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Feminist and Antiracist Tensions Over the Parisian Banlieue - An Ethnography of Resistance

My study is an ethnographic comparative study of three political groups working in relation or in the Parisian poorer suburbs, les banlieuesNi putes ni soumises, AFRICA and Mouvement des indigènes de la République. The first two groups explicitly state themselves as both feminist and antiracist. The last group is antiracist but did for a while contain a feminist collective. All groups in my study thus explicitly defend both a feminist and a antiracist ideology, yet in their political practice they tend to end up in either a feminist or a antiracist field. Therefore I have chosen to focus in this work on how it comes that the three groups cannot simultaneously act as feminists and antiracists. May attempts to answer this riddle have brought me into other social fields of tension, such as the meaning of the French colonial heritage in national politics, French secularism’s (laïcité) radical distinction between politics and religion, the formation of a polarized “us-and-them” dichotomy between “the French” and “the immigrants” and finally the evolvement of different moral worlds in political life. Consequently, this work is an analysis of how the division and tension between and within feminism and antiracism comes about and functions in the political practice of the three groups.