The American ghetto is far more closed, penalizing and violent than the decaying French periphery' This introduction by E. Mingione to Wacquant's study summarizes the contrast demonstrated between the Red Belt', that is the French working class cities and the Black Belt' standing for the American Black ghettoes. Indeed, Wacquant's conclusion of his comparative study of La Courneuve and Woodawn is that there is a deep contrast between French and American urban enclaves. Although there are some morphological trends shared by both areas, it is said in his article that the negative stigma, the violence and bad organization as well as the segregation and cleavages in both suburbs differ. Nevertheless, last year French riots could seem to contradict Wacquant comparative analysis insofar that the French urban crisis seems as explosive as the American one. The unexplained death of two young people at an electrical substation while they were hiding from the police on October 27 in Clichy sous Bois led to two weeks of urban violence characterized by number of burnt cars and vandalized public facilities in urban areas in all the main urban areas in France. These riots emphasize the failure of the French social model as well as they can show an Americanization of French ghettoes.
[...] In fact, second generations of immigrants are more likely to live in these areas what can lead to a similarity between American radicalization of ghettoes and French ethnicization. Because of the deindustrialization and the crisis of employment that follow, these people are either out of the labor market or employed for inferior wages. At present it is more than questionable whether the gains in service sector employment will make up for the losses in manufacturing. People living in these projects are not only poor but they are also isolated from the rest of the society. [...]
[...] The violence expressed by riots in France last year and in the 1960s in Los Angeles can be compared. Both manifestations of violence differ in nature and degree. In American ghettoes violence is much more due to economical reasons linked with drug dealing and crime than the French cites as violence is expressed to show anger and hopelessness against the state's inability to solve the segregation problem. Indeed, French rioters want political actors and the society to realize how deep the segregation is and how tall is the invisible wall between two parts of the society. [...]
[...] In order to do it, the similarities shared by both ghettoes and emphasized by the French riots will be explained. Indeed, it can be argued that the explosion of urban violence that occurred last year in France emphasizes an Americanization of French ghettoes. The intensity, spread and duration of these riots make them a novel phenomenon. Moreover, the urban violence was perpetrated against other inhabitants of these ghettoes. It can be said that the French society is experiencing the same kind of riots as Los Angeles in the 1960s. [...]
[...] Sociological terms and strategies of the American and French States can emphasize this difference. If American sociologists tend to speak of an underclass in opposition to the middle class, French sociologists use the term exclusion in opposition to inclusion. Welfare state and Workfare state are too different ways of dealing with the issue. It does lead to an over presence of the state in French cites whereas American ghettoes are desertified by the state. In addition, people living in projects in the Red and in the Black belt are experiencing a different position as far as the labor market is concerned. [...]
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