of flexibility, appropriate qualifications, or initiative)94 (Tissot 2008). The current plan for the banlieues future wi ll not work as a cure-all. It features a theoretical spin new to French society: the in fluence of Neoliberalism. President Nicolas Sarkozys administration envisi ons the creation of a meritocr acy, the deregulation of the 92 chaque Plan pour les Banlieues, un rflexe sain sexprime, qui consiste critiquer le manque dambition puis le manque de suivi, labsence de moyens et labandon des services publics, la dmission de lEtat et lindiffrence de la socit dans son entier. Les banlieues seraient dlaisses, oublies, relgues, abandonnes et il faudrait y mettre fin en sattaquant, enfin, aux vrais problmes ! Cest ce que lon a constat, une fois de plus, aprs le dvoilement du plan Banlieue de la secrtaire dEtat Fadla Amara, par Nicolas Sarkozy en fvrier 2008. 93 les mritants, cest dire ceux qui veulent sen sortir (sous entendu : qui, sils le veulent, le peuvent) 94 Tissot elaborates that businesses feel gently invited to avoid the systematic refusal of banlieue youth, or their restriction to menial labor. Dans cette optique, le chmage est d un manque de flexibilit, de qualification, ou encore de bonne volont de la part des chmeurs (et dans une bien moindre mesure de la part des entreprises, invites gentiment ne pas refuser systmatiquement dembaucher un jeune de cit ou ne pas considrer quil ne peut tre embauch qu des postes subalternes).
68 market, and a heavy reinforcement of police presence in the banlieue. The final campaign received little opposition a nd the jurys still out on the effectiveness of the first, but the second did not fare as well in the eyes of the public. Termed the CPE, this plan to casualise youth labour [that the government] cynically dressed up as a measure to ease unemployment in the banlieues was met with nationwide protests. Schools and universities were blockaded and millions of people, including youth from the banlieues, took part in some of the biggest demonstrations ever held in France (Wolfreys). If the banlieue youth continue the trend of alignment with student and worker unions, Sarkozys neoliberal agenda will not continue to advance. During the protests against the CPE, students occupied a branch of the So rbonne and begged banlieue youth to join them. In response, Sarkozy dispatched the ri ot police to intercede. When asked why, he responded, What should we have done? Waite d for hundreds more to join them? We had to make sure there were no crossovers (W olfreys). Those critical of Neoliberalism, such as philosopher Michel Foucault, view this change in public policy as an effort to regulate a capitalist system run out of control. His concep t of governmentalty explains not only neoliberalisms direct intervention by means of empowered an d specialized state apparatuses, but also indirect techniques for leading and controlling individuals. The strategy of rendering individual subjects "responsible" (and also co llectives, such as families, associations, etc.) entails shifting the responsibility for social risks such as illness, unemployment, poverty, etc. and for life in society into the domain for which the individual is responsible and transforming it into a problem of "self-care " It aspires to construct responsible subjects whose moral quality is based on the fact that they rationally assess the costs and benefits of a certain act as opposed to other alternative acts. As the choice of options for action is, or so the neo-liberal notion of rati onality would have it, the expression of free will on the basis of a self-determined decisi on, the consequences of the action are borne by the subject alone, who is also solely responsible for them (Lemke). To avoid generalizations, not all violence in the banlieue wreaks such intense damage or governmental response. Ind eed, violence urbaines range from the instantaneous (and widespread) explosions of protest and discontent to minor disruptions
69 of generally tranquil conditions. Reporters and intellectuals both convey urban violence with the word meute. This blurs the di stinction between insignificant, everyday lawlessness and the more damaging effects of actual uprisings. The cycling of negative images on television and in newspapers produc es insecurity and fear of the banlieue, called the number one occupation of France during the 1990s Inst ead of insecurity, incivility rules in the banlieue, despite the c onflation of small disrupt ions of the ordinary social order with meutes. To develop a better conception of th e former, it includes vandalism (tags, graffiti, and other degradations ), violent games with aggressive attitudes, and hostile loitering (stares, mocking, insults, provocations). Thes e take place all over cits in streets, elevators, hallways, st ores, buses, and schools. Officials find the quantification of such acts di fficult because those involved fear the ramifications of confessing. 95 When they try, they often receive threats or intimidation from others involved (Le Goaziou and Rojzman 36-37). Everyday incivility takes on various forms, but it results in a common pattern of reactions. The residents who witness disresp ect for the rule of law adjust their living patterns to avoid first-hand enc ounters with incivility. Some choose not to go out at night or stay confined to a store or pub for long hours, while public servic es and administrative offices lock their doors during certain times of the day. When actual violence breaks out, bystanders know they cannot leave on vacation because of the burglary that would occur while away. To buy groceries or visit the bank, residents know to mind their own business and duck their heads in order to av oid attracting the wrong type of attention. 95 Along with those that would warrant more grave consequences.
70 For an unfortunate few, some neighborhoods called no-law zones96 lack police or institutional representation of any kind. If they appeared, these agencies fear the repercussions (Le Goaziou and Rojzman 37-38). When violence erupts, the state represse s it and responds with a plan for the redevelopment of the banlieue. Hidden behi nd each plan lies a more covert agenda to reinforce police presence and riot control meas ures in the banlieue. Soon after, residents complain about frequent stops by the police for minor infractions, which absorbs hours of their day in paperwork and bureaucracy. Thus the tension builds back up, which motivates another onslaught of anti-state unrest. This cycle self-perpetuates. Considering the escalation of destruction over time, the states attempts to intervene do not appear successful. The sickness of the banlieue takes apotent form in the violences urbaines. Yet, as made clear throughout this chapter, violence in the banlieue comprises a wide assortment of actors and actions. Not a ll simply or easily fall into one category of riot, revolt, or upr ising. Using riots runs the risk of belittling political and social aims of rioters. On the other hand, the term revolts romanticizes the rioters actions and ignores the historical cont ext of that word (especially in France, infamous for its 18th Century revolution). Since the word upris ing more closely represents violences urbaines, and because it entails some am biguity, it seems the natural compromise between the other extremes. While present day reforms may attempt to fill in the gaps of investment from the past, they do not explain the reason(s) be hind their implementation. Before the recent 96 Zones de non droit.
71 evolution, spells of engagement and disengage ment by political elites emitted a sense of alternating desperation and hopelessness. Wit hout recent changes, Frances elites would continue the pattern of resignation to th e deleterious cycles of the banlieue. 97 A lack of sense of place, ever increasingly harsh soci o-economic realities, and geographic distance only seem to magnify cultural differences. As far as daily violence, this represents only one form of resistance from the represse d populations of the banlieue. By focusing on this form, the media and academics reify negative images of the banlieue and stereotype its inhabitants. 97 Justified by the drama of fall 2005.
72 Chapter 3: French Identity and Ba nlieue Residents Alternatives The Journalist: Hello, its the news station, can we speak with you? Are you aware that a gun misplaced by a police officer has be en circulating around the project? Do you know who found it? And you yourselves, what would you do with it? Sad: Do we look like thugs to you? The Journalist: I didnt mean to say that... Hubert (sincerely): Why dont you get out of your car? Were not at Thoiry here. The Journalist: Because... because were running late, and we have a lot of work to do. Vinz: Do you have lots of work to do? Like what? Raise hell/fuck things up, looking for a messy story that can be made into a good scoop? For that, you come into my neighborhood and fart all over it like a sick fuck? Leave my quartier alone before we fuck you up, you band of bastards. Were not in Thoiry! (As Vinz takes a step forward, the truck flees the scene.) Sad: Whats wrong with all of them these days? (The youths begin to leave.) Vinz (to Hubert): Whats Thoiry? Hubert: Its a zoo that you visit in a car (McNeill 98). 98 Antagonism toward the banlieue (and its residents) became a staple of popular culture in 1995, after the release of La haine (the hatred) by Director Mathieu Kassovitz (McNeill). Kassovitz predicated the highly popular film around a sense of impending catastrophe. This catastrophe becomes metaphorically apparent in the opening sequence, in which a male voice repeats the line, Jusquici, tout va bien (until now, everything goes well), as a time bomb ticks away in the background. This gentle reminder of patience and political wills running thin hits a grave note just a few minutes into the movie, when a media outlet invades a banlieue neighborhood to film the youth in their natural habitat. While three teenagers sit idly on a playground in the middle of the day, a satellite equipped news truck pulls up next to them. Kassovitz and McNeill analogize the news medias treatment of the residents of the banlieue to how hunters approach wild animals on a safari. The banlieue becomes a place whose 'otherness' fascinates middle class professionals (McNeill). The scenes original script as it appears in McNeills article : La Journaliste: Bonjour, c'est la tl, on peut vous parler? Vous tes au courant de l'arme du policier qui circule dans la cit? Vous savez qui l'a trouve? Et vous mme qu'est ce que vous feriez avec? Sad: On ressemble des voyous pour vous? La Journaliste: Je ne voulais pas dire a ... Hubert: (sincre) Pourquoi vous ne descendez pas de la voiture? On est pas Thoiry ici. La Journaliste: Parce qu ... parce qu'on est en retard, on a beaucoup de boulot. Vinz se met insulter la journaliste. Vinz: Vous avez du boulot? Comme quoi? Foutre la merde, chercher un truc bien baveux pour faire un scoop? Pour qui tu te prends de venir chez moi et de la pter comme un encul? Dgage de mon quartier avant qu'on vous crame, bande de btards. On est pas Thoiry! Vinz fais un pas en avant, le chauffeur de la voiture ne s'attend pas.
73 As evident in the preceding chapters and the excerpt from the film La haine (the hatred) above, problems in the banlieue and the association of the banlieue with problems reinforce one another. Tradi tional discourse presents an in sular, monotonous view of the banlieue as remote, antithetical to the inne r city, and infested with outsiders, poverty, violence, and/or delinquents. Film and news reports (the latter, in particular) stigmatize the banlieue, placing the blame on these sp aces for causing the general feeling of insecurity that grips modern France (Dike A, 8).99 Describing the symptoms without adequately addressing them does not (and will not) alter the status quo in the banlieue. Unfortunately (for the residents), the polity seems frozen in a cycle of police oppression, the momentary yet extreme voicing of discontent during uprisings, and policestrengthening responses that lurk behi nd a mask of gentrification and improved transportation. Each turn around this cycle brings solutions that fail to address problems from a structural approach. Residents themselves struggl e to downplay the problematic construct in the media, such as preconceived notions of what the areas mean and how to interact with (in) them.100 To elucidate the residents methods, th is third chapter explores the impact of Sad: Qu'est ce qu'ils ont tous aujourd'hui! Ils s'loignent. Vinz: ( Hubert) C'est quoi Thoiry? Hubert: C'est un zoo qu'on traverse en voiture. 99 While the term banlieue once served simply to denote peripheral parts of urban areas [, it] has become a synonym of alterity, deviance, and disadvantage. The mass media have played a central role in this reconstruction, in the course of which they have disseminated and reinforced stereotypical ideas of people of immigrant origin as fundamentally menacing to the established social order (Hargreaves). 100 Reports (both academic and journalistic) that limit coverage of the banlieue to gloomy and gruesome stories ignore another component: the lives lead and opinions held by residents themselves. The already marginalized social classes non violent forms of expression receive a second layer of marginalization because they do not sell as many papers. Representations of this bias do not require much effort to find. For example, return to Graffs quote at the opening of this project. The sensationalism valued by
74 geographic isolation on the culture(s) of the ba nlieue. Residents reinvent the meaning of these spaces through the formati on of a collective identity. Contrary to conservatives desire for a single culture in France (and positioning of the ban lieue culture as antiwhite), there is indeed a banlieue culture, rap, and verlan, but it belongs to all the inhabitants of the housing es tate populated by as many wh ites as blacks and Beurs (Rosello 69).101 From time to time, the other culture offe nds or incites fear in politicians and/or intellectuals, who cite the importance of pres erving French identity above all others. Behind this outer layer of rej ection, this chapter posits two possible motives. Either the state actively supports the suppression of banlie ue culture because it inspires violence and lawlessness (termed a deficient culture), or it fears the resistance to the dominant social order that conjures Anti-French sentiment (also known as a revol utionary culture) (Silverstein 120). After a br ief introduction to Universa list Republicanism (and the challenges posing it), this chapter consider s two case studies: headscarves and French rap. Both embody the interaction of this rei nvented identity and th e governments efforts to contain it. Does the expression of an iden tity from origins other than France in fact promote a culture contrary to French-ness? Alternatively, does the repression of such expression through the single-culture argument give Paris license to filter the nations airwaves and moderate religious expression in public space? If tr eated with acceptance, contemporary news reports and film comes much easier when the banlieue residents do most of the reporters work themselves and portray their environments as fragmented, burning, or otherwise socially instable (Levasseur). 101 Verlan represents a form of backslang that reverses the syllables of words in French. For example, the verlan ized form of Arabe (French for Arab) is Beur (Durand xiv). Despite the inversion, words in verlan retain their original meaning. Many MCs deliver whole songs in Verlan, the ingenious, dizzying slang in which words are reversed or recombined, turning bourr (drunk) into rbou, bte (stupid) into teub, and so on (Verlan is itself an example of the form: Verlan= l'envers, the reverse.) (Rosen).
75 these articulations could improve the city cent ers understanding of th e banlieue from the perspective of those w ho grow up and live there.102 French-ness Delineated: A Single and Unitary Identity Until the last twenty years, the connected and educated elite of France deemed excluded classes irrelevant to discussions of public policy Republican Universalism, the unitary conception of French identity, incarnates the pride of elites in Frances cultural achievements and language. These make the regu lation of national iden tity a top priority to the government.103 Most politicians and intellectuals agree that that the form of state intervention in the banlie ue common between the late 1940s and mid 1970s no longer suffices. When the baby boom and Trentes Gl orieuses screeched to a halt, many in the government tired of heavy social expenditures. Generous welfare programs shifted to projects of intervention, government-run empl oyment contracts, and elevated minimum income programs (Budgen, Knapp and Wright, and Schmidt). As the concentration of immigrants in the banlieue augmented, pr ivatization and austerity became part of Frances desire to create a social bond, social cohe sion, and solidarity through Republicanism (Dike A 28-29). Far more into lerant of diversity in public life than American pluralism, France always placed its own culture on a pedestal (Silver 346). Even though some consider it perhaps the mo st avowedly secular of all states, more than half of Frances official holid ays come from Christian tradition, 102 Of whom many in France exempt from the rest of society, because of their genealogic roots on another continent or developmental roots in the sickness. 103 As the latest political and philosophical evolution of Nicolas Sarkozys administration, Neoliberalisms fascination with self governance perpetuates this idea. Informally, one could add religion to this list because of the centuries of domination exerted by the Catholicism. However, the state now prefers secularism to the endorsement of any particular religion.
76 including ones as unsecular sounding as the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. All this is to say that any simple categorization of states as simply secular or religious will probably miss what is most interesting in how citizens experience daily life and how the religious and political realms are intertwined (Migdal). One of the Sarkozys predecessors in the Mi nistry of the Interi or, Charles Pasqua, stressed that a multi-ethnic or multi-racial France could work, but never a multicultural one. This would violate the f undamental tenets of republicanism. The staunchly republican tradition is universalist and assimila tionist; it combines political membership (citizenship) with cultural memb ership (assimilation into French culture), and emphasizes the role of the central state in actively promoting citizenship (Dike A 28-30). Cultural influences from outside Fran ce threaten national id entity and cohesion, as well as complicate daily life. The French version of citizenship, citoyennet, denies ethnic, religious, racial, or othe r groupings in lieu of a unite d French identity. For this reason, the state resists making official reference to either the foreign origin (after the first generation) or the religi ous affiliation of its citizens (Laurence and Valisse 175). Some (often not very insi ghtful) analyses contend Islam and/or Arab heritage already present a contrary or other identity to the Frenc h. These writers believe the urban uprisings of 2005 epitomized the failure of Frances model of integration as another incarnation of the Crusades and/or Sa muel Huntingtons theory of the Clash of Civilization. For example, an article syndicated by the British Daily Mail called the riots a French intifada, an uprising by French Mu slims against the state a war being waged for separate development (P hillips, italics her own). Another reporter retorted, I covered the intifada in Israel and Palestine and, beyond the fact that thrown stones look much the same wherever they are, saw little that resembled the Gaza Strip in the autumn of 2000 in Clichy-sous-Bois in the autumn of 2005. In the course of her article, Phillips spoke of how night after night, France [had] been under attack by its Muslim minority, how the country was being torched from Normandy to the Mediterranean, how it had
77 sniffed the danger that had arisen in its midst, and quoted a little-known writer called Bat Ye'Or who is a favourite of the more unsavoury right-wing American websites and believes that the European Union is a conspiracy dedicated to creating one Muslimdominated political entity that will comprise most of the Middle East and Europe. Phillips also conflated Arabs (a race), and Mus lims (a global religion of 1.3 billion, some devout, some not) (Burke). While Muslims and Arabs certainly participated in the uprisings, interpreters should not essentialize a religion or ethnic ity of all rioters. The dive rsity of banlieue residents origins, cultural associations, and linguistic backgrounds attest to th e accuracy of Burkes critique (Samers 354, Saint-Blancat 145). A new problem emerged in French politi cal debates Since then les banlieues have become, in popular opinion, in the media and amongst Frances political lites, a demonized space of social fragmentation, raci al conflict, (sub)urban decay, criminality and violence. Some French sociologists have even termed a phrase stigmates territoriaux [territorially stigmatized areas] to describe the stigmatization of many of Frances banlieue (McNeill). A genetic or phrenological explanation fo r the banlieues demise relies on the academically bankrupt theory of racial essen ce. That does not stop the extreme right of the French political spectrum from the asser tion of these ideas. Jean-Marie Le Pen for example, the founder and longtime leader of the National Front, a staunchly antiimmigration party that blames an influx of foreigners for France's high crime rate and unemployment repeatedly used hateful words in attempts to stir up resentment against France's minority groups (ADL). Placed on a political spectrum, the National Front would represent the spot the farthest to the right, contaminated by Nazi ideology and eugenics (Amselle 6). The effects of this ideology pass on to resi dents and alter their daily lives. For example, banlieue youth fr equently testify that the police treat them differently than others not from their nei ghborhoods. Some police at tempt to charge the youth for an offense he or she unwittingly or unintentionally committed. This reinforces
78 dangerous perceptions of youth, in turn fosterin g feelings of distrust in both parties (Le Goaziou and Mucchielli 20-22). If valid, Le Pens anti-immigr ant rhetoric could explain the actions of a specific minorities or group of residents. However, wh ere would that leave collective action that unites various ethnicities and cultures agai nst the state, for instance embodied by the riots? A week after the events of fall 2005 began, then-Prime Mi nister Dominique de Villepin recognized the republic is at a moment of truth. What is being questioned is the effectiveness of our integration model (Isk andar and Rustom). Yet the uprisings only present one form of residents resistance to integration or assimilation. Two non-race related forms of expression, rap music and th e wearing of the hija b in public space, similarly bring together people from dive rse backgrounds to cont est the conventional structure of French identity. Parallel to colonial times, when France obsessed about strengthening relationships with the col onies and the active dissemination of French culture, current cultural policy views the banlieue in a light reminiscent of the armslength posture (Iskandar and Rustom). French Rap: Wrapping Words around Exclusion How do residents combat the pervasiven ess of hopelessness, and how does the state respond to these articulat ions? Dealing with these conc erns in reverse order permits the observer to judge for his or herself th e appropriateness of political or legal ramifications for rap. The best example of st ate intervention came in the wake of the infamous violences urbaines of 2005. In the National Assembly, 153 deputies and 49 senators signed a letter that urged Minister of Justice Pascal Clement to consider the
79 legal pursuit of seven rap groups for inciting a nti-white racism and hatred of France. That December, soon-to-be President Sarkozy blamed raps appeals to violence as a partial cause of the urban uprisings extensiveness (Darling-Wolf 14). 104 This approach followed the deficient culture model, which objectifies the rappers oeuvres as somehow unfit for consumption. A day after the indictment, Parliament member Francois Grosdidier alleged on France-Info radio that when people hear th is all day long and when these words swirl round in their heads, it is no surprise that th ey then see red as soon as they walk past policemen or simply people who are different from them. Monsieur R, one of the rappers blamed for the violence (already in cour t at the time to set tle another lawsuit for violations of social decency), explained to the TV station LCI that hip hop is a crude art, so we use crude words. It is not a call to violence. Others facing sanctions included the groups Ministere Amer, 113, and Lunatic; and the individual rappers Fabe, Smala, and Salif (BBC). As a musical genre in France, rap dates back to the early 1980 s, when American rappers began appearing in Parisian concert halls to sold-out crowds (Durand xiv). Censorship originated a decade later, when officials attempted to prosecute rappers who offended or breached moral standards105 (Darling-Wolf 14). To this day, listeners can find songs that both breach these standards and seem as offensive as any produced by 104 See M. Kessous Des parlementaires rclament des poursuites contre des rappeurs (Le Monde 2005) and Les poursuites contre le rappeur Monsieur M. juges irrecevables ( Le Monde Jun. 28, 2006) for more details of the politicians accusations. 105 Outrage aux bonnes moeurs.
80 rappers in the US. For example, Sale pute (Dirty Slut) by rapper OrelSan106 offended feminists to the point of rallying to ban hi m from a music festival. The songs lyrics include lines about a breaking hi s girlfreinds arm and legs, the desire for her to miscarry her child, and for her to experience a slow d eath. One minister cl aimed, freedom of expression stops when incitement to violence begins. Orel San replied in an interview with Agence France Presse with an apology to those his song offends, but qualified the lyrics were part of a created character. I m not a misogynist. Ive never hit a woman. The festival refused to ban his performance, but reported it would not allow him to rap to the melody of Sale pute (Newser). Whether an overreaction or justified, the politicians interest in editing the dominant culture of the banlieue provoked out rage from residents. It also proves the legislators misunderstanding of the deficient, and fear of the revolutionary, cultures developing outside the former city walls. Without a doubt, the messages of rap lyrics vary in socio-political engagement, and obvi ously not all rap in France revolves around the themes of violence, misogyny, and/or diso rder. Since the state stands by to censor any appearance of the deficient culture, how do residents articulate the creation and expansion of the revolutionary culture? Its not the street in and of itself, its not just the subsidized housing projects, its the perception that they have of us through them, its the perception that we have of ourselves through them. Circulate, small one circulate, because otherwise youll remain small even when youre bigger. Little one, you know, were totally locked into saying no, quarantined to negation to the point that our entire world has become a prison. Circulate, small one, circulate (Abd Al Malik, Circule petit, circule)107 106 Real name: Aurelien Contentin. 107 Ce n'est pas la rue en elle mme, ce n'est pas juste la cit HLM. C'est la perception qu'on a d'nous travers elle, c'est la perception qu'on a de nous mmes au travers d'elle. Circule Petit, circule parce que sinon tu resteras petit mme quand tu seras grand. Petit, tu sais, on s'est tellement affirm en disant nan, infirm dans la ngation qu'c'est notre monde tout entier qui est devenu prison. Circule Petit, circule...
81 Abd Al Maliks Circule peti t, circule distinguishes the material conditions of the banlieue from their perception (as well as the perception of thei r occupants), similar to the ways that the sociologists Avenel and Mauger differentiated the facts from intellectual construction around the facts. Maliks lyrics go beyond naming the social conditions of the banlieue (its not the street in and of itself) and/ or the states relative passivity (its not just the subsidized hous ing projects) as the cause of residents troubles. The song also places responsibil ity on the rest of French society (the perception they have of us through [the ba nlieue or HLMs]) and the residents (the perception we have of ourselves through [t he banlieue or HLMs]) for perpetuating negative images of the spaces. Repeated throughout the song, circulate, small one, circulate points out the persistence of th e legacy of few amenities gifted to the machines for living, from Le Corbusiers time to 2008. For youth to develop properly in the banlieues environment, Malik feels th ey need to leave their isolated communities (Malik). When one investigates his background, Malik represents an example of the personal growth and elevation that some ban lieue residents pursue (and receive) through hip-hop. Born in Paris in the late 1970s, hi s parents moved soon after to the Neuhof cit, in the banlieue outside Strasbou rg. He claims from an early age, I was a delinquent, not because I was mean. When youre a kid, you wa nt to be accepted by your peers. You dont want to be rejected.108 For this reason, he embraced the underground economy, dealt drugs, and stole from neighbors. Wh ile surrounded by the bad boys of Neuhof, 108 La dlinquance lui tend la main : jtais dlinquant, pas parce que jtais mchant. Quand on est gamin, on a envie dtre accept par le groupe. On na pas envie dtre rejet confie t il calmement.
82 Malik nurtured a passion for literature. In his own words, he lived a double life delinquent by night and good student by day.109 His parents divorced while he attended Catholic school, which he insists ru ined his belief in Christianity. Books brought home by his stepfather inspired him to convert to Islam, the clothing that corresponded to his being.110 After some friends overdosed, he decided to quit the street life and form a rap group called NAP (New African Poets). From there, the groups potent combination of refined lyrics, socially conscious messages, and classy melodies rocketed them to fame throughout th e Francophone musical scene (Tahari). A decade after the groups formation, Malik now writes songs solo, in slam poetry form. On his latest solo album, Dante the single Cest du lourd (Its heavy stuff) exemplifies how his past and the physi cal environment he grew up in shaped how he views the world. He identifies with the residents of the cit, but seeks to empower them with the choice between constructiv e and destructive activities (for their neighborhoods and lives) (Malik). Cultural anal ysts such as Faysal Riad do not view Maliks work in a univers ally positive light. She comment on his continuous readiness to condemn always sad, grave, and taking very seriously his role of ambassador for a generation of banlieue youth charged by the media to come represent them and sermonize them (Riad).111 She also takes issue with his dichotomization of people and activities into good/bad, immigrant/indigenous, and 109 Il mne alors une double vie : dlinquant le soir et bon lve la journe confesse t il en riant. 110 le vtement qui correspond son tre 111 Cest toujours avec un air de Vieux Sage inspir, en communication directe et permanente avec la transcendance mais toujours prt, comme un BHL, sindigner et condamner, cest toujours triste, grave et prenant trs au srieux son rle dambassadeur dune gnration de jeunes de banlieues, que nous apparat la nouvelle star du slam, charg par les mdias de venir les reprsenter et les sermonner.
83 early/late risers through the words heavy a nd not heavy. For instance, in writing about those that rise later in the day, did Malik consid er the lack of employment available to banlieue residents (Riad)? Regardless of the dissent over interpretati on of his lyrics, Malik continues French slams tradition of meaningful poetry set to music. Some consider MC Solaar Maliks artistic forbearer because of the similarities between their styles. Solaars seven minutelong, post-colonial opus, a me hante (it ha unts me) analogizes the uncertainty and desperation of residents to the emotions his enslaved ancestors experienced as they made their way across the Atlantic. The prison-like feel of the boat in wh ich he finds himself refers to the contemporary overrepresentation of minorities in French prisons (Solaar). While keeping figures on racial categories w ould defy the Republican ideal of the state, some estimate 50-60% of those in French pr isons worship Islam (Aidi). To interpret whom Solaar indicts as the guilty ones, those who incidentally blame him and other banlieue residents for Frances problems, the historical and socio-po litical contexts of French rap merit explanation. If American rap has been criticized for its materialism, nihilism and political nonchalance, French hip-hop offers trenchant critiques of racism, globalization and imperialism... Hip-hop has emerged as th e idiom for the urban activism of minority youth in Europe. For Muslim youth experiencing the crackdown on immigrants, as well as state withdrawal and welfare cuts, hip-hop offers a chance to express critiques, vent rage, declare solidarity with other marginali zed youth (particularl y African Americans), and display cultural pride (Aidi). The solidarity of French and American rap/hip-hop cultures comes from the shared appropriation of the space in which the music develops (banlieue and ghetto, respectively), similar attitudes to hip-hop s forms of expression (break dancing, rap, music), and a common interest in honor. Early American rappers inspired Hip Hop a
84 show entirely dedicated to break dancing, wh ich first surfaced on the French TV station TF1 in 1984. That same year, Dee Nasty record ed the first rap record ings in the French language. He sold his record, Paname City Rapping in the streets because no major record label would take a chance to promote the original piece of this genre. Other early rappers paid close attention to trends in the American equi valent until French rappers invented their own traditions and styles (Dur and 4). A fascinating difference between the two countries rap canons comes in the ethni c diversity of French rap (compared to American), A quick look at the early rap groups and rap artists in France makes it impossible to indicate a clear-cut ethnic inte grity among these artists. In the United States, the great majority of rappers are African American (t here have been few exceptions such as the Beastie Boys and Eminem) while in France they are of varied ethnic origins, from North Africa to Black Africa, and from the Caribb ean to the French banlieue (Durand 5). Todays rappers continue the spirit of diversity, although Arab and Muslim artists from the banlieues certainly dominate the scene. Without official recognition of minority communities or their concerns, rap becomes a forum for the disempowered, overburdened youth with few hopes and a grow ing identity crisis voices of anguished youth in a community under siege. The songs recount stories oppression and resistance against traditional French society. From th e desire for better recognition, the rappers often continue a traditio n of two, bifurcated socio-political identities one that yearns for a return to the terre merre (motherla nd or country) and excommunication from Republicanism; and another that acknowledges in tegration, despite the fact that the model selectively permits the entrance of some, while leaving other at its outskirts Failed by the integration model, the dismissal of their minority status has not made their identities
85 disappear. Instead, it has rendered them immisc ible in a French society that frowns upon diversity (Iskandar and Rustom). In the fourth single from Dima Kif n Dir, the Francophone (French speaking) Canadian R&B star Zaho explains the pains sh e endured to leave her terre mere, Algeria, and relocate to Canada (and later, France) Ephemeral and ambiguous in nature, the songs lyrics do not leave room for simple or clear interpre tation. Whether referring to her homeland or her new country, Zaho calls th e ideas of those around her as worn out, ones to which she never had the desire to be submitted. Skyrock.fm, the most prominent (commercial) radio station dedi cated to rap in France, hosted a cross interview with Za ho and rapper Sefyu.112 The two natives of Africa (Algerian and Senegalese, respectively) answer ed a series of questions on th eir origin and its impact on their personal and artistic experiences. They agreed the subject resu rfaces often in songs. Zaho explains that when she first met Sefyu for the recording of the Sounds of the 93th District album, he was dressed head to to e in traditional Senegalese garb (3:20). To her, Africa symbolizes the homeland.113 Sefyu elaborates that the continent represents their origins, where some members of [their] family members still live, [their] cousins, some of [their] sist ers and brothers, [the ir] parents [As opposed to acceptance in Africa] when in France, [they]re often set aside, seen as minority singers. He reiterates that Africa signifi cantly inspires the melodies a nd lyrics of his songs (3:504:30). Zaho interjects she f eels most at home on that contin ent, a place without anything 112 Interview croise, in which two artists ask each other questions. Sefyu uses a verlanized form of his birth name, Youssef Soukouna, for his recordings. 113 Using the same words M.C. Solaar did in a me hante, Afrique la terre mere.
86 artificial that inspires many of her lyrics To sum up her sentiment, she terms the continent la source (4:40-4:52, Skyrock.fm, 2/11/09). After asking about the t itle of Zahos first album, Dima Sefyu explains that African identity defines Zahos background, inspir ing her to join the music business at a young age114 (5:15). The following questions t ouched upon the themes of immigration and integration into French society, reinfo rcing the dichotomy me ntioned by Iskandar and Rustom. These questions provoked a quick re sponse from Zaho, who explained instead of the ability to appropriate second-gene ration immigrant status like Sefyu, she immigrated herself (first-generation) to France. The proximity of her roots (both chronologically and geographically) to her current life makes her feel the need to represent a positive image of immigrants and th eir integration into French society, despite what she calls the mostly pessimistic images of immigrants in French media. She concludes by relating immigration to existing differently in a c ountry intolerant of difference. Regardless, the intolerance will not stop her from talking about her individual experiences and how the immigrant identity defines her musical career (5:45-6:35, Skyrock.fm, 2/11/09). Even up and coming artists of mainstream R&B/rap feature their origins, whether French or foreign, prominently in their lyrics Recently signed to an independent record label, Elysha plans to release Fille de la ba nlieue (Girl from the banlieue) as the first single to her forthcoming album, Esprit Rebelle (Rebel Spirit). The chanteuse comes from the Floreal cit of Auberville, in the banlieue north of Paris. The songs lyrics 114 She juxtaposes the Arabic title of the album Dima, with the French verb dmarrer, which means, to begin.
87 reference the hopeful air featured by Presid ent Obamas campaign for the White House, along with inspiration drawn from Martin Luther King, Diderot, and various French rappers and R&B artists. In interviews poste d to her official webs ite, she explains the war [she] pursue[s] symbolizes the battle waged by artists similar to her, from the urban music scene, for recognition in Fran ce. While the song cr iticizes the physical conditions of the banlieue, it does so in a mi nimalist fashion. Instead of focusing on the existent paradigm, Fille de la banlieue features an uplifting melody that seems to embrace the marginalized status of her nei ghborhood. In other words, she will not stand by passively, ashamed to admit her origins, despite how others in France may interpret those roots (Elysha). Elysha and most Fren ch rappers only present the secular modality of the banlieue residents battle. For t hose more adamant about religion, an entirely different set of values define the revolutionary culture. Laffair du Foulard: Headscarves versus Secularity Perceived by some as an immigrant encl ave, overt personal identification with Islam compounds some banlieue residents exceptionality to the French tradition. The government followed action similar to its cens orship of rap to pr otect the concept of lacit (secularism) in the banlieue. If th e residents do not integr ate by accepting French culture in a wholehearted manner and conform to French cultural standards, conservatives in the country invok e images of the end of that culture and local traditions. The headscarf scandal (laffair du foulard) in particular caus ed one of, if not the, most divisive and politically charge d debates of the last two decad es in France. The right to freedom of religious expression in France becam e a contentious debate over the last two
88 decades, as the state faced growing immigration. While at first glance the right of young, female Muslims to wear traditional dress may appear minor, thousands of articles and books written on the subject testify for its appl icability in a significan tly larger point of contention: (the observance of ) Islam (in public) versus secu larity. Scholars from both sides of the political spectrum wonder how a liberal democracy such as France can purport liberty, fraternity, and equality and pa ss legislation to discriminate against a certain sect of the population (alb eit covertly). Others (surpr isingly often from the Left) consider the foulard a moot point, one that limits the ri ghts of Muslim women and defies the centuries old tradition of French lacit (secularism). While bot h sides certainly bring valid arguments to the table, ha s the state properly ju stified its ban of headscarves? More importantly, does it comprehend the effect s of the ban on its citizens lives? The decade and a half-long series of deliberations on religious expression in schools drew inspiration from other actions by Muslims in France. The Marche des Beurs (Arab March/Protest) of 1983 signa led a landmark event for Islam in France (Tissot 2007). Fifteen youth from the ba nlieue outside Lyon formed the group, which weeks later brought 100,000 protes tors to the streets of Pa ris. President Franois Mitterand met with the leaders of the movement to hear their concerns. The meeting and protest boosted debate over North Africans civil rights (and Muslims right to selfexpression, an issue entwined with the Marc he des Beurs cause) to the forefront of public policy debate in Fran ce (Laurence and Valisse 90, 93). This motivated Prime Minister Franois Mitterrand to create the Mini stre de la Ville (trans lated as Ministry of the City or Ministry of Urban Affairs) du ring the second half of the 1980s (Pineau). Mitterrand delegated to the Ministry the respon sibility to stop and reverse the spiral of
89 depreciation in certain urban territor ies [and] reduce social inequalities.115 Differences in economic development receive priority because the Ministry considers the effects as the causes of degradation in disadvantaged neighborhoods (PLF: Ville 2007, 10). The first real conflict specifically pertaining to the hijab happened in the Parisian banlieue of Creil in 1989. A blitz of media controversy surrounded the expulsion of three Muslim girls of North African origin; Fatim a, Leila, and Samira, aged thirteen to fourteen. On Septermeber 18th, the day of the girls return from summer vacation, the three wore hijabs to class. They refused to take them off despite the demands of their teachers. This gave school administrators the right to deny the girls admission to classes under the French Constitutions s ecularity clause. By the four th of October, the socialistleaning newspaper Libration wrote at length about the scan dal, making it the focus of national attention. On October 10th, a Tunisian cultural group helped mediate the girls and the schools viewpoints. They reached an agreement that the girls could not wear scarves in classrooms, but could do so in the sc hools hallways. Ten days later, two girls in Marseilles and Avignon attempted the same re sistance as the girls from Creil. Upon wearing their hijabs to class once again in violation of the compromise, the school in Creil expelled Fatima, Leila, and Samira (Silverstein 25). Amid a flurry of news reports, interviews, debates, and proclamations from all sides of the political, religious, academic, and asso ciation spectrum, the National Assembly convened a nationally televised meeting on [the] 25[th of] October to determine how to address these issues Over th e course of these debates, the socialist [M]inister of [E]ducation, Lionel Jospin, in the face of seve re criticism and taunts of "Retire!" from the 115 To accomplish this lofty goal, the Ministry encompasses 26 programs in total, which it breaks into ten categories: urban housing, employment, security and justice, integration, education and youth programs, economic development and regulation, health, culture, recreation, and community solidarity
90 conservative Gaullist contingent, affirmed his simultaneous commitment to a secular school system and to absolute equity in education. Following a 1937 law prohibiting proclamations that might jeopardize the religious neutrality of educational institutions, he demanded that children not come to school with any sign affirming a religious distinction or difference, but stated that this in itself could not constitute grounds for expulsion (Silverstein 25).116 The educators of Creil approached the gi rls efforts to express their religious identity as antithetical to the role schools hi storically played in France as the production site of new citizens, isolated from the anti-republican and antidemocratic Catholic Church. In the 1880s, one referred to teachers as the hussards noires de la Republique (the soldiers or missionaries of the Repub lic). By government decree, they taught a version of French uniform from Bordeaux to Strasbourg, and from Calais to Marseilles, in defiance of regional dialects. In the sa me manner, the secular tradition of the schools developed. While the linguistic monotony of m odern France proves the effectiveness of the former campaign (because almost no one st ill knows how to speak a regional dialect), the latter concept intend[s] to defend pluralism, not threat en it (Laurence and Vaisse 163-164). In 1992, the State Council (Cons eil dEtat) ruled that a religious symbol by which students intend to display their adhere nce to religion is not in and of itself incompatible with the principle of secularism , provided that the act does not constitute pressure, provocation, proselytism, or propaga nda. At the same time Franois Bayrou, 116 Continuing the quote, He then requested a special Council of State (Conseil d'tat) high court to examine the question constitutionally. On [the] 27[th of] November, 1989, the council concluded that wearing a Muslim headscarf was not in principle incompatible with a secular educational system and that expulsion would only be justified if there existed a "risk of a threat to the establishment's order or to the normal functioning of teaching" or, in other words, if the headscarf, by its ostentatious or demanding nature (caractre ostentatoire ou revendicatif), constitutes an act of pressure, of provocation, of proselytism or of propaganda challenging the dignity or liberty of the student or other members of the educational community, compromising their health or security, or perturbing the progress of the teaching and the educative role of the teachers (Silverstein 26).
91 the Minister of Education, wrote in an offi cial statement that the law distinguished between ostentatious signs that are in themselves elements of proselytism and more discreet signs that ca nnot raise the same objections. The Islamic headscarf of course fell into the former category, while Christian crosses and Jewish yarmulkes passed as kosher in the second group. Amselle posits this revision of the official legislation continued a legacy of state-led nativist pol icy that seeks out and promotes moderate, tolerant, discreet Islam (Amselle 11 8-119). In an unpublished article from 1989, Sociologist Pierre Bourdieu, hi ghly influential in immigrant policy during the latter half of the 20th Century, saw the acceptance of headscarve s at school as cover-up for a larger, structural debate that confront ed France at the time (and that persists to this day): the latent question of whether or not to accep t immigrants of Nort h African origin in France?117 He concluded with a call to action fo r all the states and intellectuals of Europe to work together to conceive a nd put in place a vast, common program for the economic, political, and cultu ral integration of immigr ants (Bourdieu 2003). Two girls insistence on w earing their hijab, or headscarf, in the classroom reignited the debate in 2003. Lila and Alma Lvy, daughters of an Agnostic Algerian father and Jewish mother, desired to affirm their individuality and to put themselves in the media spotlight by taking an uncompromising position on their right to express their faith (Laurence and Vaisse, 165-166). Thos e against the formerly permissive state policies envision the scarves as a sym bol of womens domination and forced subservience. On the contrary, the proponent s of religious expression view the laws 117 La question patente faut il ou non accepter lcole le port du voile dit islamique ? occulte la question latente faut il ou non accepter en France les immigrs dorigine nord africaine ?
92 intended to constrict their rights as a Parisi an-led discrimination pl oy in a Universalist disguise. Muslims who choose not to veil themselves feel th e choice is one of a deeply personal magnitude. The religious group senses a hint of colonial ist Islamophobia in the legislation because it, in eff ect, restricts the rights of only one minority group to express itself. As for the hijabs themselves, they carry as much emotional baggage and as mixed meanings as the debate encircling them. First comes the question of oppression or expression. For some women, the strips of cl oth represent a fashionable item at the same time as a religious icon. Many analysts cons ider the anti-hijab policy counterproductive to both the wearers and those ar ound them. Some claim the pa rents of girls to which the legislation applies will transf er their children out of stat e-run schools and into singlereligion institutions. This will decrease the interaction time between minority and majority students, and similarly the connections between these communities. Some believe the girls will then lose opportunities outside their communities, further closed off from the rest of the already exclusive Fr ench society. In December 2003, President Chirac appointed 19 experts to the Stasi Commis sion to decide the issue. By March of the following year, the state banned all form s of religious expression in public schools (Popkin 330). Activists from the Muslim community w ho sought greater protection of their rights (and those of their childre n) revitalized interest in th e policy in 2005. This came on the heels of the fortieth anniversary of the decolonization of Algeria, a time considered painful in French memory. To refocus on the question of the foulard,
93 Laurence and Vaisse claim the political elites who served during the era of decolonization needed to retire. By 2005, a coalition of immigrant and immigrant-origin academics and professionals formed Les Indi gnes de la Republique (the Republics Natives) to question the persistence of the post-colonial mentality in France. They object both to the long-term pains their communities suffer (discrimination and socioeconomic and cultural exclusion), and the intermittent failures of judgment on the part of politicians. One of the most striking exampl es of this sort came in the form of an amendment that the National Assembly passed on February 23, 2005. It aimed to alter the school curriculum throughout th e country to recognize in pa rticular the positive role of the French presence overseas, notabl y in North Africa. Although they did not succeed in reforming the law that bans the ve il, fortunately Les Indignes prevented this revisionist version of history. In his New Years address for 2006 (a few weeks after the widespread riots/revolts of fall 2005), President Jacques Chirac announced lawmakers would reconsider the wording of the am endment (Laurence and Vaisse 53). As the opening of the constitution of the Fi fth Republic states, France is a secular state. Regulations dating back to the 18th Century outlawed the expression of religious or ethnic identity in schools, in the hopes that the state could create a singular and unified French identity out of its many parts. The hi storical precedence of this concept likely dates back to The Ferry Laws and Napoleons efforts to unite France as a single empire by restricting the use of regiona l dialects and forming the first semblance of a centralized education system. Looking back even furthe r though, the French have always struggled to form a single identity. The various tribes of Frankish, Gaul, Roman, and Celtic people first gained unity albeit very loosely under Hugh Capets dynasty. One can still find
94 the remnants of this diversity today in the marketplace, with hundreds of regional varieties of cheese, wine, and bread available. Thus, does a single Fren ch identity exist? One may posit that no single iden tity exists, but rather the i llusion of one. The point of constraint against the foular d, rather than to create th e image of one single French identity, was to limit one minoritys grow ingly visible influe nce on France through a revolutionary inte rpretation of French culture. Since the residents place trust in these officials to represent their interests, integra ting the banlieues cultu ral discourse not only seems prudent, but necessary, to promoti ng the rule of law in the banlieue.
95 Conclusion: Hope for the Hopeless? Through the combination of socio-politic al, historical, and cultural narratives, several competing claims of the banlieues si gnification arise. Al ready contentious to define as a physical space, the scholarly debate displays an eq ually perplexing confound of understandings. One thing seems certain: how the banlieue started hardly reflects the purpose it would eventually serve. The bu ild-up of HLMs throughout the banlieue, using Le Corbusiers rationality, intended to cure the preexisting problem s of sanitation and poverty in France. While the banlieues deve lopment helped raise living standards, it also inaugurated a sickness for which reside nts still seek a cure. The symptoms exist all around them, ingrained in the floors and ceilings of their ap artments, coating the hallways of their buildings, and dampening bus iness in the few shops and restaurants of the cits. The way the rest of French society tr eats the residents both comes from and reinforces the sickness. The anger and e nvironmental stress feed off one another, spurring explosions of violence when a yout h from the banlieue dies or receives substantial injuries due to police missteps. Each time such an outrage occurs, the state takes a hard-line approach to fixing the problems of the banlieue. Historically, Frances political elite hoped to keep or der through greater po lice mobilization and superficial improvements to the banlieues a ppearance. Recent changes in the states approach could spell success, but a concurrent turn toward neoliberalism may eliminate any potential benefit. Unconditionally, Sar kozys unique political id eologies will bring distinct consequences for residents and future politicians to reconcile Since the Banlieue
96 Plan came into action over the last year or two, it seems too early to judge Sarkozys progress. At the very least, his solution recognizes the multi-f aceted nature of the problem(s) in the banlieue. From the general detachment and intermittent efforts to intervene (when politically convenient or n ecessary), those living in th e banlieue form their own understanding of the space. Residents realize they have a choice between participating in urban uprisings and expressing their cultural identity through other means, such as rap and religion. Based on the shared of experien ce of rejection and marg inalization from the rest of French society, they create a colle ctive identity around revolution. This identity often plays off cultural heritage and resistance to integration, two ideologies the state deems subversive and deficient. The governme nt either represses or derides residents efforts when they promote a culture that, in essence, appears nonFrench. Whether the administration genuinely views rap as degenera tive or revolutionary depends on officials personal preferences. However, in the case of hijabs, officials can sweep any religious expression under the rug of la cit without the obligation to answer questions such as why. In the end, the disparate inte rpretations of the banlieue echo the diversity of both the banlieues thinkers and inhabi tants. Collectively, the revolu tionary or deficient cultures contradict the conventional de finition of French-ness. Academics and the medias interpretations of riots/revo lts/urban violence/uprisings present a conundrum as intense and diverse as the original problem(s) of the banlieue. The spaces history and development seems the only concrete story in th e banlieues past. Yet, one cannot derive
97 the meaning of the word banlieue from Fren ch and simplify this meaning to a single English word as easily as some believe (and try). Spatial isolation of the poor in the banlieue led to socio-economic isolation; whic h led to riots, rap, a nd the overt worship of Islam; which led to faulty policy responses from the state. When residents try to invent their own readings of this cultu ral and spatial distance, the stat e silences them and/or bans their right to self-expressi on. No matter how marginalized or repressed, what does France have to fear from those it relegates to the banlieue?
98 Appendix Although the 2005 uprisings occurred in rela tively close proximity to the capital and other major cities, politicians in France attempted to distance the debate from the perception of a classic workers struggle (S arkozy). The delinquent stereotype of banlieue residents played a part in the gove rnments relative inaction, at least up to a certain point. Without a doubt, some aspects of the urban uprisings resembled those of May 1968, such as the burning of cars, standoffs w ith police, and the loss of rule of law. Because France already traveled that road and came out triumphant, some felt little concern for the safety or endurance of la Rpublique. The media and intellectuals deemed other components excessive and extr eme, including the burning of state-owned schools, gymnasiums, and community centers. Without the accompaniment of a cohesive political or social message, the rioters act ions alarmed many, both in France and abroad (Mauger 13-15).118 However, public displays of disc ontent in the banlieue did not begin in 2005. Every summer since the inauguration of violence in the late 1970s, the banlieue experienced some form of urban violence. In this chart produced by the French branch of Reuters, the beginning of the 1970s receives the label, the emergence of the urban problem (Pineau). Figure 2: Forty Years of Urban Politics (Pineau)119 118 For example, the writers of the newspapers Marianne and Libration and various television news stations featured apocalyptic images of the violence. The Social Sciences Research Council dedicated an entire website to understanding the riots, and international media outlets (such as the Associated Press, Reuters, and the BBC) joined the bandwagon. 119 Pineaus chart omits the riots of 1990, widely considered the third largest uprising after those of 2005 and 1979 in terms of destruction and political implications. The businessman turned Minister of Urban Affairs, Bernard Tapie, created a plan to respond to those riots in 1992. He built up the Adidas sporting goods empire and led Marseilles Olympique soccer team to victory in the Champions League of 1993. His
99 Passive or indirect means to express fr ustration (i.e. restle ssness and lack of respect for ones surroundings) dominated before the 1980s and between intermittent flare-ups of hostilities. Policie s (both original and new) that intend to stymie these forms of expression fail continuously. Instead, they give birth to the more violent manifestations of dissatisfaction and allow th em to persist. For example, violences urbaines the governments category for urban violence under which riots and revolts fall (the latter of which, as Mustafa Dike insists, constitutes a more appropriate label 120), fortune ran out in 1997, when a court charged him with fixing the match and sentenced him to six months in jail (AFP, April 27). Little research about Tapies plan exists, perhaps a reflection of the plans negligible impact. 120 The 2005 revolts, although in many ways similar to previous revolts, were distinctive in their magnitude and geographical extent. There is, in other words, a distinctive geographical dimension to
100 of the earlyto mid-2000s personify a cycle of escalating desperation. The incarnations of apprehension provoke the states attempts to suppress these voices which legislators then exploit for political gain.121 revolts. This does not mean, however, that banlieues are the natural sites of recurrent revolts. Such an image, fed by journalistic accounts and political discourses, has long been dominant in France so much so that the daily paper Libration listed the banlieue (in the singular) as one of the major phobias of the French in the new millennium. It seems to me that there are three important lessons to be learned from a focus on the geographical dimension of revolts. First, that this is a constantly expanding geography that mainly consists of the social housing neighbourhoods of banlieues. Second, that this geography overlaps with other geographies; namely, geographies of inequalities, discrimination and repression. What we have, in other words, are overlapping geographies of inequalities, discrimination, repression, and revolts, which points to embedded problems. Finally, the geographical expansion of revolts suggests that although they were spontaneous, there was, nevertheless, a logic of resistance behind them. In other words, the revolts of 2005, like the others before that, were far from pointless burning and looting this is why I prefer to use the term revolt instead of riot because it more strongly suggests an expression of dissent arising from present conditions (Dike 2007b, 3). I look at the political implications of the consolidation of this spatial order. I do so by looking at the French states responses to recurrent revolts in the banlieues and relating them to the changing articulations of banlieues in increasingly negative terms. This shows that the political significance of revolts fades away as the banlieues are articulated more as a form of menacing exteriority and as a more repressive police force is consolidated. I try to show that this articulation highlights less the difficult material conditions in banlieues than the threat posed by these areas, shifting focus from growing inequalities and discriminations to menaces to the values of the republic, French identity, and the authority of the state (Dike 2007a 21 22, emphasis Dikes own). 121 Bordeau, Dike, and Wacquant (especially) write at length about the Paris led transition toward a penal or police state, with the most adverse effects felt by immigrants and their descendants. Over the past three decades, nearly all the countries of the European Union have experienced significant and steady increases, and in several cases explosive growth, in their prison population, coinciding with the onset of mass unemployment, the casualization of wage work, and the official curtailment of labor migration. Between 1983 and 2001, these increases reached one third to one half in several of the larger countries, with the number of inmates (including those in remand detention) rising from 39,100 to 54,000 in France Above all, throughout Europe foreigners, migrants and so called second generation immigrants of non Western extraction, and persons of color, who figure among the most vulnerable categories both on the labor market and vis vis the social welfare sector of the state, owing to their lower class distribution, paucity of credentials, and the multiple forms of discrimination they endure, are massively over represented within the confined population, and this to a degree comparable, nay inmost places superior, to the racial disproportionality afflicting blacks in the United States. Taken from Table 1, Foreigners in the carceral population of the European Union in 1997 Country: France, Foreign inmates: 14,200, Proportion of prison population: 26%, Proportion of foreigners in total population: 5.6%, Ratio: 4.6
101 The plans, policies, and plans for policies do not develop in a vacuum.122 The banlieues transformation from marginalized space to a place to store the marginalized occurred through the 1960s and 1970s, when at tention turned to the revitalization of impoverished inner-city quartiers Tangible signs of urbaniza tion in the banlieue started in the late 1950s, but many of the processe s involved date from a decade earlier (Le Goaziou and Rojzman 12). The wait until the mid-2000s to address the issues of the banlieue signifies the self-interest of Fren ch politicians, who only chose to intervene when threats to their own security, or the secu rity of the French stat e, appear. Prior to that era, numerous academic studies discussed is sues related to the banlieue. Sociologists in particular placed the banlieue at heart, wh ile political science made it the target of investigation in the last tw o decades (Tissot 2008). One finds abundant scholarship predating the urban uprisings and their result ant policy responses, not only from the sociological (Rey 1996, Tevanian. Tissot 2003) and historical perspectives (Donzelot, Legoaziou and Rojzman, Wieviorka), but also in the form of ethnographies (Hassoun, Lepoutre, Raulin), urban studies (Caldeir a, Fishman, and Sandercock), and cultural analyses (Balibar, Dube t, and Fourcaut). As early as 1999, the INSEE/DIV (a gove rnment agency) profiled the vital statistics123 of the residents of Floral-Saussee, a Zone of Urban Redynamization (i.e. gentrification, for Zone de redynamisation urba ine or ZRU); Francs Moisins-Bel Air, a 122 After writing this sentence with no outside influence, this author encountered the following, eerily similar doppelganger on page 24 of Dikes Badlands : The states statements are not produced in a vacuum. 123 Entitled Donnes de cadrage sur les quartiers de Floral Saussee, des Francs Moisins Bel Air et la commune de Saint Denis in Kokoreffs article.
102 ZUS; and the host suburb for both of these cits (known as a commune in French) of Saint-Denis. Figure 3 : Annexe : Donnes de cadrage sur les quartiers de Floral-Saussee, des Francs Moisins-Bel Air et la commune de Saint-Denis (France) FloralSaussee (ZRU) Les Francs Moisins-Bel Air (ZUS Commune de Saint-Denis Population 6,390 8,603 85,994 % de moins de 20 ans (% less than 20 years old) 31.5 32.2 28.1 % de mnages de 6 personnes ou plus (% of homes with 6 occupants or more) 7.4 8 4.9 % de familles monoparentales (% of single parent households) 21.9 18.2 17.4 % douvriers dans la pop. Active (% of able bodied people employed) 40 39.8 31.7 Taux de chmage des 15-24 ans (Unemployment rate for 15-24 year olds) 36.1 31 30.5 % de couples avec enfants dont lhomme et la femme sont sans emploi (% of couples with children, in which both parents are unemployed) 10.5 16.5 13.2 % de logements locatifs HLM (% of households with governmentally subsidized rent) 88.3 62.4 46.3 % de mnages dont la PR est trangre (% of homes with a foreign head of household) 27.2 36.1 24. % de 15-24 ans en cours dtude (% of 15-24 year olds enrolled in school) 62.5 59.5 62.8 % de 15-24 ans non diplms (hors lves et tudiants) (% of 15-24 year olds without a diploma drop outs and still 31.5 37.3 30.8
103 studying) Source : INSEE/DIV, Fiche Profil quartiers de la politique de la ville, 1999 (Kokoreff et al.). Although Saint-Denis population hardly represents that of an elevated social class, these figures exemplify the distinctly dire situation of residents in some cits vis--vis others. For example, the unemployment rate jumps by six points from Seine-Saint Denis to Floral-Sausse. In the same comparison, the percent of households reliant on subsidized rent nearly doubles, from 46.3% to 88.3%. H ouseholds with more than six people make up 8% of the ZUS and the ZRU, versus just 4% for Seine-Saint De nis (Kokoreff et al.). Complete lyrics (and their translation) from Chapter 3 : MC Solaars a me hante Mommy, I miss you, I took the cargo boat When I arrived at the port, I jumped onto a cruise ship But I swear to you that it wasn 't me who committed this crime The prosecutor and the lawyer chose me as the victim I'm in the cargo hold with some coconuts I don't know where I'm heading, tell me: where's this ship going? Out on the sea, I lose sight of father and mother, I lose the homeland Sea sickness, more repairs, feet that no longer touch the ground Proud, I will come back to avenge myself It's them, the guilty ones, who will see things change soon I am like my ancestor in 1730 I leave without knowing the de stination, and that haunts me (M.C. Solaar, a me hante).124 124 Maman, tu m'manques, j'ai pris le cargo Arriv au port, j'ai saut dans le paquebot Mais j'te jure que c'est pas moi qui ai commis ce crime Le procureur et l'avocat m'ont choisi comme victime Je suis dans la cale avec des noix de coco Je ne sais pas o je vais, dites moi: o va ce bateau ? Sur la mer, j'perds pater et mre, je perds la Terre Mre Mal de mer, plus de repres, plus les pieds sur terre Fier, je reviendrai pour me venger
104 Abd Al Maliks Cest du lourd I remember my mom who raised us all alone, woke us up for school when we were kids, she listened the radio while crying over our to ast [a double entendre for pain], and then afterward she went to the work in the cold, at night. That, thats a heavy one. Or Majids father who worked all these years with his ha nds, outside, no matter if it snowed or if it was windy or sunny, without ever compla ining. That, thats a heavy one. Like these, so many people came to France because they had a dream, and even if their daily life felt more like a nightmare, they always knew how to remain dignified, they never fell into resentment. That, thats a hea vy one, its violent. And then you have all the others who get up, late in the day, w ho scratch their cheeks [a double entendre for the stock markets]. Im talking about both those who care about cash the kind [who believes] "the end justifies the means," and the ones who talk about gi rls, to see if they have a way to take advantage of them. That, thats no heavy one. The guys that play with zerma in front of apartment blocks who deal, a little coke, sometimes a little crack, and say "I know lif e, mister!," while they know nothing. That, thats no heavy one. I think about the one who fights to do good things, who makes his girlfriend pregnant and says I love you, Ill st ep up to the challenge, this is nothing, this is good, who goes to work often for a misera ble salary, but it will pay the rent, bring food back to the shack. Brothe r, that will be with honest money, with clean money, That, thats a heavy one. I also think about these girl s that people shoot grimaces at because they come from projects, who show a bit of te nacity, of strength, of intellig ence, of independence. So they can do something with their lives, that they can do whatever they want with their lives. That, thats a heavy one. But you also have the bourgeois, the borrowed kind, but I don't want to generalize. Im not sayi ng all the bourgeois are more condescending, more paternalistic, or more full of themselves. I just want to say that there are people that dont understand, who believe to be French is [d efined by] a religion, a skin color, or the thickness of a crocodile-skinned wallet. This is stupid, this is not a heavy one, this is France, she is beautiful, you know it to be true. France, we love her. This is something you can see when you go home. France, she is b eautiful, look at all these beautiful faces that integrate. And when insult you this country, when you insult your own country, in fact you insult yourself. It is necessary that we rise up, it is necessary that we fight together, as a whole, and have nothing to do these guys who say, "you play a role or you dream." These hate-filled people who say "you will awaken yourself ," because if we arrive, if we arrived face to face with our differences, unde r a single banner, as a single people, what will they say to that? That th is is a heavy one, a heavy one, something sick (Abd al-Malik, Cest du Lourd).125 C'est eux les coupables bientt les choses vont changer Je suis comme mon anctre en 1730 Je pars sans savoir o, et a me hante 125 Je m'souviens maman qui nous a levs toute seule, nous rveillait pour lcole quand on tait gamins, elle coutait la radio en pleurant notre pain, et puis aprs elle allait au travail dans le froid, la nuit, a cest du lourd.
105 Elyshas Fille de la banlieue i'm a daughter of the banlieue so i sing for the banlieue i have dreams for my banlieue so i write them for my banlieue i'm a daughter of the banlieue my pen bleeds for the banlieue i represent my banlieue i have some hope for my banlieue126 Ou le pre de Majid qui a travaill toutes ces annes de ses mains, dehors, quil neige, quil vente, quil fasse soleil, sans jamais se plaindre, a cest du lourd. Et puis t'as tous ces gens qui sont venus en France parce quils avaient un rve et mme si leur quotidien aprs il a plus ressembl un cauchemar, ils ont toujours su rester dignes ils n'ont jamais bascul dans le ressentiment, a cest du lourd cest violent. Et puis t'as tous les autres qui se lvent comme a, tard dans la journe, qui se grattent les bourses, je parle des deux, celles qui font rfrence aux thunes, du genre "la fin justifie les moyens" et celles qui font rfrence aux filles, celles avec lesquelles ils essaient de voir si ya moyen, a cest pas du lourd Les mecs qui jouent les choses zerma devant les blocs deal, un peu de cock, de temps en temps un peu de ke cra (crack) et disent je connais la vie moi monsieur alors quils connaissent rien, a cest pas du lourd. Moi je pense celui qui se bat pour faire le bien, qu'a mis sa meuf enceinte, qui lui dit jtaime, je vais assumer, cest rien, cest bien, qui va taffer des fois mme pour un salaire de misre, mais le loyer quil va payer, la bouffe quil va ramener la baraque, frre, a sera avec de largent honnte, avec de largent propre, a cest du lourd. Je pense aussi ces filles quon a regard de travers parce quelles venaient de cits, qu'ont montr coup de tnacit, de force, dintelligence, dindpendance, quelles pouvaient faire quelque chose de leur vie, quelles pouvaient faire ce quelles voulaient de leur vie, a cest du lourd. Mais tas le bourgeois aussi, genre emprunt, mais attention je n'gnralise pas, je dis pas que tous les bourgeois sont condescendants, paternalistes ou totalement imbus de leur personne, je veux juste dire quil y a des gens qui comprennent pas, qui croient qutre franais cest une religion, une couleur de peau, ou l'paisseur dun portefeuille en croco, a cest bte c'est pas du lourd cest... La France elle est belle, tu le sais en vrai, la France on laime, ya qu voir quand on retourne au bled, la France elle est belle, regarde tous ces beaux visages qui sentremlent. Et quand tinsultes ce pays, quand tinsultes ton pays, en fait tu tinsultes toi mme, il faut quon se lve, faut quon se batte dans lensemble, rien faire de ces mecs qui disent "vous jouez un rle ou vous rvez", ces haineux qui disent "vous allez vous rveiller", parce que si on est arriv, si on est arriv faire front avec nos diffrences, sous une seule bannire, comme un seul peuple, comme un seul homme, ils diront quoi tous ? Cest du lourd, du lourd, un truc de malade 126 Je suis une fille de la banlieue Alors je chante pour la banlieue J'ai des rves pour ma banlieue Donc je les crits pour ma banlieue Je suis une fille de la banlieue Ma plume saigne pour ma banlieue Je reprsente ma banlieue
106 (chorus:) we take life as it comes, despite the low blows one day the sky, i promise you, we'll wait for it despite our handicap, from th e start we're prepared like true soldiers, each day we struggle we're not afraid of anything unless it's god-sent we advance, heads held high without fear in our eyes this is for each brothe r, each sister, each hood each block, from the south to the north, each project127 little black girl from the ba nlieue north of the capital (in) marnaudes, auber(v ille), the floreal project excuse me for having a vital need in this life to rock the beat until they tell me i've lost it little girl, in my ears there was some aaliyah ntm, ideal j, iam, and super wawa (wallen) all these classics have made me into who i am today so don't be surprised if they live on in my lyrics i learned for years what i needed to realize that hip-hop gave me a gun to defend myself (but) what saddens me is that the war i pursue is the same one of those who preceded me now i understand that France won't give handouts of opportunities to leave (this place), to show them that they were all wrong i still love them and hold no grudge (instead) i pulled from my past strength128 J'ai de l'espoir pour ma banlieue 127 On prend la vie comme elle vient malgr ces coups bats Un jour le ciel, je te jure, on atteindra Malgr l'handicap au dpart on mne le combat De vrais guerriers nous chaque jours on se bat On a peur de rien si ce n'est de Dieu On avance tte haute on a pas froid aux yeux C'est pour chaque frre, chaque sur, chaque quartier Chaque bloc, du sud au nord, chaque cit. 128 Petite renoi des banlieues nord de la Capital Marnaudes, Auber, cit floral Pardonnez moi si dans la vie j'ai ce besoin vital De kiker sur la beat jusqu' qu'on dise que je pose mal Petite fille dans mes oreilles y'avait du Aaliyah NTM, Ideal J, IAM et Supa wawa Tout ces classiques on fait de moi celle que je suis aujourd'hui Donc t'tonne pas si ils survivent dans mes crits J'ai appris des ans ce que je devais apprendre Le hiphop m'a donn une arme pour me dfendre
107 kery (james) said that the fight continues so if my pen is a firearm, i'll be a loudspeaker for the street in each of my words i carry your message listening to you, living what you live what i would truly like fo r us to circumnavigate if my music has become a form of communication i'll take the mic and i'll sing my lyrics at national square blue white red is the flag marianne's bonnet in the place of a hat but tell me what happened to the demands of diderot a thought flashes of martin luther king, who inspired this all a thanks to my mom who slaved away for my brothers and me a shout out for those who live in the hood near my house things can change, i believe it when i see obama129 (Elysha, "Fille de banlieue") Zahos Kif n Dir i stare at the airplanes out the window behind bars, me who wants to escape myself i never had the desire to be submitted to these people with their worn-out ideas i want to live to see th e birth of other days maybe the line in my palm will tell me i have to follow the spotlight of my soul, my master Ce qui m'attriste c'est que le combat que je mne est aussi celui qu'ils ont mens avant moi J'ai compris que la France ne me donnerai pas En main toutes les chances pour me sortir de l Pour lui montrer qu'elle a eu tort Moi je l'aime c'est sans rancune j'ai fait de mes origines une force 129 Kry a dit le combat continu Donc si ma plume est un gun je suis le haut parleur de la rue A chacun de mes mots je porte vos messages Je les entends et je les vis j'aimerais tellement qu'on prennent le large Si ma musique est devenu un moyen de communication Je prendrais le mic, je chanterais mes lyrics sur la place de la nation Bleu blanc rouge est le drapeau Bonnet de Marianne en guise de chapeau Mais dis moi ce que sont devenus les revendication de Diderot Une pense pour Martin Luther King d'o s'inspire mon combat Un merci pour ma mre qui s'est battu pour mes frres et moi Un big up pour ceux qui font vivres les quartiers prs de chez moi Les choses peuvent changs j'y crois quand je regarde Obama
108 but i'm afraid of hitting the wall in just a few meters and i don't want to leave even if there's nothing to hold me back and I dont want to suffer so i bought a one way ticket to never return i wear this mask to look like everyone else as a tomboy, a girl not like the others i expect the worst and i endure i'm sick of having to pretend that i'm strong so i lie like a corpse to avoid death i need to leave myself to close this chapter algeria, even if some dust settled on this theme know that despite it all, i love you (Zaho, Kif n Dir).130 Solutions? A discussion with New College of Fl orida Sociology Professor Chavella T. Pittman offered the following series of possibl e solutions for the banlieues ills. On the local level, dialogues on race, ethnicity, religion (i.e. Islam) and their interaction with French identity need to take place. No longer can the state pret end the nonexistence of 130 je contemple les avions par la fentre barreaude, moi qui veux mvader je nai jamais eu envie de me soumettre ces tres aux ides rodes je veux pouvoir voir dautres jours natront la ligne de ma main me le dira peut tre je dois suivre le phare car mon me est matre mais jai peur de toucher le fond juste quelques mtres et je nai pas envie de partir mme sil ny a rien pour me retenir et je nai pas envie de souffrir jai pris un aller simple charter pour ne plus revenir je porte ce masque pour ressembler aux autres en garon manqu, une fille pas comme les autres je mattends au pire et je supporte jen ai marre de faire semblant que je suis forte donc je fais la morte, pour ne pas mourir faut que je men sorte pour fermer ce chapitre Algrie, mme sil y a de la poussire sur ce thme sache que malgr tout, je taime
109 these concepts on French soil, especially considering the (former) Presidents acknowledgement of the ghettoization of certain African and North African communities. A national campaign to help students of the banlieue understand discrimination and ways of diffusing or combating it would give the youth a holistic perspective of the causes and e ffects of their mistreatment. Regionally, to avoid future riots/revolts, channels for the prod uctive expression of youth discontent need state and/or corporate su pport. Positive reinforcement of success, through scholarships or artistic grants, could shift the methods of self-expression from the negative to the positive. The French state could promote classes in languages other than those traditionally spoken in Europe. This would give residents with other cultural associations representation in schools and propel Frances position in this globalized world. Linkages with former colonies pres ent the opportunity for cultural exchange and study abroad, rather than the top-down project ion of French culture (from the colonizer) to the former colonies (the colonized). Nationally, the state should reinforce la ws against racism. A group called SOSRacisme already represents victims of discri mination in French courts, but the impartial treatment of all members of society needs codification in the legal system. This fair treatment should protrude down to the ranks of the average police officer, which would prevent the likelihood of urban violence even further. When rapper La Fouine came to Miami to film the music video for Tous les memes ([Were] all the same), the lack of racial profiling by police stood out to him as the greatest di fference between the two sides of the Atlantic. Finally, the country could raise awareness on immigrant issues, instead
110 of the tireless, monotonous promotion of French cultural identity. Rather than suppressing some, France could extend a helping hand to all its citizens.
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