Negotiating Arab-Muslim identity, contested citizenship, and gender ideologies in the Parisian housing projects: Fai'za Guene's Kiffe kiffe demain

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Author: Brinda J. Mehta
Date: Summer 2010
From: Research in African Literatures(Vol. 41, Issue 2)
Publisher: Indiana University Press
Document Type: Critical essay
Length: 15,582 words

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Abstract :

Fai'za Guene's Kiffe kiffe demain describes the coming-of-age experiences of Doria, a second-generation Franco-Maghrebi, or beur, adolescent of Moroccan origin, who lives in an economically and socially disfavored Parisian housing project. Doria's abandonment by her father, who abruptly leaves for Morocco to marry a younger woman capable of giving him a male heir, provides the novel's focus: a simultaneous critique of Maghrebi, or North African, patriarchy and a searing indictment of the socioeconomic and political disenfranchisement experienced by the residents of the "other France," namely, Maghrebi Arab-Muslim working-class immigrants and their French-born beur children. This paper demonstrates how the protagonist's negotiation of biculturality exposes the hypocrisy of the French secularizing mission, in which all markers of difference are suspect until they are assimilated into a homogeneous ideal of sameness. At the same time, social oppression produces a vibrant "vernacular" culture in the projects as a contestation of second-class citizenship, racialization, and mediated representation.

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A222315225