Connecting the Margins: Geographical Complexity and International Networks in the French Banlieue Novel

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This paper investigates the complex geography of a selection of contemporary novels depicting French banlieues from within. Since 2000, instead of depicting these mostly high-rise, working-class banlieues in isolation, authors like Faïza Guène, Rachid Djaïdani, Mabrouck Rachedi, Habiba Mahany, Didier Mandin, Jean-Eric Boulin, Wilfried N’Sondé, Thomté Ryam, Mouss Benia, Rachid Santaki and Insa Sané tend to represent them embedded in a complex network of global relations, which link them simultaneously to the inner city, nearby places and remote locations in Africa or America. This paper looks at banlieue residents’ intricate connections with three types of spaces: the banlieues’ immediate, urban and rural, surroundings; the residents’ countries of origin; and the rest of the world, with which they establish new, global links facilitated by time/space compression and global flows of business and information. It demonstrates that, by depicting banlieues as nodes in international networks rather than just peripheries dominated by the city core, writers attempt to subvert Eurocentric hierarchies inherited from colonial times and contribute to elaborating new, more egalitarian concepts of citizenship.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Representation of the Relationship between Center and Periphery in the Contemporary Novel
EditorsRuth Amar, Françoise Saquer-Sabin
Place of PublicationNewcastle upon Tyne
PublisherCambridge Scholar Print
Number of pages15
ISBN (Print)(10) 1-5275-1671-7
Publication statusPublished - 26 Nov 2018


  • global
  • periphery
  • centre
  • novel
  • banlieue


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