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The issue of ethnicity in France, and how ethnicities are represented there visually, remains one of the most important and polemical aspects of French post-colonial politics and society. This is the first book to analyse how a range of different ethnicities have been represented across contemporary French visual culture. Via a wide series of case studies – from the worldwide hit film Amélie to France’s popular TV series Plus belle la vie – it probes how ethnicities have been represented across different media, including film, photography, television and the visual arts. Four chapters examine distinct areas of particular importance: national identity, people of Algerian heritage, Jewishness and France’s second city Marseille.

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Representing people of Algerian heritage
Joseph McGonagle

Representing people of ­Algerian heritage 2 Shaping spaces: representing people of ­Algerian heritage French colonial and postcolonial relations with the countries of the Maghreb have been long and troubled. Post-1945, significant numbers of Moroccans, Tunisians and Algerians migrated to France and eventually settled there definitively: they and their families now constitute a significant proportion of France’s ethnic minority population. Aside from being numerically the greatest, arguably the symbolically most important and prominent component of this

in Representing ethnicity in contemporary French visual culture
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Joseph McGonagle

in much of French visual culture itself generally, the chapter’s corpus here purposely comprises works that challenge the capital’s hegemony by concentrating on life in the provinces. The second chapter addresses a highly symbolic group in contemporary France – namely, its largest and arguably most visible or marked ethnic minority: people of Algerian heritage. The representation of Maghrebis and those of Maghrebi heritage in French cinema – and in particular of the younger generation mostly born in France to post-1945 Maghrebi migrants settled there – is an

in Representing ethnicity in contemporary French visual culture
Siobhán McIlvanney

you be my mummy too/It would be easy, I love you so much already/So much!).13 In none of the works is the protagonist’s bi-cultural identity experienced as plenitude or enriching hybridity,14 yet the degree of alienation varies from work to work with the most intense desire for integration expressed in Ils disent que je suis une beurette.15 Samia offers the most condemnatory assessment of her Algerian heritage, yet, like Malika in Beur’s story, acknowledges generational differences in attitude and the complex imbrication of her socialisation process and cross

in Women’s writing in contemporary France
Engaging with ethnicity
Joseph McGonagle

Algerian heritage, Rachid Arhab, had presented France 2’s 1 p.m. news bulletins during the 1990s, and the Martinican journalist Audrey Pulvar presented France 3’s evening news bulletin during 2005–09 – Roselmack’s appointment was seen as symbolic because he became the first black presenter of the prestigious 8 p.m. news slot on one of France’s main television channels. In a quirk of timing, this came only months after the UK’s most famous black newsreader, Sir Trevor McDonald, retired after thirteen years at the helm of ITV’s News at Ten programme across the Channel

in Representing ethnicity in contemporary French visual culture
Claire Eldridge

spaces as both found themselves grouped together in high-rise estates on the edges of major cities. In contrast to initial efforts to keep the two communities apart, lest historical animosities lead to conflict, daily interaction at school or on the streets was now the norm. Although they were culturally orientated towards France (the nation in which most had grown up), these young men and women retained a strong sense of their common Algerian heritage. Islam proved a particularly important unifying cultural marker. Even those who were non-practising still tended to

in From empire to exile
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Claire Eldridge

organisations resting in the hands of children of harkis, for whom France is the country they grew up in, even if they nonetheless retain a strong sense of their Algerian heritage, and the practical necessity of stressing the ties that bind the harkis to France as part of demands put to the state. The majority of harkis furthermore possess French nationality having (re)claimed it in the early 1960s, adding legal confirmation to an identity long assumed for the community by veterans, pieds-noirs and even certain Algerians. But behind this status lies a more complicated

in From empire to exile
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The underlying push of symbolic violence in France
Saskia Huc-Hepher

‘my name’s Sadia’, but I never did … And whenever I start something new, I could say ‘my name’s …’. But I don’t. It’s as if I won’t allow myself to. Sadia’s unwitting complicity in her self-denial of the patronymic embodiment of her Algerian heritage aligns with Bourdieu’s symbolic violence paradigm and supports Fechter and Walsh’s ( 2010 ) contention that post-colonialism is central to contemporary mobility, despite the differences in flows and power dynamics. It illustrates how systemic xenophobia in France has been embodied as a predictability, part of her

in French London
Representations of Marseille
Joseph McGonagle

leading some to see parallels between the film’s hero – played by a French actor of Algerian heritage, Samy Nacéri – and the French team captain Zinedine Zidane (Sotinel 2000). The ethnicity of the film’s titular taxi driver played by Nacéri, Daniel Morales, will be analysed shortly, but Nacéri’s laidback and humorous performance certainly played a key part in the film’s appeal, as 2 ­ 08 Representing ethnicity did his wisecracking and tchatche (banter) with the bumbling white policeman he assists, Émilien Coutant-Kerbalec, played by Frédéric Diefenthal. Although

in Representing ethnicity in contemporary French visual culture