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« Une et divisible ? »

Plural Identities in Modern France

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Edited By 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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Part 1 - Social and Political History 25

Extract

Part 1 Social and Political History Mark Sawchuk After the Plebiscite: Cafés and Conf lict in Nice and Savoy during the 1860s At 11:45 p.m. on 6 April 1861, police inspector Helder Delafont and police- man Denis Landrin came across an extremely drunk Barthélemy Math- eudi, a 50-year old fisherman residing in the Rue de l’Arc in Nice. In a high voice, Matheudi cried out, ‘Merde pour la France, vive Garibaldi! La police française sont tous des mendiants, des brutes, des carognes, j’y chie sur la face!’ All of his screams were uttered in the local dialect, Niçard, ‘que nous avons néanmoins parfaitement compris’, the two of ficers reported. They were not inclined to be too forgiving of Matheudi, who swung his fists wildly and even attempted to bite them as they made their way to the police station. But even as he struggled, Matheudi modified his drunken cries to ‘Vive la France!’, prompting Delafont and Landrin to conclude in their report that he must have been sober enough to understand the sedi- tious nature of his words. The following day, a tearful Matheudi said that he was sorry and that he did not remember anything that had happened, but his reputation spoke volumes: he had been arrested on three previous occasions in the preceding seven months for similar of fences.1 At the time Matheudi was picked up in the streets of Nice, the city had been French for less than one...

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