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« Une et divisible ? »

Plural Identities in Modern France

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Barbara Lebrun and Jill Lovecy

This book offers a selection of the papers presented at the 2008 annual conference of the Association for the Study of Modern and Contemporary France (ASMCF), with chapters focusing on regional formation, European policy, the cultural landscape of Paris, the place of Maghrebi artists in popular music, the evolution of cultural policy regarding ‘popular’ culture, and filmic and novelised representations of desire, ethnicity and nationality.
Guided by postcolonial critique, this book takes as its starting point the recognition of multiple identities in modern and contemporary France, despite (and against) the traditional republican emphasis on national unification and the relegation of notions of ethnicity, sexuality and cultural difference to the so-called private sphere. While many publications have engaged with this topic, few juxtapose social and political issues with cultural approaches. This edited volume, by contrast, incorporates the work of specialists drawn from a broad range of academic disciplinary areas, including history, politics, literature and cultural studies, and shows how perceptions of the self and of the other as French have changed over the years, with an emphasis on the contemporary period (post-1945).

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Barbara Lebrun and Jill Lovecy - Introduction: Plural Identities in Modern and Contemporary France 1

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Barbara Lebrun and Jill Lovecy Introduction: Plural Identities in Modern France This book of fers a selection of the papers presented at the thirtieth annual conference of the Association for the Study of Modern and Contempo- rary France (ASMCF), held at the University of Manchester on 5 and 6 September 2008 on the theme of ‘French identity/identities’. In line with the Association’s long-standing vocation to promote interdisciplinarity, the conference provided a forum for dialogue among scholars, both established and young entrants, currently engaging with this theme through the disci- plinary lenses of political, historical, literary and cultural studies. This juxtaposition of singular and plural identities in the conference title ref lects what has become, perhaps, a dominant trend in Anglophone studies of modern and contemporary French culture and society, which considers France as a country shaped by tensions and divisions, and seeks to identify the multiplicity of ‘identities’ present within it. Whether this concerns the plurality of French ethnicities (regional, immigrant, the white majority), the plurality of gendered and sexual identities (straight, gay, queer), or indeed the conf licting political and religious beliefs that inter- play with national identity claims, much recent research has confronted the republican model of citizenship and its claims to a ‘neutral’ universalism, with the presence, discourses and practices of diversity, thereby challenging the conception of the nation as ‘une et indivisible’.1 The conference keynote 1 See for instance, in the discussion of ethnic politics, Max Silverman’s Facing Postmodernity. Contemporary French Thought on Culture and Society...

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