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Comme un village méditerranéen: postcolonial North African Jewish de- and re-racialization in Sarcelles


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Built from nothing on the Parisian periphery in the 1950s, the neighbourhood known as Les Flanades in Sarcelles is perhaps the single largest North African Jewish urban space in France. Though heavily policed since 2000, Les Flanades had been free from violence. However, on 20 July 2014, violence erupted close to the central synagogue (known as la grande syna’) during a banned pro-Palestinian march. The violence pitted protestors and residents against one another in a schematic Israel v. Palestine frame leading to confrontations between many descendants of North African Jews and Muslims. Using that moment as a strong indicator of a broken solidarity/affinity between people of North African descent, Everett’s article traces a process of de-racialization, amongst Jews in Les Flanades, through the use of place names. North African Jewish residents use the local names of first-, second- and third-generation residents for their neighbourhood, ranging from from Bab El-Oued (a suburb of Algiers), via un village méditerranéen (a Mediterranean village), to la petite Jérusalem (little Jerusalem). Using the lens of postcolonial and racialization theory—a lens seldomly applied to France, and even less so to Jews in France—and a hybrid methodology that combines ethnography with discursive and genealogical analyses, Everett traces the unevenness of solidarity/affinity between Muslim and Jewish French citizens of North African descent and the messy production of de-racialization. This approach involves looking at shifting landscapes and changing dynamics of demography, religiosity and security and describing some tendencies that resist these changes consciously or not. Examples include the re-appropriation of Arabic para-liturgy and an encounter with a lawyer from Sarcelles who has taken a stand in prominent racialized public legal contests.



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This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in anymedium, provided the original work is properly cited. The terms on which this article has been published allowthe posting of the Accepted Manuscript in a repository by the author(s) or with their consent.

Bibliographic Information

Everett, Samuel Sami Comme un village méditerranéen: postcolonial North African Jewish de- and re-racialization in Sarcelles. Patterns of Prejudice. 2024: 39-60.  https://archive.jpr.org.uk/10.1080/0031322X.2023.2246302