European Commission - 7th Framework Programme European Museums and Libraries in/of the age of migrations last updated: February 2015

Workshop: The languages of the banlieues

12 - 17 September 2011

Paris, France | Les Laboratoires d'Aubervilliers


It is especially in today’s French Banlieues that the most diverse experiences of migration are condensed, revealing again and again the legacies and continuities of an ignored colonial history. However, views of the articulation of these experiences – the languages of the banlieues – all too often disperse into different fantasies of a certain deficit and a constantly self-obscuring surplus: while one side sees the sublime language of the nation deteriorating, the other sees a linguistic diversity of an almost Babylonian nature that, however, could also be a babel of languages; and whereas some, in view of burning cars for instance, see nothing but mute violence, others hear the crowing of a new revolution that has simply not yet found its true slogan. But what if the lack or failure of translation and articulation, which all these constructions in some way presume, first and foremost affects the social and political language of those who try to ban the banlieues in their own projections (only to turn them again into the “places of the ban”)?

It is against this background that the workshop “The languages of the banlieues” tries to open a space of exchange and reflection that relies on concrete linguistic and semiotic practices both in everyday life and the collective production of texts, music and pictures. The goal is to explore the specific inventiveness and creativity of these practices and their respective forms of distorting, hybridising and translating, along with the meaning they acquire in countering the hegemonic representations of “the banlieue”. Special attention will be paid to processes of social (self-)organization as well as the possibilities of political representation and political action in a situation in which there are no equal rights for all.

Participants: Amina Bensalah, Sonia Chikh (Les engraineurs), Françoise Dibotto Soppi, Anne Querrien, Abdoullah Ben Said (Musik À Venir), Boris Seguin, Carlos Semedo, Myriam Suchet.


Public Events in the course of the workshop

Illegal Cinema
Monday, 12 September 2011, 20h
Presentation of a selection of films of the collective Les engraineurs (Pantin). 

The Political Stakes of Translation
Tuesday, 13 September 2011, 20h
Discussion with Boris Buden, Birgit Mennel and Stefan Nowotny

TOX - Concert by and with Musik À Venir
Saturday, 17 September 2011, 18h
A dance and music battle of 40 youngsters around the collective MAV (Pantin)

In cooperation with: Les Laboratoires d'Aubervilliers


» link to the Workshop