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The French RepublicHistory, Values, Debates$
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Edward Ducler Berenson, Vincent Duclert, and Christophe Prochasson

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780801449017

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801449017.001.0001

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The Suburbs

The Suburbs

Chapter:
(p.262) 29 The Suburbs
Source:
The French Republic
Author(s):

Frédéric Viguier

Publisher:
Cornell University Press
DOI:10.7591/cornell/9780801449017.003.0030

This chapter explores the political and social realities of the banlieues (suburbs). Over the last twenty-five years, the term banlieues has been mostly used as a synonym for cités, as the housing projects in working-class suburbs are known, or for grands-ensembles, a term representing the high-rise towers and low-rise blocks that constitute the projects' material and architectural form. All three terms now refer to the persistent social and economic problems of France's impoverished neighborhoods. The suburb has become a metaphor of social isolation and distress and the primary symptom of postindustrial France's sluggish economic growth and rising social inequalities. Banlieues, cités, and grands-ensembles have fueled an inflating discourse of panic, which, in its different guises, presents these territories as a threat to the social and political fabric of the French Republic.

Keywords:   suburbs, banlieues, cités, grands-ensembles, housing projects, working-class suburbs, impoverished neighborhoods

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