French by association: the role of associations in a Parisian banlieue

Korid, Yacine Stephen (2014) French by association: the role of associations in a Parisian banlieue. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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There are over a million associations in France dealing with a large variety of issues such as leisure, sports, health, social solidarity or education. Legally defined by the 1901 law, associations are complex structures that require financing and management. They can also be described as promoting ‘cultural expression’ and ‘social integration’. Associations are particularly present in the French ‘banlieues’ (suburbs) around town and city centers as these areas are often seen as epitomising social fragmentation.

Based on ethnographic fieldwork amongst two associations in the Quartiers Nord area of Asnières, a town on the edges of Paris known for its diverse associative life, I explore the positioning, mechanisms and strategies adopted by associations in order to reduce the effects of socio-economic inequalities along territorial lines. My fieldwork mainly consisted of teaching French to newly-arrived migrant children and teenagers as well as helping others with their homework. This allowed me to gain access to a large variety of perspectives, from that of associative leaders and members of the local administration to the views of families living in the Quartiers Nord. To make sense of these multiple angles of approach, I rely strongly on Gerd Baumann’s (1996) distinction between dominant and demotic discourses as it underlines the dynamic and contextual nature of interactions between residents and the local and national frameworks in which they evolve.
I aim to uncover the processes through which some associations have become intermediate spaces (or interstices) of mediation between local or national administrations and the residents of given neighborhoods labeled as ‘difficult’, in other words between center and periphery. By doing so, I add to the debate on the integration of banlieue inhabitants to discourses of French Republicanism.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > Anthropology
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology > GN301 Ethnology. Social and cultural anthropology
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races > HT0101 Urban groups. The city. Urban sociology
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 11 Jun 2014 06:00
Last Modified: 21 Sep 2015 14:52

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