Man is an animal suspended in webs of significance that he himself has spun...

Monday, November 28, 2011

Identity and the Politics of Diversity

This gem was posted on the Linkedin group, Gestion des Risques Interculturels (a forum I highly recommend to you). In this video the discussion about identity is led by Nadège Ragaru of CNRS and her two guests are Dominique Schnapper and Denis Lacorne. Brilliant exchange among the three of them and some excellent comparisons between identity politics in France and in the U.S. It is in French and I wish very much that I could translate it for all the non-Francophones since it really merits the effort. Alas, I am not equipped to do so here in my Versailles apartment. It is also rather long but I encourage you to watch it in its entirety - a subject as important as this one cannot and should not be reduced to sound-bites. I will give you the quotation (with my translation) from Amin Maalouf's Les Identités meurtrières that Nadège Ragaru uses in her introduction.

Depuis que j'ai quitté le Liban en 1976 pour m'installer en France, que de fois m'a-t'on demandé, avec les meilleures intentions du monde, si je me sentais "plutôt francais" ou "plutôt libanais". Je reponds invariablement: "L'un et l'autre!"
Ever since I left Lebanon to come to France in 1976, how many times have I been asked, with the best intentions in the world, if I feel "more French" or "more Lebanese." I invariably answer, "Both!"

Ce que fait que je suis moi-meme et pas un autre, ce que je suis ainsi à la lisière de deux pays, de deux ou trois langues, de plusieurs traditions culturelles...
This means that I am myself and not someone else, and what I am places me at the frontier of two countries, two or three languages, and several cultural traditions...

L'identité ne se compartimente pas....
Identity cannot be partitionned.


Identités et politiques de la diversité from CERI on Vimeo.

1 comment:

Victoria FERAUGE said...

I re-read this post this ,orning and to my horror I discovered that I left out a number of accent marks in the quotation from Maalouf. Hopefully I found and fixed all of them. Feel free to let me know if I missed any - It's for a good cause since I need to do much better than this if I am to pass a written French exam. :-)