"Here a Ghetto, There a Ghetto": The Value and Peril of Comparative Study

Melissa Nobles
2010 Urban Geography  
This commentary questions whether ethno-racial identities play no role in recent developments in France's banlieues, as Wacquant argues. Wacquant's point that the French banlieues should not be simple-mindedly equated with American "ghettos" is well taken. However, there is no doubt that ethno-racial identities are growing in political and social salience in France. There should be a way to conceptually take these developments into account, without interpreting them as mere replications of
more » ... eplications of American racial politics. I argue that Wacquant overlooks the roles that partisan politics and public opinion will likely play in either assisting or hindering his proposed public policy changes. Change, whether incremental or revolutionary, will depend on the ideas and actions of party politicians and citizens. I also ask whether recent assertions of banlieue identity might be interpreted as somehow violating French core values. [
doi:10.2747/0272-3638.31.2.158 fatcat:pygwxrkzbngrzgys7kstfbq5lm