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Philippe Vasset’s journey though the peri-urban: A challenge to cultural heritage and living testimony to existence in Paris’s banlieues

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
JournalAustralian Journal of French Studies
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 14 Sep 2018


Long associated with negative images culminating in the violence of the Clichy-sous-Bois riots in 2005, the Parisian banlieues are now increasingly being recuperated as the site of renewed encounter with the other and with diversity. Written at the time of the riots, Philippe Vasset’s Un livre blanc forms the case study for this article. Vasset explores apparently empty Parisian spaces that have been ignored or erased from the map. Writing against the gentrification and museumisation of the city, he takes the travel writing subgenre of the ‘récit périurbain’ in new directions to suggest a tabula rasa of many of Paris’s iconic monuments which he provocatively suggests would be more beneficially replaced by ‘friches’. I will firstly consider the ‘récit périurbain’ as a record of the real and an indictment of Neoliberalism before questioning the notion of shared cultural heritage and ending with the idea of the text as a substitute repository and living testimony to existence.

    Research areas

  • Vasset, banlieue, Paris, récit périurbain, museumisation, Neoliberalism, heritage, testimony, installation art

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