By Mireille Rosello
A groundbreaking textual content on multicultural matters in modern France.
Read or Download Declining the Stereotype: Ethnicity and Representation in French Cultures (Contemporary French Culture and Society) PDF
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Extra info for Declining the Stereotype: Ethnicity and Representation in French Cultures (Contemporary French Culture and Society)
The comic lesson in complicity offered in all these texts suggests that the heroes have learned a valuable lesson of independence: on the one hand, as dominant or marginalized subjects, we are constantly invited to use and abuse the immense reservoir of stereotypes that human memory has slowly accumulated over centuries. On the other hand, it is possible to find effective ways of declining the invitation without excluding oneself from the pleasure of cultural feasts. Page 21 Chapter 1 Stereotypes and Iterativity Le fascisme, ce n'est pas d'empêcher de dire, c'est d'obliger à dire.
But what is rather puzzling is that a stereotype can implicate us as participants not in a community (as insiders or as outsiders) but simply in the knowledge that the community is familiar with certain gender roles, ethnic roles, professional roles, class consciousnesses, and so on. In other words, we are not recruited as members: it is not even important whether we agree or not with the values alluded to by the stereotype. As Dyer puts it, "the effectiveness of stereotypes resides in the way they invoke a consensus" (1993, 14), but the consensus is a hypocritically welcoming ragbag.
In the presence of a stereotype, you are asked implicitly or explicitly to approve, to agree, to nod, and to feel understood and properly positioned as a legitimate member of a group whose identity is well defined and legitimately celebrated. 13 Their violence is difficult to address when the stereotyper thinks that he or she is extending a helping hand, a benevolent signal to join in. Oblivious to its authoritarian implications (my own identity is predicted and imposed), the stereotype lets me in, or rather implies that it is unthinkable that I may wish to decline.