DS0805 - Droit, démocratie, gouvernance et nouveaux référentiels

Experiences of discriminations, participation and représentation – EODIPAR

Experiences of discrimination, participation and representation

The goal of the EODIPAR project is to assess the political consequences of the experience of discrimination. More precisely, we evaluate the individual and collective responses to discrimination in terms of political participation and representation. The main research question of this project is therefore the following: under which conditions is the experience of discrimination is politicized by actors?

Responding to discriminations: between politicization and individual strategies

The EODIPAR project aims at grasping the way the experience of (racial, religious and territorial) discrimiantions shape the relationship to politics and civic engagement of victims and more broadly of the residents of poor neighborhoods, in France, the UK, Quebec and the US.<br />The central hypothesis at the roots of this project is that there is a gap between the social demand regarding discrimination and racism in the French society (or at least of some parts of its population) and the «political and civic supply« aiming at tackling this issue.<br />On the one hand, previous research has shown that the experience and discours of discrimination is central in the relationship to society of poor neighborhoods residents, shaping their worldviews and values. On the other hand, pther works, less numerous, emphasize the weakness of the institutionnal and civic actions aimed at answering these expectations. <br />The central goal of this project is therefore to understand the reasons of this gap and potentially to find ways to solve it. More precisely, the two main goal of the project are the following: <br />- Grasping the way actors respond to discrimination, and in particular whether it leads them to collective action or on the contrary to isolationist behavior (identity interrogations, «communautarism«, etC.) or to individual strategies to get ahead. <br />- Grasping the way history as well as national and local configurations shape the experience of discrimination and the ways to respond to it. <br />Hence the comparative dimension of the project, both nationaly and locally (4 countries studied and 9 cities in total), which will all understanding how these configurations shaoe the institutional, social and political answers to discriminations.

The EODIPAR project is based on the realization of 9 ethnographic studies in poor neighborhoods in Roubaix, Le Blanc Mesnil, Villepinte, Grenoble, Vaux-en-Velin, Bordeaux, London, Montréal-Nord and Los Angeles. For all the cases, the same methodological protocol has been followed:
- 30 biographic interviews with potential victims of discrimination to grasp the way they eventually responded to their discriminatory experiences and how it shapes their relationship to politics.
This corpus of 270 interviews are currently coded and analyzed (to allow for a systematic comparison) using the discourse analysis software, Atlas.ti.

- Longitudinal observation of collective actions or public initiatives aimed at facing discriminations (through interviews with key actors, observation of meetings, of informal interactions, demonstrations, etc). Two collectives are followed in each city.
The goal is in particular to grasp the types of repertoires of action used to mobilize victims of discrimination, and their impact in terms of fighting discrimination.

A clear reasult at this stage is the centrality of the experience of discrimination and in particular racism in shaping the relationship to the social and political world for French residents of poor neighborhood. The iterative experience of inequal treatment - and the feeling of its denial by public authorities - jeopardize the very basis of citizenship : feeling being treated as «second class citizens« (a very frequent expression in interviews), many actors takes distance with public life. Thus, far from spuring mobilization, the experience of discriminations (even more when it is frequently repeated) limits the forms of participation and political representation in poor neighborhoods.

These results need to be solidified by taking into account both the social position of actors (age, educational level, residential status and trajectories of eventual social mobility) and the local history and configuration of the neighborhoods.

At this stage of the project, 2 main lines of work focus our attention:
- Finalizing the analysis of the important original empirical material we gathered, in order to allow for a systematic comparison of the different cases, and thus grasping whether the local and/or national context shape the way actors answer discriminations. This work will be achieved in particular by using the discourse analysis software Atlas.ti, and to compare collective action forms we will use synthetic tables and templates.

- The 2nd line of work deals with the writting of scientific articles. While several scientific events are planned for 2017-2018 (seminars, workshops, etc.) the main one is the organization of the final conference of the project in October 2018. At this occasion, we will present the main results of the project that willl be discussed by international specialists of this issue.

Concerning our perspectives of publics, we have set a very ambitious goal: publishing 2 collective books in 2019-2020. The goal is not to publish classical collective books as collection of monographies, but rather to write proper integrated and transversal books. While it is more work, it appears to us more interesting and possible given the very integrated nature of the project between the diffenrent cases. The first book will deal with the way the experience of discrimination and racism shapes the relationship to politics and citizenship for poor neighborhood residents. The second book will focus on collective mobilizations againt discriminations, coming from poor neghborhoods, and their effects and consequences for individuals, groups and anti-discrmination policies.

- Publication of a special issue of a journal and an edited book including several members of the project:
BALAZARD Hélène, CARREL Marion, COTTIN-MARX Simon, JOUFFE Yves et TALPIN Julien (dir.), 2016, « Ma cité s’organise. Community organizing et mobilisations dans les quartiers populaires », Mouvements, 2016/1, n°85.
J. Talpin (eds.), L’islam et la cité : engagements musulmans dans les quartiers populaires, Lille, Presses du Septentrion, 2017 (avec F. Frégosi, J. O’Miel, H. Asal, A. Piettre).

Organization of a conference and a panel at the general conference of the AFSP involving several members of the project:
- ST 50 « Expériences des discriminations, sentiment d’injustice et engagements dans les quartiers populaires », coord. S. Hadj Belgacem et S. Rui, 12 juillet 2017, Montpellier (with J. Talpin; M. Carrel, A. Purenne, S. Kaya, G. Roux).
Organisation of the conference « Résister à l’islamophobie. Les musulmans entre mobilisation et résignation en France et au Royaume-Uni. », Université Lille 2, 23 mai 2017. (présentations et discussions par Julien Talpin, Tim Peace, Houda Asal, Hélène Balazard, Alexandre Piettre)

Publication of 5 individual articles in international journals, 7 indivual book chapers in international books, 15 articles (single authored) in French scientific journals, and 17 individual chapters in French edited collections.

The goal of the EODIPAR project is to assess the political consequences of the experience of discrimination. More precisely, we will evaluate the individual and collective responses to discrimination in terms of political participation and representation. The main research question of this project is therefore the following: under what conditions does the experience of discrimination become politicized by actors? While the social suffering associated with discrimination is often important, to what extent does it spur or hinder the politicization and participation of individuals and groups? To what extent does the experience of discrimination lead individuals to civic and political engagement? Can stigmatization be a resource for the mobilization who previously engaged very little? What are the strategies employed by civil society actors to engage and mobilize people who are suffering discrimination? Can differences be observed from one city or one country to another? What are the implications of these variations for policy and politics at the local, national and transnational levels? Discrimination being a very broad issue, we will focus on three features that appear especially salient for contemporary France: (1) territorial discrimination; (2) ethno-racial discrimination; (3) religious discrimination.

The politicization of the experience of discrimination will be assessed at the individual and collective levels. At the individual level, the goal is to grasp the logic of the feeling of discrimination (mostly through in-depth interviews) and the social conditions of its politicization. What types of discrimination are mentioned and how are they framed by actors? Under which conditions do individuals relate their experience of discrimination to broader political causes, framing the feeling of discrimination through a sentiment of injustice? At the collective level, the goal is to assess whether collective actions emerge as a reaction to the feeling of discrimination, and if so, why and how. Finally, we will assess the consequences of such responses to discrimination. Does mobilization produce the empowerment of marginalized groups and individuals? What are the consequences in terms of local public policies and on social movements?

These questions will be tackled in a comparative perspective, in France, the UK and North America, in urban contexts, in order to assess the role of local configurations and national traditions in the politicization of the experience of discrimination. Two elements will be especially salient here: the level of social and ethnic diversity at the city or neighborhood levels, the political tradition of the locality. The choice of cases will allow us to vary the contexts of observation. The consortium will compare 5 cities in France (Lille, Paris, Bordeaux, Lyon, Grenoble), and 3 abroad (London, Los Angeles, Montreal). From a methodological perspective, the EODiPAR project will develop through 3 main phases.

In the first phase, 30 individual interviews will be conducted in each case (240 in total), centered on the experiences of discrimination, relationships to politics and political participation. In the second phase we will study the local dynamics of mobilization against discrimination (through ethnographic studies, interviews and direct observation). More precisely, local monographs will be written, focusing on the local struggles against discrimination. While taking into account their historical background, we will study contemporary associational dynamics. The study of these groups will focus on their strategies and repertoires of mobilization as well as on their reception among the targeted populations. The goal is to assess to whether such “participation supply” manages to find its public. The third phase will assess the consequences of such responses to discrimination on individuals, local public action and the social movements’ field, mostly through interviews.

Project coordination

Julien Talpin (Centre de recherches administratives, politiques et sociales)

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


CERAPS Centre de recherches administratives, politiques et sociales

Help of the ANR 394,055 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: September 2014 - 42 Months

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