Category: "Places"


09:54:26 pmCategories: Places, Spaces, Politics, History

1st of May in Paris

1st of May, in the morning, I cycled through the quiet streets to a bridge by the Louvre Museum. At the Pont du Carrousel, there is a commemorative plate for Brahim Bourram, who 11 years ago, on this day, drowned after he was thrown into the river Seine by skinheads coming from the annual Front National demonstration. Paris Major Delanoë had put down flowers, and every year MRAP – (Movement against racism and for the friendship between the peoples) – arrange a commemorative ceremony. General secretary Mouloud Aounit didn’t have a microphone, and I was too far away to hear what actually was said, but MRAP has posted a statement on their webpage, which I shall quote from as it speaks directly to the current situation in France:

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02:45:00 amCategories: Places, Peculiarities

Marseille (communications)

I’ve spent Easter time in Marseille. In 3 hours and 10 minutes the TGV takes you more than 800 km south from Paris to the Mediterranean city, through the French countryside, past a few villages, a castle or two on top of a cliff, a viaduct, blooming apple orchards, the river Rhone and loads of white cows. “Quite why, you might wonder,” the Guardian wrote in the heat of the CPE-affaire, “is a country with wonderful infrastructure, beautiful towns and countryside, world-class companies and highly productive workers tearing itself apart again?” I do find that paradox intriguing, and the comfort of the Train Grande Vitesse was an apt opportunity to give the transportational part of it a thought. Most major train itineraries in France take around 3 hours, an infrastructural feat I – perhaps because I come from a country made of massive granite - find very fascinating. I wonder how people can bother to take domestic planes at all from the capital in this country, not to mention to London, when they can just jump on the efficient metro to one of the grandiose railway stations and get on a double-decker TGV, and get off at an equally grandiose station at their destination a few hours later. (Public transport in this country is one of the very few things that run on time – after 6 months here I still haven’t figured out exactly when the TV news starts, and I’m still not sure how delayed the conference, demo, meeting etc. will be – but public transport is reliable indeed, as long as there isn’t a strike or a manif blocking the way).

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03:38:31 amCategories: Places, Spaces, Politics, Peculiarities

Contrat premiere embauche - Protesting à la français

Initially, I hadn’t planned to go to the major demonstration against the CPE ("contract 'first employment'") as it only tangentially touches the focus of my fieldwork (tangentially, as the CPE – Contrat Première Embauche – is part of Prime minister Villepin’s plan for égalité des chances: youth unemployment is high in France and even higher in the Zones sensible which is in need of the equal opportunities). But as the echoes of the chanted slogans reached all the way to my flat – situated at least 20 minutes away from the standard demo route Place de la République/Bastille/Place de la Nation – and I saw the diverted traffic as I leaned out of the window, I realised that the scale of the event made it worth defying the heavy rain and head for Nation.

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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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03:33:58 amCategories: Places, Spaces, Distinctions

Bienvenu à mon blog de Charonne

It’s been more than two weeks now, since I’ve moved house. This move has made me realise that I in fact lived in a village before, and now I seem to have moved downtown. In downtown Charonne, I’m not recognised by the baker the second time I enter his shop, and the same faces don’t surround me on the street every day. In our little neighbourhood in Ménilmontant I saw familiar faces all the time, and even a shy person like me got to know the local merchants in not much time. As I think about how quickly I got a sense of the village-like place I moved from, I realise that I’m not able to give a good description of my new quarter yet, despite having lived here for a while.

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05:52:45 pmCategories: Places, Politics, Riots

Riffraff of France

Sunday\'s message at Place de la Nation
Message at bus stop at Place de la Nation, Sunday 11th December

I should have provided a proper welcome to my blog from Charonne (as I’ve moved house) and to the new name (Cicilie amongst the Parisians), but I’ll leave that for later. We’ll jump right into the action with an in medias res report from this sunny winter Sunday. Today I went hunting for posters from Les Racailles de France (the Riffraff of France). This group, consisting mainly of girls in their twenties from the suburbs of Paris, has put up 300 “commemorative plaques” in key areas of the capital, saying things like: “A homage to hundreds of thousands of immigrants who came to construct and reconstruct a France which keeps them, their children and grandchildren outlawed from society. When will there be a law on the positive role of immigration?”

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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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12:52:49 amCategories: Places, Spaces

Le square

When I think about it, one of my favourite things to do in Paris is to hang out in squares (public gardens) after school time.

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