Category: "Fieldwork"


02:47:18 amCategories: Fieldwork, Politics, Peculiarities

Busy week

It’s been a busy week. While the youth in this country have been blocking and occupying schools and universities – or protesting against those blocking their universities – or been out in the streets demonstrating, burning paper cars or real cars, tagging, breaking a few bus shelters and windows or robbing demonstrators for their mobiles, I’ve been indoors at various prestigious Parisian venues listening to people discussing discrimination.

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03:59:10 amCategories: Fieldwork, Politics, Riots

Mars – “mois chaud”

It wasn’t the climate the newspaper Le Parisien was thinking of when they some weeks ago wrote that March would be a “hot” month. And indeed they were right…

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11:52:35 pmCategories: Fieldwork, Places, History

“The martyrs of Charonne”

Yesterday, I had planned an academic expedition to L’École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales again, this time for a lecture on the sociological use of documentaries where they would also screen a “cinema verité” film on young Parisians’ vision on happiness from 1960 (Chronique d’un été). But chances wanted that I should stay in the neighbourhood and, in fact, be witnessing the making of a documentary on recent French history.

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12:22:39 amCategories: Fieldwork, Spaces

The city (long) before lunchtime

A friend of mine said that he’d like to leave a comment on my blog suggesting that my fieldwork could have benefited by some knowledge of what happens in the city before lunchtime. As I have in fact been out there many times before 12 o’clock, I have informed him that such a comment is totally ill-informed. Today I’ll even prove that I was out before dawn on a Saturday. (Since it’s in the middle of winter – and winter indeed, since emergency measures are put into action with Plan Grand Froid niveau 2 and alerte orange (in this country not concerning terror dangers, but exceptional snowfall) in half of France – dawn comes not too early).

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02:02:37 pmCategories: Fieldwork, Anthropological notes, Writing, Blogging

My blog, my project and I, part 1

The name of my blog is a sort of homage to the field diary that inspired me to start blogging: Jon Henrik among the Ifugaos. Lorenz, my Webmaster and the editor of, asked me ages ago to write a few words on why I decided to write a blog from my fieldwork. In fact, the answer isn’t as well-considered as Lorenz, a dedicated net publicist, might have thought. I just thought that what Jon Henrik had done was such a cool thing to do: It was nice to see what he was doing among the Ifuagos. However, after I started I have noticed that blogging sharpens the attention, just like taking a lot of photos (and probably painting) does; One starts to see motifs everywhere, and then one has to reflect on how to make the motif into a story so other people can understand what you want to tell them.

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06:27:34 pmCategories: Fieldwork, Politics

A forgotten link

In my previous entry I had forgotten to paste in a link, which would have given more sense to the claim that choosing between Le Pen and Sarkozy isn’t much of a choice to some radical commentators. This omission gives me the possibility to return for a second to the poster put up around Paris just before Christmas, which didn’t make the ruling party very happy: Votez Le Pen.

The first time I saw the poster on the wall, someone – in typical French public, democratic tradition – had embellished Sarkozy’s face with the facial characteristics of Dracula. (The streets of Paris are full of such popular voicing of opinion, on posters or as comments written on the wall or on other signs or posters). Quite understandably, the poster has created a number of discussions on the Internet, as well (see further down).

Picture to the right: A sticker on the wall with a drawing of a matchbox with Sarkozy's face and the text: 40 banlieue matches.

A non-exhaustive list of sites on the Internet discussing the controversy:
- An article on the matter in The Guardian (in English!)

- Articles (in French) from the political group (Act up, for HIV positives, who made the poster in order to protest against the immigration policy of Sarkozy: The press release “A poster to denounce a racist discourse and a fatal policy” and an article on all the controversy it stirred.

- Le Monde's article (in French) "Act up withdraws the poster from their site"

- An interview with Sakrozy in Liberation (in French) "I know better than Thuram what's happening in the banlieues" and the reply from Act Up the day after: "Sarkozy caricatures himself".

- A number of discussions in Internet chat rooms and blogs: France TV 5,, les indigenes de la republique,
Indymedia,,, and so on...


04:32:29 pmCategories: Fieldwork, Politics, Riots

Now what?

Two weeks ago, at the time I finished my French lessons, I had planned to quietly sit down and rethink my research project. The goals of the project still seemed justified, but I was not sure about the approach; I felt I was about to suffer from a severe information overload.

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02:04:50 pmCategories: Fieldwork, Places, Riots, Distinctions

Information overload 2 / internet fieldwork

A day at work…: I was about to get outside (its freezing, but sunny). Unfortunately, it was time for 12 o’clock news before I managed to escape.

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