Transcultural Narratives of Contemporary Postcoloniality
In addition, the collection addresses in at least two significant ways the question about «beyond postcolonialism» and the future of the discipline. First, by questioning and critically examining some foundational theories in postcolonialism, it points to possible new directions in our theoretical vocabulary. Second, it offers an array of reflections around disparate geographies that are, equally importantly, written in different languages. The value that the authors place on languages other than English and their choice to focus on the effect that multiple languages have on the present of postcolonial studies are in line with one of the aims of the collection – to make the case for a multilingual expansion of the postcolonial imaginary as a necessary imperative.
Chapter 3. Politics and Belonging in the Music of Turkish-French Rapper C-it
In late July 2011, Michel Raison, a member of the French National Assembly, wrote to the Minister of Culture to suggest censoring “certain rap groups of immigrant origin” (“certains groupes de musique rap issus de l’immigration”)1 because they were a threat to French democracy. As an editorialist of Le Monde newspaper reminded readers, however, it wasn’t young rappers in the banlieue who invented protest music. Yet previous generations of musicians who ridiculed the French government, flag, or military were rarely deemed a threat to public order or French national security.2 Despite occasional exceptions, the general rule was one of tolerance. But rather than see rap music as part of a long tradition of an artist’s right (and responsibility) to criticize society, Michel Raison’s letter depicts rap music as little more than criminal provocation, holding rappers responsible for inciting their listeners to violence against the police and other public authorities.
As Raison’s own words suggest, what seems to separate rap musicians from previous generations of oppositional musicians is their ethnicity: “When the extreme lyrics come from a group with immigrant origins, it doesn’t have the same impact as when it is French people who are very influenced by the right and who make racist remarks”3 (qtd. in Diallo). This anecdote unfortunately underscores the opposition often made in French public discourse between immigration and citizenship, an opposition that assumes that someone with immigrant parents or grandparents cannot also be French. Thus, for...
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