The Introduction sets the scene for the book thematically, historically, empirically and methodologically. It draws attention to the ambivalent and processual nature of French mobility to London and to the geographic and demographic heterogeneity of the community. It provides a brief overview of past and present French contributions to life in the British capital and argues that this cultural legacy affords the diaspora a select status which conceals its inherent complexity. The Introduction establishes that this ‘messy middle ground’ forms the focus of the book. Using a series of language- and residence-based maps, it supports the contention that the London-French community extends beyond the South Kensington elite. Research participants are shown to be from myriad areas of France and beyond, to inhabit a range of neighbourhoods in London and to hold a diverse range of professions. The Introduction argues that they are in a perpetual state of paradox, simultaneously rejecting France/French ‘mentalities’ and London-French community belonging yet reasserting their Frenchness through shared homemaking practices. Due to this twofold reproduction of premigration practices and embracing of local habits, the migrants’ integration into/of the local culture and consequent habitus transformation are deemed only ever partial. The Introduction also considers matters of reflexivity, methods and ethics. It establishes the rationale behind the blended ethnographic approach, the insider–outsider positioning of the author and the mixed methods deployed. Finally, it provides a structural and thematic overview of the book as a whole, summarising the key aspects of each chapter.
The Introduction seeks to state the scope and nature of the study in more extended terms, and to establish the importance of historical ontology to Foucault’s complex view of history as necessary to constructing an ethics. After presenting a very schematic survey of complexity theory, it utilizes Alain Badiou’s approach to ethics to construct the contours of the approach that I intend to take with regard to Foucault. It concludes by stating the intention to utilize research in both the Continental and Anglo-American philosophical traditions.
This is the first book dedicated to the career and films of Jacques Audiard. It argues that the work of this prominent French director both reinforces and undermines the traditional concept of the auteur. The book traces Audiard’s career from his early screenwriting projects in the 1970s to his eight directed feature films. From a prison outside Paris to a war zone in Sri Lanka, from a marine park on the Côte d’Azur to the goldfields of the American Wild West, these films revolve around the movement of bodies. Fragile yet powerful, macho yet transgressive, each of these films portrays disabled, marginalised or otherwise non-normative bodies in constant states of crisis and transformation. This book uses the motif of border-crossing – both physical and symbolic – to explore how Audiard’s films construct and transcend boundaries of many forms. Its chapters focus on his films’ representation of the physical body, French society and broader transnational contexts. Located somewhere between the arthouse and the B movie, the French and the transnational, the feminist and the patriarchal, the familiar and the new, this book reveals how Jacques Audiard’s characters and films reflect his own eternally shifting position, both within and beyond the imaginary of French cinema.
Among the laws issued by King Roger II, clause xxvii is entitled ‘On the legitimate celebration of marriage’. Exceptionally for a European ruler, the king reserved the right to decide on the legitimacy of a marriage by making the exchange of property associated with the marriage bond dependent on a priest’s blessing in a church. He thereby fused what elsewhere in Europe were distinct prerogatives of the secular ruler and of the Church. After briefly reviewing the contents of clause xxvii, this chapter sets out to investigate Roger II’s motivations for this innovative legislation. It locates them in his campaign to seek legitimation as king (and thus lawgiver), as king-priest insisting on control over a combined secular and ecclesiastical legislative clause, and as lord financially exploiting breaches of his law on marriage by confiscation of land or levying fines. Although he did not insist that his barons seek his permission to arrange marriages, his law clearly helped pave the way for his successors to do so. A final issue is Roger II’s concern for aristocratic women. He ends clause xxvii with a warning to his barons that breaching his law would rebound particularly on women. This can be viewed as the paternal or pastoral concern of a ruler expected to take care of the vulnerable and weak. It can also be viewed as Roger making his barons responsible as fathers, brothers and husbands for their womenfolk’s destitution if they failed to have their daughters, sisters and wives wed in church.
A comparative study of Boko Haram, Niger Delta, IPOB and Fulani
In 2011, Nigeria established its first anti-terrorism legislation and Boko
Haram was listed as a terrorist group in 2014. In 2017, the Indigenous
People of Biafra (IPOB), a secessionist movement in the southeast of
Nigeria, became the second conflict group or social movement to be
proscribed by the anti-terror law. Unlike Boko Haram, IPOB’s struggle is
underlined, to a large extent, by genuine grievance and its modus operandi
is largely non-violent. Unsurprisingly, the proscription of IPOB did
not generate the same worldwide recognition and support as that of Boko
Haram. Rather, it attracted national and international condemnation. Yet,
the Nigerian government has not reversed its action. This raises important
questions regarding the motivation for proscribing IPOB and the impact on
the group’s transformation, as well as on other conflict groups and
situations across Nigeria. Interestingly, the current government led by
President Buhari, a Fulani, has been noticeably silent or at best has
expressed a weak response to the ‘terrorist’ acts committed by the Fulani
militia group. Also, the government’s reluctance to proscribe the militant
groups in the oil-rich Niger Delta region counteracts any argument regarding
fairness in the application of the anti-terrorism law. This chapter
therefore analyses the characteristics of each conflict group and why they
are recognised or mis-recognised, and attract a certain kind of labelling,
as well as the implications of such on the transformation of the conflict
group and the benefits or drawbacks to the government and the conflict
Chapter 2 starts with a brief history of life philosophy and moves to explore Foucault’s enumeration of the concepts of life and error that he finds in Georges Canguilhem’s work. Foucault’s central thesis here is further reinforced in relation to his review and assessment of François Jacob's history of biology. The sense in which life philosophy can ground an immanent metaphysics that maintains a coherent normative focus but that varies contingently in terms of the relation between life and its environment is then explored. It is shown how such a conception also avoids vitalism. Similarities with the view expressed here are then noted in Foucault's writings on life in The History of Sexuality and The Courage of Truth. The implications of a normative conception of life are then briefly canvassed to demonstrate how life sets its own limits, and how the problems associated with moral relativism can be overcome.
The underlying push of symbolic violence in France
This initial chapter takes Bourdieu’s concept of symbolic violence as its theoretical starting point and considers French migrants’ uneasy relationship with the homeland. Based on respondents’ retrospective accounts of a lack of equality and opportunity in the French social space, together with their premigration imaginings and aspirations, it considers the powerful role of affective, social and ideological forces in cross-Channel mobility. The chapter is sub-divided into three sections which investigate microaggressions as articulations of symbolic violence in the fields of education, employment and the wider French social space. The chapter argues that France’s purportedly egalitarian education system functions for some as a means of perpetuating inequalities and reproducing restricted habitus trajectories. For them, migration is an escape route. London is perceived as a meritocratic place where qualifications and social capital do not dictate professional pathways and progression. The chapter demonstrates how French migrants of colour are able to free themselves from workplace discrimination, climb the employment ladder, and simultaneously embody Frenchness and Blackness in ways unimaginable in France. It also explores the intersectional dimensions of the migrant experience, examining how everyday sexism, together with normalised misogynistic and homophobic microaggressions in France serve as tacit migration drivers. The chapter argues that although these non-economic, non-lifestyle premigration factors are often neglected, it is through such negative experiences in the originary field that London comes to be apprehended as an optimistic, open-minded, cosmopolitan alternative, where difference can be celebrated and the self reinvented.
Blended understandings of symbolic forces in London-French education on-land and on-line
Chapter 5 tends towards a blended ethnographic approach and returns to the theme of education, through the theoretical prism of symbolic violence. The first half of the chapter is dedicated to on-land participants’ attitudes to education in France and London, and the second half compares online representations of three London-based schools frequented by participants or their children: the Lycée Français; Newham Sixth-form College and Whitgift School. The chapter argues that the French and UK education systems serve as microcosms for the respective societies’ approaches to migration, nationalism and citizenship. Universalist Republican values are at the core of the French school system, where the assimilationist citizenship model is reproduced through an exclusionary, didactic, positivist educational epistemology. Conversely, London’s multiculturalist social model is transferred to its classrooms through the adoption of a constructivist, student-centred pedagogy. The chapter contends that despite the French model’s egalitarian tenets, it remains a highly competitive system, with an emphasis on achieving success through reprimand rather than encouragement. This causes many French Londoners to turn towards the English model for their own progeny. The multimodal online analysis supports the on-land findings, with an under-representation of ethnic minorities and a lack of creative opportunities evinced on the Lycée website, set against the celebration of individual achievement, inclusivity and creative capital on the NewVIc and Whitgift landing pages. Migrants’ favouring of the UK system – for primary education at least – thus replicates the rationale behind their initial migration to London, with perceived openness, meritocracy and opportunity being potent incentives.
Windows onto intimate London habitats and homemaking across cultures
Chapter 2 is the first of three dedicated to Bourdieu’s concept of habitus, deconstructed into a triad of habitat, habituation and habits. In this chapter, the migrants’ material habitat is the focus, and food emerges as a key element. Transporting French victuals to London homes allows the migrants to resist habitus transformation and assert a distinctive French identity, linked to the superior quality and perceived authenticity of French produce. It shows how the commonality of their personal artefacts and attitudes belie individuated strategies of transnational belonging and instead serve to construct a sense of community identity, albeit unwittingly. Through its emphasis on the participants’ material lifeworlds, the chapter challenges the well-established notion of ‘transnationalism’, particularly its foregrounding of abstract nationhood, and argues in favour of a more pinpointed, localised construct that acknowledges the intimate subject–object dynamics at play. The chapter contends that it is this attempt to recreate a sense of proximity to the familial primary habitat that participants have left behind which informs their choice of localised, consumable materialities. The final habitat dimension examined is the role of audiovisual media and their operationalisation as a textural, diasporic homemaking mechanism. Drawing on Schafer’s idea of the ‘soundscape’ and Appadurai’s intersecting ‘mediascapes’, ‘technoscapes’ and ‘ethnoscapes’, the chapter posits that the sounds and images of France permeating participants’ homes bridge time–space borders, allowing re-engagement with the cultural here-and-now of the homeland and a reconnection with primary-habitat memories. Complicated and ambiguous processes of emplacement, identity formation and belonging are thus substantiated.