• Amandine Catherine Liard
4. term, Global Refugee Studies, Master (Master Programme)
With the purpose of better understanding issues regarding inequalities among the French population, this thesis’ interest is in focusing on the voices of the second or third generation of immigrants from former colonies under French control. It attempts to answer this research question: What do urban music artists, when taking the self-attributed role of representants of the French population with immigrant’s origins, have to say about the way they are treated and publicly represented?
For answering this question, this thesis deploys an experience-centered narrative analysis of recent song lyrics written by French artists of immigrant origins, while taking Stuart Hall’s encoding/decoding model as an analytical lens through which to analyze the data. The presentation of the results of the analysis is structured into three distinct parts. The first part concerns the historical perspectives and current French political atmosphere, as perceived and described by the artists in their narratives. It is argued that the authors of the selected songs employ the framework of post-colonialism in order to highlight what in historical or current representation is creating, nourishing or reinforcing oppression. What’s more, the themes explored are colonization, decolonization, and the arrival of the first generation of immigrants from former colonies, as featured in the artists narrative, racism, Islamophobia, climate of suspicion. Building on the preceding arguments, and with considering two opposed conceptions of what rap in France expresses, the selected songs are identified as post-colonial expressions attempting to speak for the marginalized, stigmatized, or discriminated groups.
The second part was dedicated to the identity issues raised by the artists in their narratives. It was argued that they testify of difficulties such as social exclusion, discrimination, originating from the stigmatizing representation and othering perception of their identity and that was putting their Frenchness into question. The source of this othering perception was then investigated, with two main focus: origins and social status.
Finally, the third part, following the artists’ narratives concluding points, concerned the aims behind their various claims. It was argued that the artist’s narratives resemble a political discourse of opposition and that their main aim is resistance, through the actions of denouncing, proposing alternative frameworks and calling for action.
Overall, it was thus found that the artists were wishing to describe a life that is rendered more difficult for the groups they claim to represent, mainly because of a stigmatizing, inferiorizing or othering representation by the media, some political representants, and history as it is used by the French Republic, that had real-life consequences in the form of social exclusion and oppression. It was what’s more found that resisting this oppression was the main aim of the artists when writing these lyrics.
Publication date31 May 2018
Number of pages52
ID: 280135164