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France and the Mediterranean

International Relations, Culture and Politics


Edited By Emmanuel Godin and Natalya Vince

This multidisciplinary edited volume examines wide-ranging exchanges between France and its Mediterranean neighbours and their impact. It questions the changing notion of a Mediterranean space and its representation, centrality and relevance in terms of France’s international relations under Sarkozy’s presidency, from the launch of the Union for the Mediterranean and its complex articulations with the European Union’s own agenda in the region, to the tortuous relations with Libya, made even more complicated by the 2011 ‘Arab Spring’. Beyond the realm of state relations and formal policy networks, the volume examines the crucial role played by diasporas, the interplay between postcolonial and transnational representations in the fields of cultural diplomacy, cinema and architecture, and considers how these can produce merged or hybrid identities. Later in the collection, the politics of ethnicity in post-war France, the interplay between negative perceptions of Islam and the changing memory of the Algerian War, and the evolution of Franco-Algerian relations since 1962 are used to question the weight of the colonial past when analysing the relations between France and North Africa.


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Bruno Levasseur - French Artistes Engagés Transcending the Politics of ‘Race’ and ‘Ethnicity’ in the Republic (1980s–2000s) 219


Bruno Levasseur French Artistes Engagés Transcending the Politics of ‘Race’ and ‘Ethnicity’ in the Republic (1980s–2000s)1 In recent decades, following the process of decolonization, new stigmatizing and threatening images of ‘race’ and ‘ethnicity’ have appeared in popular culture, particularly in art.2 The culture of protest and its political dimen- sion and specific aesthetic has of fered an original counter vision of the new ‘racist’ discourse that, in Western nations, associates immigrants with job snatchers, welfare scroungers or threats to security. In France, the mobi- lization of French artistes engagés has been highly significant over the last thirty years and can be located within the development of this aggravating rhetoric of the ‘new racism’ defined by Martin Barker.3 Here, my purpose is to analyse representations of the ‘ethnic other’ in the artistic culture of engagement and the alternative perception of the French Republic which can be found in this artistic culture from the mid-1980s. Since the end of the 1970s, depictions of France have increasingly intersected with the traditional pattern of the postcolonial narrative based 1 I wish to thank Dr Karima Laachir, Dr Béatrice Dammame-Gilbert and Dr Angela Kershaw for their support, comments and advice while preparing this chapter. I am also indebted to the challenging and inspiring contributions made by the participants of the ASMCF conference held in Portsmouth in September 2009. 2 P. Gilroy, Between Camps (London: Allen Lane, 2000), 214–15. 3 M. Barker, The New Racism (London: Junction Books, 1981), 20...

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