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PL30900: Les banlieues de la République

[Page last updated: 05 August 2021]

Academic Year: 2021/2
Owning Department/School: Department of Politics, Languages and International Studies
Credits: 6 [equivalent to 12 CATS credits]
Notional Study Hours: 120
Level: Honours (FHEQ level 6)
Semester 2
Assessment Summary: CW 33%, ES 67%
Assessment Detail:
  • Debate (CW 16%)
  • Write up (CW 17%)
  • Essay (ES 67%)
Supplementary Assessment:
Like-for-like reassessment (where allowed by programme regulations)
Aims: The French suburbs have been the centre of public attention since the early 1980s as the sites of urban violence and rioting. Progressively, the word 'banlieue' has become synonymous with a series of social issues including urban deprivation, immigration, unemployment, drug abuse, delinquency, inter-racial conflict, Islamic fundamentalism, and discrimination against women. The aim of the unit is to
* provide an introduction to the making of the French banlieue since the 1960s;
* investigate how French suburbs are represented in visual documents (photographs, documentaries, films), texts (press articles, policy documents, novels, testimonies) and popular culture (rap, cartoons, clips) either as stigmatised ghettos or, alternatively, as hubs of creativity;
* examine the ways in which immigration, multiculturalism and ethnic, social and religious diversity have affected society and urban development in France.

Learning Outcomes: A student who completes the unit will be able to:
* Demonstrate understanding of contemporary social issues in France, as well as their interaction and development, from the 1980s until today;
* Reflect critically on and interpret French texts with reference to their social and cultural background and significance;
* Show knowledge of how successive urban policies have impacted life in the suburbs and how the image of the banlieues has evolved in public imagination since the first urban unrests in the 1980s to the large scale riots in the 2000s.

Skills: Critical analysis, conceptual thinking, precision in the use of written and spoken language, exercise of independent judgement, reasoned argument, the planning and conduct of non-quantitative research are taught in this unit. Skills in effective learning and language are also developed.

Content: The major themes studies are:
* Built environment from utopian visions to urban renewal programmes;
* The process of ghettoisation and the escalating of urban violence;
* The myth of banlieue youth and its conflict with the police;
* Urban policies, political disengagement and participatory processes;
* Stigmatisation in media and political discourses;
* Urban subculture, creativity, and alternative representations in various art forms;
* Future visions of the banlieue
The unit is taught and assessed in French.

Programme availability:

PL30900 is Optional on the following programmes:

Department of Politics, Languages and International Studies
  • UHPL-AYB13 : BA(Hons) French and Politics with Year Abroad (Year 4)
  • UHPL-AYB08 : BA(Hons) Modern Languages and European Studies (French and ab initio Italian) with Year Abroad (Year 4)
  • UHPL-AYB05 : BA(Hons) Modern Languages and European Studies (French and German) with Year Abroad (Year 4)
  • UHPL-AYB18 : BA(Hons) Modern Languages and European Studies (French and Spanish) with Year Abroad (Year 4)
  • UXXX-AYB05 : BSc(Hons) International Management and Modern Languages (French) with Year Abroad (Year 4)


  • This unit catalogue is applicable for the 2021/22 academic year only. Students continuing their studies into 2022/23 and beyond should not assume that this unit will be available in future years in the format displayed here for 2021/22.
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