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In Their Best Interests

Diplomacy, Ethics, and Competition in the French World of Adoption

Sébastien Roux

Abstract

The international circulation of children requires a multiplicity of interventions. Adoptive flows must respect the ethical standards defined by the Hague Convention (1993) and be realized in the context of a drastic contraction of the migration of children for adoptive purposes. For a dozen years, the French government has been following a partially contradictory double imperative: the moral respect of universal principles enacted by international treaties, and the political maintenance of France among the adoptive “great nations” that are able to favor its nationals. Based on a multi-site field study, this contribution aims to shed light on the architecture, discourse, and actions of these “adoptive public agents.” Drawing on interviews and observations conducted in France and abroad, this article describes how bureaucrats act in practice to create French adoptive families, at the blurred and troubled intersection between the promotion of universal children's rights and the favoring of French national interests.

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Incarnation, Alienation, and Emancipation

A Sartrean Analysis of Filmic Violence

Daniel Sullivan

Abstract

In Critique of Dialectical Reason Vol. 2, Sartre analyzes a boxing match in light of a typology of violence. He suggests that individual conflicts incarnate broader forces of structural violence. He distinguishes between incidents of incarnating violence in terms of their broader social effects, as either alienated – commoditized or “mystified” and rendered illicit – or emancipatory – embedded in a collectively willed political project. This conceptualization is used to analyze two films, Aronofsky's The Wrestler and McQueen's Hunger. The Wrestler is an excellent meditation on the ways in which the violence of the oppressed is alienated in contemporary U.S. culture, whereas Hunger gestures toward the possibility of emancipatory violence. The article finally considers the act of watching these films as a Sartrean incarnation of violence.

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L'adoption internationale

Un facteur d'évolution de la morphologie familiale (1945–1985)

Yves Denéchère

Abstract

In France, international adoption developed in the 1960s and became an important social phenomenon in the 1980s. During this period, successive regulations led to differences in the ways the interest of the French child and the foreign child were treated. This situation also challenged the established norms of the conjugal family. Adopting a foreign child made it possible to “make a family” differently, and gave French society new forms of the family to consider that both shaped and illustrated the evolution of family morphology. Adoptive families also participated in debates on the concepts of family, kinship, and parenthood, and they helped to make disabled children and so-called “children of color” more accepted.

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L'humanisme et la question du langage

Sartre lecteur de Brice Parain

Hiroaki Seki

Abstract

In this paper we examine the dialogue between Sartre and one of his contemporaries, the philosopher of language, Brice Parain. First, after clarifying what is common and different in their backgrounds, we will see that Sartre and Parain share a common belief that language itself has taken ill, as a result of the First World War, an illness for which both feel a need to find a remedy. Secondly, we will show how Sartre's reading of Parain allowed him to construct a theory of language that is consistent with his own humanism and the principles of committed literature. Finally, we will examine the influence of the religious dimension of Parain's argument on Sartre's theory of authorship.

Résumé

Cet article examine un dialogue important mais peu étudié entre Sartre et le philosophe du langage Brice Parain. Les deux écrivains constatent un mal du langage, issu de la Grande Guerre de 1914-18 et de ses traumatismes que les mots proférés par les survivants sont incapables de prendre en charge. Dans ce monde « inhumain », où trouver un remède ? Pour Parain et Sartre le retour à n'importe quel humanisme implique une réflexion sur le langage. A travers sa lecture de Parain et ce qu'il propose, Sartre repense les bases de sa propre conception du langage d'une manière qui lui permet de développer son propre humanisme et les principes de la littérature engagée. Mais la dimension religieuse de l'argumentation de Parain, écartée par Sartre, laisse-t-elle des traces sur la conception sartrienne de l'auteur ?

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The Olive Grove of Rome

Romanization and the French Colonial Imagination in Nineteenth-Century Tunisia

Jessica Biddlestone

Abstract

In 1892, the French resident general in Tunisia launched the first state-sponsored colonization effort in the Tunisian protectorate. Based on Paul Bourde's study of ancient Roman agriculture, the colonization plan explicitly sought to remake Roman prosperity in central Tunisia by fostering the cultivation of olives. Examining Bourde's study of the ancient past and his work as director of agriculture in Tunisia, this article explores the connections between the study of the Roman Empire and the development of colonialism in North Africa. In tracing this history, this article highlights how the study and use of Roman ruins in French Tunisia inspired an appreciation for the role that technology and material development played in supporting the spread of Roman civilization and culture.

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The Other Children of the French Republic

The Government of Kafala by the Institutions of Adoption

Aurélie Fillod-Chabaud

Abstract

For several years now, orphaned children have been arriving from Algeria and Morocco for legal collection by families residing on French territory. While most Muslim countries prohibit full adoption, they do allow forms of delegation of parental authority (kafala) that enable abandoned children living in orphanages to be cared for by families. Due to the prohibitive status of adoption in Morocco and Algeria and the fact that France is required to adhere to the regulations of those countries, these children arrive in France without having either the possibility of being naturalized or adopted. This article interrogates the particular reception reserved for these children by French institutions by analyzing the reasons for the kafala system's relative obscurity within the French field of adoption, the measures deployed by departmental councils to assess candidates for kafala, and, finally, the alternative strategies such families use to adapt to French rule.

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Rapping French Cities in the 1990s

Blurring Marseille and Brightening Paris in Contested Processes of Boundary Making

Joseph Downing

Abstract

The scholarship on French rap has thus far paid too little attention to social boundary making. This is important given the long-standing sociological importance of territorial boundaries in creating and reenforcing marginalization, especially for ethnic and racial minorities, in French cities. This article highlights the process of boundary making by presenting an analysis of 364 rap tracks from the 1990s. The results demonstrate stark contrasts: 94 percent of Marseille rappers depict boundaries at the city level, while 68 percent of Paris rappers use districts (arrondissements and suburban départements) as the key signifiers of boundary making. Paris rap follows an established pattern of brightening existing socioeconomic and territorial boundaries through lyrics that focus on alienation and marginalization. Rap from Marseille follows a countervailing logic of blurring socioeconomic and territorial boundaries through lyrics that strive to capture a lived, inclusive multiculturalism in the city.

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Your Past Comes Back to Haunt You

Sartre on Pure Reflection in Response to Husserl & Levinas

Curtis Sommerlatte

Abstract

This paper examines how Sartre's early phenomenological works were influenced by Emmanuel Levinas's The Theory of Intuition in Husserl's Phenomenology. Sartre embraced two key aspects of Levinas's interpretation of Husserl: 1) that phenomenology is an ontological philosophy whose foundation is the doctrine of intentionality; and, 2) that consciousness's being consists in intentionality, which entails that consciousness is non-substantial as well as pre-reflectively or non-thetically aware of itself. In addition to adopting these views, Sartre also became gripped by a methodological problem raised by Levinas. Namely, phenomenology reflects on consciousness, yet reflection modifies the consciousness it reflects on. I argue that Sartre responds to this problem by developing two of Levinas's ideas: that reflection is a motivated act and that reflection must adequately grasp consciousness's temporality.

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Ronald E. Santoni

Abstract

I have two aims: to analyze Jonathan Webber's analysis of bad faith and compare it to my own, traditional, account and to show that Webber's focus on character, as a set of dispositions or character traits that incline but do not determine us to view the world and behave in certain ways, contributes further to understanding Sartre's ‘bad faith’. Most Sartre scholars have ignored any emphasis on ‘character’. What is distinctive and emphatic in Webber's interpretation is his insistence ‘on bad faith’ as a ‘social disease’ distorting the way one views, interprets, and even thinks about the world. (Matt Eshleman also moves in this direction). But, again, this pattern is not deterministic. Early in his work, Webber tells us that Sartre does not claim that we have bad faith by ‘ascribing character traits where there are none but by pretending to ourselves that we have ‘fixed natures’ that e.g. preclude the behaviour or character trait of which one is being accused.

Though hardly disagreeing radically with Webber (or he with me) I do offer critical considerations. While Webber focuses on character, I focus on Sartre's contention that the ‘most basic’ or ‘first act’ of bad faith is ‘to flee from what [the human being] cannot flee, from what it is’, specifically human freedom. And I disagree partially with Webber's articulation of the ‘spirit of seriousness’, and strongly with both Sartre's and his supporting claim that bad faith cannot be cynical. I also demur from Webber's overemphasis on the ‘social’. For me, the root of all bad faith is our primitive ontological condition; namely, that at its very ‘upsurge’, human reality, anguished by its ‘reflective apprehension’ of its freedom and lack of Being, is disposed to flee from its nothingness in pursuit of identity, substantiality - in short, Being.

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Liesbeth Schoonheim

Kate Kirkpatrick, Becoming Beauvoir: A Life (London: Bloomsbury, 2019), xiv +476 pp. ISBN: 9781–350–04717–4

Simone de Beauvoir, Diary of a Philosophy Student: Volume 2, 1928–29. The Beauvoir Series. Edited by Barbara Klaw, Sylvie Le Bon de Beauvoir, Margaret Simons, and Marybeth Timmerman; translated by Barbara Klaw; series edited by Margaret Simons and Sylvie Le Bon de Beauvoir (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2019), xii +374 pp. ISBN: 978–0-252–04254–6