01:29:34 pmCategories: Spaces, Anthropological notes, Writing

The socio-political geography of East Paris: Parisian slam poetry – a space of resistance?

The most recent paper I failed to give (see previous post) was looking at the slam poetry phenomenon from the perspective of where it is situated, – socio-politically as well as geographically. I wanted to explore the connection between the slam scene’s geographical position in the North and East (and to some extent the 13th Arrondissement in the South) and the socio-political characteristics of these parts of the city. Here’s the abstract for the presentation:

Parisian slam poetry – a space of resistance?
Cicilie Fagerlid, PhD fellow at Cultural Complexity in the New Norway (strategic research programme at the University of Oslo)

In this paper, I will explore the relationship between the Parisian slam (performance) poetry scene and the socio-political landscape of North and East Paris, where the scene is situated. This part of the city is historically popular and left-wing with an important influence of bohemians and artists, and an equally long history of regional and international immigration.

I will argue that what is created during an evening of poetry performances, is to some extent a space of biopolitical resistance. Similar forms of resistance to standardisations of everyday life and/or governmental politics overflow the urban space of the northern and eastern Parisian neighbourhoods – in terms of streetart, political and artistic posters and stickers, low-cost and “alternative” film and music festivals, readings and talks in bookshops and cultural centers, a plethora of demonstrations filling the streets with colours and noise and a general, unruly everyday streetlife. I will situate the slam poetry within this landscape and discuss to what extent Antonio Negri’s notion of a (bio)space “in-between” power relations can be a helpful analytical perspective:

“Where is exodus at home? Where is the space for those who want to go into exodus from power and its domination?” For me, exodus sometimes requires force. And this is, paradoxically, an exodus that does not seek an “outside” of power, but which affirms the refusal of power, freedom in the face of power, in the hollow of its meshes (Negri, Petcou, Petrescu and Querrien 2008).

Negri,Toni, Constantin Petcou, Doina Petrescu and Anne Querrien 2008: “What makes a biopolitical space? A discussion with Toni Negri” in Eurozine at http://www.eurozine.com/articles/2008-01-21-negri-en.html (accessed 02.05.2008)

I’ve decided to continue working on the problematics of this paper during the summer, making it into the two first chapters of my thesis (see the end of this post for a preliminary outline). In the first chapter, I will describe and analyse some of the areas where the slam soirées take place (how I’m looking forward to wander the streets of Belleville and Ménilmontant in my imagination again!). In Chapter 2, I will ask how we can understand the particular space created during a slam – thus grasping the micro-dynamics of a soirée – and secondly, making a connection to chapter 1, I will look at what might be the relations between the slam phenomenon and the particular environment of the city where it is situated.

For some reason, the summer Oslo mood certainly inspires a delve back into my memory of Parisians streets and cafés…


Comment from: [Member]

Hi Cicilie! Wow, cool, two posts within 24 hours. Welcome back in the blogosphere. I’m looking forward to reading more from you!

30/06/08 @ 17:15
Comment from: [Member]

Thanks, Lorenz! Quality and quantity are not necessarily the same thing, you know (even though you usually manage both!). To write something interesting and readable from writing up in an office in Oslo demands far more literary talent and writing skills than to scribble down something from your mundane experiences in the city of romance and revolution :-)

01/07/08 @ 08:28

Form is loading...

« Parisian performance poetry: a republican space for encounters? Updating »