Accepted paper:

Stereotypes and emblems in the construction of social imaginatio: the case of a French "new city", Villeneuve d'Ascq

Author:

Michel Rautenberg (Université Jean Monnet)

Paper short abstract:

The general frame of this presentation is an epistemological reflection upon the means to identify and describe social imagination. Thanks to emblems, narratives and steretypes that have been produced in the "new city" of Villeneuve d'Ascq, France, we aim to show how is built this town's identity.

Paper long abstract:

The general frame of this presentation is an epistemological reflection upon the means to identify and describe social imagination. Our main hypothesis is that a good way to know social imagination is to discover thr Strereotypes and Emblems which organize it. Our main theoritical ressources will be the anthropologist Michael Herzfeld and the historian Bronslaw Bacsko who proposed the concept of "idea image" (idée-image in French) . So as to deep into our hypothesis, we shall take the example of the city Villeneuve d'Ascq, near Lille, in the north of France, where we enquired a few years ago. This city was created in the Seventy by the decision of the French government. Quite a lot of the inhabitants, and especially the seniors citizens, share some images and more or less mythical narrations of the history of the city, its identity. These images and narratives cross what we can read in local newspapers, and what we heard when enquiring the architects and politicians who created the city. But they also have quite a lot of specificities. Among those images and narratives, we shall tell about the mythical story of its birth, the link between people who came from all over the country and the well known friendly personality of the North's inhabitants, the enlistment of the "pioneers" in public life. Nowadays, we often hear that the town's identity can't be understood without paying close attention to these specificities.

panel W110
Enacting pasts and futures: memory, identity and imagination