The following excerpt pulled from the article seemed relevant to our class discussions:
"According to Laurent Bouvet, a political scientist, an élite degree is the only guarantee of finding a good job in a country that’s mired in economic torpor. This is increasingly true in America, too, but the U.S. absorbs immigrants far more easily than France. What the two countries have in common—and what makes them unique—is a national identity based not just on history, blood, soil, and culture but on the idea of popular sovereignty. In France, this is called republicanism, and in theory the idea is universal. In practice, being part of the French republic has to do not just with democracy and secularism but also with what you wear, what you eat, and what you name your children".
This idea, that you must conform to ideals of some sort of "way of life" in order to be truly French, is completely isolating. I believe that the small, seemingly insignificant parts of our personality - our favourite comfort foods, the music we listen to, the sports we watch - are integral to the formation of our identity. And if we don't feel that our identities are accepted, celebrated, and encouraged in our everyday lives, social isolation is unavoidable. This article reiterates that the Banlieues are physical representations of this sort of isolation - the author writes that "the city felt like the perimeter walls of a prison". Feeling both physically and ideologically removed from Paris, or the "other" France, must take its toll. I wonder what kind of civic media project we could work to create to help foster connections between communities. If the physical distance between Paris and the Banlieues can't be breached, can an online sphere help ease some of this isolation? It's a concept that I'm interested to explore in the remainder of the course.