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Transcultural Teens: Performing Youth Identities in French Cités

ISBN: 978-1-119-04415-4
232 pages
May 2015, Wiley-Blackwell
Transcultural Teens: Performing Youth Identities in French Cités (1119044154) cover image


Transcultural Teens provides readers with a window onto the cultural and linguistic creativity of the housing projects, or cités, that ring Paris, showing how young people of Algerian Arab origins play with language in fascinating ways that subvert commonly held notions of intercultural animosity.

  • Provides solid, real-world evidence in the often abstracted theoretical debate on globalization and transnationalism
  • Offers detailed data on linguistic practices that is more focused than generalized anthropological studies
  • Includes the experiences of French-Algerian adolescent girls who remain largely absent from academic and popular discourse
  • Reveals the cultural richness and diversity of a population that is stigmatized and marginalized in a national context
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi

Introduction: Performing Transcultural Youth Identities 1

1 Ethnography in les Cités 8

2 Speech in the Cité: Style and Stigma 34

3 “Sans Problème” or “Cent Problèmes”? Revoicing Stereotypes about les Arabes 58

4 La Racaille and le Respect 91

5 “You Call That a Girl?”: Gender Crossing and Borderwork 114

6 Parental Name-Calling 154

7 Crossing Registers: Voicing the French TV Host 172

Conclusion 195

References 200

Index 213

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Author Information

Chantal Tetreault is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Michigan State University, USA. A specialist in linguistic and cultural anthropology, her work focuses on issues relating to migration and social change in France. She has contributed articles to journals such as Language in Society, Journal of Linguistic Anthropology,and Language and Communication.
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"...the relevance and deep theoretical underpinnings of Transcultural Teens offers social researchers robust case studies and strong practical examples of discourse analysis at work....a very relevant book that has been very well developed and organized. Tetreault’s well-constructed ethnographic research collection methods and discourse analyses provide not only a very clear picture but further frame this active and increasingly important context in deep social theory." - Anton Vegel, AAA Book Forum, 2016

“Tetreault’s rich study of the communicative practices of adolescents of North African Arab heritage living in France conveys with lively specificity how these young people negotiate larger dilemmas of gender and ethnicity.”

Jane E. Goodman, Indiana University


"A beautifully textured and insightful ethnography of how Muslim teenagers in the French cités literally talk back to stigmatizing discourses and collectively build semiotically rich, morally structured, transcultural worlds."

Paul A. Silverstein, Reed College 

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