Through a close look at events observed in three Guadeloupean voluntary associations—a retirees' club, a youth group, and a dance club—this essay examines the politics of leisure activities, helping to illuminate the ways that social capital operates in associations and how politics permeates everyday life on the French island of Guadeloupe. I consider the ways that Putnam's view of social capital differs from Bourdieu's. I argue associations are an important source of social capital for some marginalized members of Guadeloupean society who convert this social capital into economic, political, or social advancement. At the same time, social capital is unevenly accessible within associations and it operates in a context of political patronage. My data suggests that we need to rethink the concept of social capital to account for the complexity of the ways it works in society.
Social Capital and the Politics of Leisure in Guadeloupean Associations
Priscilla Parkhurst Ferguson, Jane Mayo Roos, Robin Walz, and Tamara Chaplin Matheson
Priscilla Parkhurst Ferguson Paris: Capital of the World, trans. Arthur Goldhammer by Patrice Higonnet
Jane Mayo Roos Paris in Despair: Art and Everyday Life under Siege 1870-71 by Hollis Clayson
Robin Walz Genre, Myth, and Convention in the French Cinema, 1929-1939 by Colin Crisp
Tamara Chaplin Matheson The de Gaulle Presidency and the Media: Statism and Public Communications by Jean K. Chalaby
Joseph Bohling La Lutte antialcoolique en France depuis le XIXe siècle by Bertrand Dargelos
Sally Debra Charnow Théâtres en capitales: Naissance de la société du spectacle à Paris, Berlin, Londres et Vienne, 1860–1914 by Christophe Charle
Philip Nord In Pursuit of the People: Political Culture in France, 1934–39 by Jessica Wardhaugh
Arthur Plaza Mobilizing Youth: Communists and Catholics in Interwar France by Susan B. Whitney
Romain Lecler The New Face of Political Cinema, Commitment in French Film since 1995 by Martin O’Shaughnessy
Jeffrey Jackson The Place de la Bastille: The Story of a Quartier by Keith Reader
Carol E. Harrison Heroes and Legends of Fin-de-siècle France: Gender, Politics, and National Identity by Venita Datta
Marie-Emmanuelle Chessel Women and Mass Consumer Society in Postwar France by Rebecca Pulju
Mark Ingram Trade of the Tricks: Inside the Magician's Craft by Graham Jones
Pepper D. Culpepper Contingent Capital: Short-Term Investors and the Evolution of Corporate Governance in France and Germany by Michel Goyer
Cultural Approaches to the Modern City
Victoria E. Thompson
Hollis Clayson, Paris in Despair: Art and Everyday Life under Siege (1870-71) (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2002).
Mary Gluck, Popular Bohemia: Modernism and Urban Culture in Nineteenth-Century Paris (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2005).
Patrice Higonnet, Paris: Capital of the World, translated by Arthur Goldhammer (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2002).
Alistair Horne, Seven Ages of Paris: Portrait of a City (London: Macmillan, 2002).
Colin Jones, Paris: The Biography of a City (New York: Viking, 2004).
Nicholas Papayanis, Planning Paris before Haussmann (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004).
Pierre Pinon, Paris, biographie d’une capitale (Paris: Hazan, 1999).
This article considers how the life of Aimé Césaire constitutes a template for the black presence in Paris. It concentrates on three themes: Paris as a (conflicted) symbol of liberty; Paris as an artistic and intellectual center; and Paris as a global city. It shows how, as the life of Césaire exemplifies, the black communities of Paris have seen the French capital as both a site of diasporic encounters and as a beacon of liberty. Like Césaire, the black presence in Paris has both challenged and underscored traditions of French universalism.
A Caribbean Genealogy
In the Département d’Outre-Mer of Guadeloupe, a schoolteacher named Hugues Delannay presents me with a conundrum that has preoccupied him for a long time. He has been teaching in a lycée for over twenty years in Basse-Terre, the island’s capital, and has had many brilliant students who, when they take their baccalaureat examinations, get mixed results. Normally, they excel on the written portions of the examination. Consistently, however, they do worse on their oral examinations, which drags down their grades. Why? It is not that their speaking skills are not up to par—far from it, he tells me, these students are articulate and speak impeccable French. There is, according to Delannay, a simpler, and ultimately more disturbing explanation. The examiners who give these students low grades in their oral examinations almost always come from metropolitan France.
Art? Artifact? Spectacle!
Designed by Jean Nouvel, the Musée du Quai Branly, the just-opened museum of African, Amerindian, Pacific, and Asian cultures, covers a city block on the Left Bank of Paris's museum row. Both in landscaping and internal layout, Nouvel wished to frame the building within his understanding of the cultures on display inside, but also within its setting in the metropolitan capital. Objects collected in the imperial age now are displayed in what French officials see as the postcolonial era. But how were the pieces on display to be shown: as works of art or well-made cultural artifacts? Nouvel took the lead in evoking a vision of the cultures on display that is closer to Joseph Conrad's dark tales than to enlightened contemporary scholarship and museology on these societies. Neither an art nor an ethnography museum, the Musée du Quai Branly is a spectacle about the societies of the global South.
French Cultural Policies in Britain during the Second World War
The Second World War challenged the well-established circulation of cultural practices between France and Britain. But it also gave individuals, communities, states, and aspiring governments opportunities to invent new forms of international cultural promotion that straddled the national boundaries that the war had disrupted. Although London became the capital city of the main external Resistance movement Free France, the latter struggled to establish its cultural agenda in Britain, owing, on the one hand, to the British Council’s control over French cultural policies and, on the other hand, to the activities of anti-Gaullist Resistance fighters based in London who ascribed different purposes to French arts. While the British Council and a few French individuals worked towards prolonging French cultural policies that had been in place since the interwar period, Free French promoted rather conservative and traditional images of France so as to reclaim French culture in the name of the Resistance.
William F.S. Miles
On 17 April 2008, at the age of ninety-four, the foremost Black French intellectual-cum-politician of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries passed away. Born in the northwestern fishing village of Basse Pointe on the southeastern Caribbean island of Martinique on 26 June 1913, Aimé Césaire rose from humble beginnings to become a giant in the annals of colonial and postcolonial francophone literature. As the holder of several elected offices, from city mayor of the capital of Martinique to representative in the National Assembly of France, he was also a significant political actor. He was largely responsible for the legislation that, following World War II, elevated four of France’s “Old Colonies” in the West Indies and Indian Ocean into full French states (départements). A dozen years later he founded a political party that would struggle to roll back the very assimilating, deculturalizing processes that statehood (départementalisation) unleashed.