With the wave of disturbances in the fall of 2005, the French “banlieues” reached an international visibility, beyond the circle of experts in urban matters. The images of burning cars and confrontations between the youth and police circled the globe, revealing in an almost cathartic explosion, the quotidian tensions that exist in the French peripheries. Considered to be a “paradise of modernity” in the 1960s, these neighbourhoods suffered, since the second half of the 1970s, the effects of the disorganization of the working class and the social evils that accompany it: precariousness, unemployment, poverty, etc.
Since then, successive governments have generated different kinds of measures, initially social and urban, then police and judicial, in an effort to control the disturbances generated by this process. Therefore, what was first a social issue has gradually become an issue of security, radically reformulating the way in which obedience, as well as, resistance, is considered.
Laurent Bonelli, tenured professor of Political Sciences in the University of Paris Ouest Nanterre. He is co-editor of the magazine Cultures & Conflits (www.conflits.org). He has recently published La France a peur. Une histoire sociale de « l’insécurité », (La Découverte, 2008 (new edition 2010)) and directed L’Etat démantelé. Enquête sur une révolution silencieuse with Willy Pelletier (La Découverte, 2010) and Au nom du 11 septembre. Les démocraties occidentales à l’épreuve de l’antiterrorisme with Didier Bigo and Thomas Deltombe (La Découverte, 2008).