Subaltern in France: A decolonial exploration of voice, violence and racism in marginalized social housing neighborhoods in Grenoble (France)

Dijkema, Claske (2021). Subaltern in France: A decolonial exploration of voice, violence and racism in marginalized social housing neighborhoods in Grenoble (France) (Unpublished). (Dissertation, Unversité de Grenoble-Alpes, Geography)

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This thesis seeks to rethink the stigmatization of marginalized social housing neighborhoods (MSHN) in France through a post and decolonial analytical framework. Its novelty lies in the application of postcolonial theories; first to the French present instead of the colonial past, and second to geographical areas of a former colonial power, instead of to its former colonies. This decolonial approach helps to analyze the ways in which racial injustice continues to be reproduced. In the context of terrorist attacks carried out in the name of Islam, I focus in particular on islamophobia.This thesis is situated in the critical project of making alternative realities visible that have so far remained under the radar of social science research and of making space for subalternized voices in academic research and in academic writing. Its focus is in particular on neighborhood youth and Muslim women.This approach not only consists of another way of viewing but also of another way of doing research. The decolonial explorations I embarked on are an epistemological inquiry into more horizontal ways of being in research relationships; they are a methodological inquiry into developing research methods that create the conditions for researchers to speak with marginalized persons on a basis of equality and motivated by mutual interests. These collaborations took the form of creating spaces for debate with citizen collectives that formed in Villeneuve (Grenoble and Echirolles), in the aftermath of paroxysmal violence. Within the neighborhood, violence has the triple effect of stigmatizing discourse, of silencing already marginalized voices and creating the urgency to act and to produce counter-discourse.Racialized inhabitants of Villeneuve feel that they are not treated as equals, that they are not considered worth defending and that they are denied the right to claim rights. They have the French nationality but are not considered citizens. Their second-class citizenship status evokes the fragmented citizenship that was typical for the colonial period. When inhabitants seek to challenge their marginalized position in society through political means, they are confronted with political demobilization strategies of the State, institutional, and other elite players. The latter negate their experiences, present them as culturally inferior, criminalize their actions and impede group formation and political organization. It is in this context that violence may become an option.

Item Type:

Doctoral Thesis (Dissertation)


School of Social Work > Institute for Social and Cultural Diversity
School of Social Work


Dijkema, Claske0000-0001-7967-2691


G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)




Claske Dijkema

Date Deposited:

28 Mar 2024 10:03

Last Modified:

28 Mar 2024 10:03


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