Victoria Phaneuf will present her work “A United, Plural France?: Identity and Difference in French North African Cultural Associations” to the SRU Sociology and Anthropology Honorary on Wednesday, February 25, 2015.
Around the world, nations are experiencing increased social conflict and unrest resulting from the contradictions of globalization, migration, and nationalism. Contemporary France offers a particularly clear example of this kind of tension. A multicultural, multi-ethnic society, France promotes both universal human rights and explicitly assimilationist policies designed to acculturate minorities regardless of their wants or desires.
Such contradictions are explicit in reference to postcolonial North African populations. They play out both in rare, extreme acts like the Charlie Hebdo shooting and in ubiquitous, daily negotiations and discussions of what it means to be French in a society that includes others like, and yet unlike, yourself.
One arena where such dialogues are sought is the North African cultural association, or social club. In this presentation Phaneuf will explore how participants in these groups try to open space for conversation, exchange, and intercultural understanding in a nation on a quest for self-knowledge. She will also consider what contributions anthropology can make to this type of discussion.
The lecture will take place at 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday, February 25, in Spotts Auditorium (Room 111).