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The Republic and the riots: exploring urban violence in French suburbs (2005-2007)

Moran, M.; (2010) The Republic and the riots: exploring urban violence in French suburbs (2005-2007). Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London).

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The scale of the 2005 riots in France was unprecedented, with violence spreading to suburban areas across the nation. The events that unfolded in the Villiers-le-Bel in 2007 represented the aftershock of 2005. With almost identical causal circumstances and influenced by the memory of 2005, these riots recorded new levels of intensity. Following these expressions of violence, social commentators aired differing interpretations: some reduced the riots to simple acts of destruction; others evoked an ethnocultural fragmentation of society; and others viewed the riots as a social crisis. However, the issues at stake in the suburbs are more complex than these readings suggest. The events of 2005 and 2007 revealed the extent of the divide that exists within the Republic. Young people living in these areas seem to be angered at the failure of the Republic to treat them as the equals of people from more affluent areas. Could it be that these young people were attempting to address the blind spot of French republicanism - the juxtaposition of an abstract proclamation of universal equality with the reality of the racial and social discrimination that dominates life in the suburbs? Did the riots represent a rejection of French society and values at large, or could the violence be seen as a call for social inclusion? Using the riots of 2005 and 2007 as a starting point, this project explores the sociocultural situation in French banlieues and, on a larger scale, the republican model in terms of its validity in contemporary French society. The project is based on empirical evidence gleaned from a case study of Villiers-le-Bel, a suburb sharing many of the characteristics associated with the banlieues. Extensive fieldwork offers an in-depth assessment of the true nature and causes of the riots of 2005 and 2007, and to what extent these events have challenged the French republican model.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: The Republic and the riots: exploring urban violence in French suburbs (2005-2007)
Language: English
Additional information: Permission for digitisation not received
UCL classification:
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/20184
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