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15 years after the riots: Reflections on Muslims in contemporary France

15 years after the riots: Reflections on Muslims in contemporary France

Date(s) - 11/24/2021
12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

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by Centre for the Study of Ethnicity and Citizenship

Centre for the Study of Ethnicity and Citizenship Seminar Series

About this event

French Muslims have been increasingly thrust into the political spotlight in the past two decades. The banning of the veil, and repeated Jihadist-inspired attacks have resulted in French Muslims becoming a key political issue for a broad spectrum of French politicians on the left and right, as well as for scholars, policymakers, and commentators in the wider political field. However, often too little attention is paid to exactly who French Muslims are and what varied and highly integrated roles they play in French society. Joseph Downing’s 2019 book “French Muslims in Perspective” attempts to open a discussion on two key issues in this highly contentious field. Firstly, it is an attempt to rebut problematic assertions of a widespread “Muslim problem” in France and rather situate French Muslims in the broader social and political contexts in which they exist. Secondly, stemming from this, it attempts to widen the debate about where Muslims, and indeed “Muslimness” are important in the contemporary French, and by extension European, field. This is done through a number of innovative methodological and empirical discussions of new forms of digital orientalism, social media narratives, and the roles French Muslims play in defending the secular republic and its values through their extensive contributions within the security forces.

Dr Joseph Downing is a senior lecturer in politics and IR at Aston University. LSE Fellow Previously he was a fellow in nationalism in the European Institute, London School of Economics and Political Science, where he teaches courses on global policy and security. He was previously Marie-Curie fellow at the Laboratoire méditerranéen de Sociologie, CNRS, Université Aix-Marseille Marseille, and the School of Oriental and African Studies, the University of London where he conducted a project on the discourses created about British and French Muslims on Twitter. Joseph Downing received his Ph.D. from the European Institute, London School of Economics in 2014. His thesis ‘Between Policy, Recognition and Rioting: Analyzing the role of urban governance, historical commemoration and public culture in defining inclusion in Marseille, Paris, and Lyon’ involved significant fieldwork in France. He was awarded the AHRC block grant “European Languages and Culture” full scholarship for the 2009-2012 period.

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