Wluml dossier 19 February 1998 dossier 19

University of California Press

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1 Beur collective action made its first national impact in 1983 when several hundred Beurs and Beurettes marched though France to Paris to protest against racist incidents (Bouzid, 1984; Jazouli, 1986). Beurettes played an important role, although relatively few in number, and some have been politically active ever since. One, Mme Djida Tazdait, has been elected to the European Parliament.

2 The situation has somewhat changed since the resurgence of the debate in 1994, when the then minister for education, François Bayrou, expressly forbade the wearing of “conspicuous symbols” of group identity in the republican institutional space of the schools. When a number of adolescent females protested against what they perceived as discrimination, French media depicted them as “manipulated by extremist groups” and “blind” to the Islamist danger to themselves as women and to the advantages of liberal French gender arrangements. I have argued elsewhere that this contemporary French defense of Muslim women’s rights echoes the French colonial “sexual politics” of penetration in Algeria (Bloul, 1995).

3 Appadurai’s use of gender shows how unreflectively he associates gender and women: he mentions gender only in relation to women as victims of (increased) male violence resulting from certain deterritorialization effects. This derivative use robs the concept of gender of much of its analytical potential vis-à-vis “the cultural politics of deterritorialization”.

4 Both names are pseudonyms.

5 The rightist opposition delighted in taking an unusual position for women’s rights. The parties of the Left and the usual antidiscrimination associations, as traditional supporters of women’s rights (in lieu of France’s very weak feminist organizations) and of minorities, were in an ambiguous situation, which produced belated attempts to defuse the question as much as possible.

6 Hassan II of Morocco opposed François Mitterand’s vague desire to give immigrants the right to vote. He had also been considerably offended by the publication in France of a book and various articles denouncing Moroccan human rights failures.

7 Another version of this argument (Bloul, 1992) is partly inspired by the works of Chodorow (1978, 1989), Fox-Keller (1984), and Pateman (1988).


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