Les Banlieues: Suburban Space and National Identity

  • Richard L. Derderian


Anxieties about North Africans in the present operate in conjunction with powerful sites of memory. One of the most prominent sites is the banlieues. Inadequately translated as suburbs in English but closer to inner city in American parlance, banlieues in French typically conjures up frightening images of failed urban communities torn apart by violence, drugs, delinquency, unemployment, and above all North African youth. Exclusionary spaces or neighborhoods of exile, the banlieues are perceived as repositories for all Frances social ills and unwanted populations.1 If there is much talk in France today about the crisis of the nation, that crisis is most frequently located in the banlieues.


National Identity Muslim Woman Immigrant Youth Urban Periphery Theater Company 
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© North Africans in Contemporary France 2004

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  • Richard L. Derderian

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