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    “I chose administrative procedures because even though I am European (in fact, I am Italian), a lot of administrative steps need to be overcome in order to be able to access certain rights…”

    “The fact that I don’t seem able to complete my paperwork prevents me from being fully included in the system.”

    “Since I really can't do it, this prevents me from really entering French society and that's why I chose this word, because even if I have the right to something, (administrative procedures) are an obstacle to inclusion…”


    Theoretical Background

    An administrative procedure is the act of submitting an application to public and administrative services in order to regularise a situation under the law of a State. There are steps which are inevitable and compulsory for those living in France; examples of these procedures might be filling out taxes and applying for a driving licence or the residence permit. Carrying out administrative procedures usually takes several stages, either online or in person at official institutions’ offices (such as a town hall, prefecture, etc.).  In France, administrative procedures are known to be complicated, and really time-consuming. Administrative procedure can lead to social exclusion. Didier Fassin, in his publication “Les nouvelles frontières de l’administration française” (2012), qualifies administrative procedure as a barrier and even a “frontier” or boundary. Thus, administrative procedure can lead to a feeling of “expulsibility” for foreign people (p.462).


    “Discrimination occurs when a person with power, or a person who believes they have power, performs unfair acts towards people whom they consider inferior.”

    “A very common discriminatory situation would be when a racialized person wants to enter a leisure place, a bar, a disco, etc., and the security person does not let him enter and prevents him from passing either because of his physical appearance, his way of dressing, his beliefs, etc.”

    “Another situation of serious discrimination is when a landlord does not allow renting his home to people who are racialized.”


    Theoretical Background

    Discrimination is the unequal treatment of a person or group for reasons concerning religion, social class, ethnicity, physical condition, political ideas, gender, sexual preferences, age, and mental health, among others. Discrimination is the denial of equal rights, based on prejudices and stereotypes (Fiske, 2010). Discrimination differs from prejudices and stereotypes in that it is not a belief, but an application of beliefs (Fiske, 2010), to unequally distribute rights, access, and privileges.

    Discrimination has varying degrees of expression: from violent hate-crimes to very subtle acts which might seem invisible, but which have significant consequences on the health and well-being of the person who is being discriminated against. Normalized forms of discrimination include situations such as receiving poorer service at stores or restaurants, being treated with less courtesy and respect, or being treated as less intelligent or less trustworthy. Such day-to-day discrimination frequently comes in the form of “micro-aggressions” such as misguided comments that suggest a person does not belong or which invalidates his or her experiences.
    Fiske, S.T. (2010). Social beings: Core motives in Social Psychology (2nd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
    American Psychological Association. (2019). Discrimination: What it is, and how to cope. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/topics/discrimination

    “Identity is the place in-between. I feel belonging to both countries, a social and political responsibility, as I want to shape both.”
    “I have two identities before and after war.”
    “From a certain age, you cannot live the mixture so well, because the identity lies in the past.”
    “Identity is the inner never-ending struggle.”
    “My Identity moves and changes with every city I live in.”
    “[...] People act all confused: “Oh you don’t know who you are! ” No, I know who I am! You just feel so uncomfortable with it and refuse to acknowledge the many ways of which I exceed your expectations and make you insecure about yourself”
    “We are constantly fighting to identify us inside of the tiny stupid boxes that people have in their heads. And we are the living proof that we don’t fit into these boxes but rather bust out of them, constantly.”
    “People say: Oh, that’s your white side – Oh, that’s your black side! - Why are there even sides? I am not a rubix cube!”
    “I can wear my long braids. I can be elegant. I can be professional. I can wear hoops. I can be Ghetto. I can be intelligent. I can be the boss bitch. I can be all of those things. Why not?”

    Theoretical Background

    Identity is how we conceptualise ourselves, the sense of who we are. Our identity provides us with our understanding of our place in the world. There are two aspects to our identity: those aspects that give us our uniqueness in respect to others, our personal identity, and; our social identity, what we have in common and share with other people, and also what we have different from other groups.

    There is a multi-layered nature to our identity. A large part of our identity relates to the range of social groups that we are in, our place in those, or the groups that we are not in and the social groups that others place us in. Derrida argued that an identity’s constitution is always based on excluding something and establishing a hierarchy between the two resultant poles. Therefore, identity is relational, that is, how we think about ourselves in relation to others.

    In the process of becoming rather than being, identities are built using the resources of history, language, and culture. They arise from the narrativization of the self, but the necessarily fictional nature of this process in no way undermines its discursive, material, or political effectivity, even if the belongingness, through which identities arise is, partly, in the imaginary. Due to this narrativization, identifications are never fully and finally made. They are constantly marshalled, consolidated, retrenched, and contested. Just as identities themselves, the term identity is constantly being reformulated. According to Fearon, “identity” as we now know it derives mainly the work of psychologist Erik Erikson in the 1950s and dictionary definitions have not caught up, failing to capture the word’s current meanings.

    “The sameness of a person or thing at all times or in all circumstances; the condition or fact that a person or thing is itself and not something else; individuality, personality.”
    Oxford English Dictionary (2nd edition, 1989)
    “The characteristics, feelings or beliefs that make people different from others.”
    “The state or feeling of being very similar to and able to understand somebody/something.”
    (Oxford Learner’s Dictionary)

    “Who a person is, or the qualities of a person or group that make them different from others.”

    the reputation, characteristics, etc. of a person or organization that makes the public think about them in a particular way
    (Cambridge Dictionary)

    Pehrson, Sam. “What is identity?”,  Identity, Conflict and Public Space, Queen’s University, Belfast.
    Hall, Stuart. (2011). Introduction: who needs ‘identity’?. In S. Hall, & P. du Gay (Eds.), Questions of cultural identity (pp. 1-17). SAGE Publications Ltd, https://www.doi.org/10.4135/9781446221907.n1
     Fearon, James. 1999. “What Is Identity (As We Now. Use the Word)?” Unpublished manuscript. Stanford. University, Stanford, Calif, November 3. Feng, Chongyi.


    “Racism is one of the most important problems suffered by the whole world. It is based on a theory of superiority of one group over another, belonging to different ethnic groups.”
    “It is basically an attack on human rights and justice and dignity.”
    “For me the word racism does not exist, because each person gives a different meaning/definition to it, although is a word most people talk about.”
    “For me, racism is for example when we are sitting in a bar, the bartender comes and speaks nasty to us. We think that being Moroccan does not justify this treatment to us. We have to stop this.”


    Theoretical Background

    According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, Racism is “a belief that race is a fundamental determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race”, which can derivate in “the systemic oppression of a racial group to the social, economic, and political advantage of another”. The word racism seems to have recent origin; in fact, there are no citations known prior to 1902. This does not mean that the concept did not exist in the past, as things might exist for a long time before they are given a name.
    The word racism comes from race, which refers to the categories in which society places individuals on the basis of their physical characteristics (skin colour, hair type, facial traits). Although many believe that race is determined by biology, nowadays it is widely accepted that instead it consists in a classification due to social and political reasons (ADL, 2020).
    Racism is also a form of intergroup reaction (which includes thoughts, feelings, and behaviours) that generate systematic benefits to the own group and / or generate a disadvantage towards another group based on racial-type perceptions (Dovidio et al, 2013). The underlying ideology in racist practices often includes the idea that humans can be subdivided into different groups that are different in terms of their behaviours, social skills and / or abilities, and that these differences are found in genetics and / or as inherited characteristics.
    The flagrant manifestations of racism and xenophobia are easy to sift through and most people have learned to censor them, but they have resulted in a large battery of grey comments such as “black people are very good at sports”. In these cases, a person can be more hesitant about whether these comments are or are not acceptable. In fact, a generalization comment does not become less generalizing — or even less racist simply because it is positive.

    ADL Fighting Hate for Good. (2020, July). Retrieved from https://www.adl.org/racism
    Dovidio, J.F., Gaertner, S. L.,Kawakami, K. (2013). Racism In: Dovidio et al Eds. The Sage Handbook of Prejudice, Stereotyping and Discrimination. Thousand Oaks: Sage.
    For further reading about racism:
    D’Souza, D. (1995). The end of racism: Principles for a Multiracial Society. New York: Free Press
    Fredrickson, G.M. (2002). Racism: A short history. Princeton: Princeton University Press
    Rattansi, A. (2007). Racism: A very short introduction. Oxford: oxford University Press

  • WORK

    “- I chose my job because I missed a lot working., In Albania, I worked for 2 years as a hairdresser. I stopped working one month before I came here. Now I can't work here. I miss it, because working is life, you are more alive when you work.
    - Can I ask you why you can't work in France?
    - Because I haven't got the papers yet…”

    “When we work, we feel included in society because we participate in it. We are not excluded from diversity either, but politicians try to separate, to exclude individuals, communities, races.”


    Theoretical Background

    The word “work” can have several meanings. It is generally described as a professional activity, which is periodic and paid: to have a job, to work. However, if we look at its meaning as “labour”, it also refers to any other activity whose purpose is to produce, to create, and to the maintenance of things: manual work, intellectual work. It can also refer to a technique requiring the use of tools or to work on a material (woodworking for example). Work is also something that involves physical or mental efforts, and hard work. It can also refer to something negative, which can or cannot be endured, or a constraint: to have work (to do). In 2003, Christian Baudelot and Michel Gollac published “Travailler pour être heureux ?”, in which they say that “happiness from work comes from the power to assert one’s humanity by acting on nature or society”. In other words, work is what allows people to define themselves, to construct their way of being in society, to strengthen their relationship with others and their view of themselves. It is at work that social and personal identity is constructed.

    “The starting point of allyship is to understand the difference between “I am not racist” vs. “I am anti-racist”.”

    “Allyship is the opposite of white silence.”

    “It’s about standing where discriminated people stand every day in their daily lives.”
    “You don’t always have to be mega active and very loud, but not to be racist isn’t enough. For example, not saying the N or M word is not enough. That’s not allyship. It’s not enough to watch documentaries. Allyship isn’t just not being racist. Allyship means being active in your everyday routines, otherwise you are reproducing a racist system.”
    “It is actively supporting Black and PoC people in whatever way you can.”
    “It cannot be that we now have to be grateful to our white friends for having some level of awareness.”
    “Allyship is an ongoing anti-racist struggle. It may also fluctuate, but it is not just a trend moment.”


    Theoretical Background

    In Merriam-Webster dictionary, Allyship is described as a supportive association with another person or group. It is an active and consistent practice of unlearning and re-evaluating, in which a person in a position of privilege and power seeks to operate in solidarity with a marginalized group acting out of responsibility.
    In addition, Amnesty International defines an ally as “someone who takes action to support a group that they are not part of. They develop strong ties to that group, while remembering they are there in a supportive role. They know to turn up when needed and when to step back, never taking the spotlight. Allies are not saviours; they know the people they are supporting can raise themselves up. They champion the needs of that group and use their power to amplify that group’s voice. An ally is an advocate within their own group/s to tackle ignorance and getting more to become allies.”
    Since privilege is intersectional, everyone has the ability to be an ally. However, allyship is a lifelong process of building relationships based on trust, consistency, and accountability and is not self-defined—work and efforts must be recognized by those you are seeking to ally with.
    Allyship is absolutely essential in a society in which large sections are structurally discriminated against and excluded. Only through true allyship can an inclusive society be built that is less about assimilation and more about the valorisation of diversity.






    “In this diverse world we are still living beings with feelings. Just as plants and animals, we are part of the earth, we accept ourselves with our differences, which we recognize as part of our identity.”


    Theoretical Background

    Wellner (2000) conceptualized diversity as representing a multitude of individual differences and similarities that exist among people. Diversity refers to the great variety of human characteristics (gender, origin, culture, language, sexual orientation, skills, etc.) in which we are different even though we are all human and share more similarities than differences. Diversity tends to involve things that significantly affect the perception that people who think they are the “norm”’ have of others. However, it is important to consider that diversity does not involve just other people, and that we are as different to other people as they are to us (EDUC 1300).
    We must consider that the dimensions listed above do not exist independently and for this same reason they cannot describe an individual, community, or population alone. The interaction of the dimensions which are part of someone’s identity is referred to as intersectionality (Crenshaw, 1989). Intersectionality focuses on how the dimensions can overlap and give rise to different experiences as well as multiple privileges or inequities.

    Crenshaw, K. (1989). Demarginalizing the intersection of race and sex: A Black feminist critique of antidiscrimination doctrine, feminist theory and antiracist politics. The University of Chicago Legal Forum, 140, 139-168.
    EDUC 1300: Effective Learning Strategies. Retrieved from https://courses.lumenlearning.com/austincc-learningframeworks/chapter/chapter-17-diversity-and-cultural-competency/#return-footnote-81-1
    Wellner, A. (2000). “How do you spell diversity?” Training, vol. 37, 2000, pp. 34-38.


    Justice can be defined in different ways:
    The institutional perspective where justice has the role of enforcing laws. This has to be approved by a parliamentary process. BUT, paradoxically, institutional justice can sometimes be unjust as the laws are often made by privileged people placed in power positions. Consequently, this same system penalizes the most vulnerable.
    From a social inclusion perspective, we think Justice would be served if the rules or laws were made in a representative way; involving in the decision-making process a sample of people concerned.
    Justice can be defined in many other forms, exceeding our countries and societies, for example an ecological justice that honours all life forms on the planet.


    Theoretical Background

    The concept of justice has been analysed and defined differently by philosophers, political thinkers, economists, sociologists, and religious leaders over time. It is also a concept that is always changing, depending on the conditions and circumstances prevailing in each age.
    From a grammatical point of view, we can relate it to the Sanskrit word “yii”, which means “bond”, or the Vedic language word “yó s”, which means “good, holy, divine”. This interpretation shows the connection of justice to a common sense of doing well. The Greek word for Justice is “diké” Justice meaning “a gift from Zeus”.
    According to the Larousse dictionary, justice has several definitions:
    • The moral principle that requires respect for law and equity; The moral quality that invites respect for the rights of others; The right to say what is legally just or unjust, condemnable or not, which is the law; The action by which the judiciary, an authority, recognises the right of someone; The institution responsible for exercising judicial power, for applying the law.

    Other important references are Aristotle, Emmanuel Kant and Thomas Hobbes. They relate the concept of justice, respectively, with equity, freedom and peace.
    Another interesting definition is the one from the North American political theorist, Michael Walzer. He says that the concept of justice is composed of legal justice, which means equality before the law; political justice that means one-person one vote, right of opposition and of speech, and all of the features of a democracy; and social justice that means equality of opportunities. For Martin Luther King, “justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love”.
    In terms of justice, it is only possible to affirm that there is no right or wrong, but different reference frameworks, contexts, and historical periods.

    References to go deeper:
    “Studies of The Theory Of The Norm And The Legal Order”, by Norberto Bobbio
    “A Theory of Justice”, by John Rawls
    Video: “What is justice?” by Hans Kelsen https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=akh1Xci1HY0


    "At the time, my parents didn't want me to marry my neighbour, and my daughter, who is in her thirties, married a Catholic man., She said to herself that if her dad didn’t want her to, she would marry him anyway. But at the time, I couldn't... there was respect, you couldn't say…”
    “That's it. I am Muslim, my husband is Christian. I respect him and he also loves me a lot, so he respects my religion.
    He has never said to me that I shouldn’t do Ramadan..."


    Theoretical Background

    Religion refers to man and woman relationship with the divine, with the sacred. This relationship takes the form of rituals, moral practices, and rites. For a religion to exist, there must be a belief in something supra-natural, i.e., something beyond the human being; or a faith. Rituals or moral practices may derive from it, such as prayers, which become the expression of the beliefs the religion is based on.
    The term religion can be used, in a more general manner, to describe a deep feeling of respect and veneration for a person, a value or a doctrine.
    Religion is often seen as a polemic subject, and it creates a great number of debates. The principle of secularism reigns in France. According to the Oxford Dictionary, secularism is “the belief that religion should not be involved in the organization of society, education, etc.”. Ostentatious signs of religious affiliation are not accepted in public spaces and services. Wearing the veil in public is thus a topic of debate in France: in 2011, Julien Odoul, an elected member of the Rassemblement National (RN), attacked a woman wearing a hijab while attending a plenary session in the audience of the regional council of Bourgogne-Franche-Comté. He asked her to leave the meeting because of her veil in front of her son. However, according to the French law, “only staff members who carry out a public service mission are bound by strict neutrality in application of the principle of secularism” (Nicolas Cadène, the general rapporteur of the Observatory of Secularism within the government, in an interview for FranceInfo). In March 2021, senators voted an amendment banning mothers wearing hijabs from school outings. Meanwhile, in the USA, Ilhan Omar, a veiled woman, is serving as the U.S. Representative for Minnesota’s 5th congressional district since 2019. As we can see, religion – or at least ostentatious signs of religion – can be a factor of social exclusion.

    “Belonging should give you security.”

    “Belonging to culture, tradition and religion is good as long as it does not turn into being intolerant, creating borders and hate.”

    “Belonging: it is easier to erase the past, nevertheless you won’t belong completely.”

    Theoretical Background

    In most dictionaries, “belonging” is defined in relation to places, situations, or people, to have an affinity or a secure, close, or intimate relationship with those. It is defined as being in the right place or situation and feeling happy and comfortable there or with a particular group of people.

    Belonging involves more than simply being acquainted with other people. It is being part of a group built on intimate relationships where we feel understood, recognised, accepted, and valued. It is to have a place where you are known and know others and where you experience meaningful mutual support.

    Belonging exists at the intersection of respect, community, and connectedness. Intimacy, vulnerability, and contribution also create a sense of belonging. Shared beliefs or ideals, a supportive environment, self-esteem, and opportunities for interaction can influence the development of a sense of belonging in an individual.

    The perception that one has of the self in relation with the community is also very important. The sense of belonging is the psychological feeling of belonging or connectedness to a social, spatial, cultural, professional, or other type of group or a community. It is also the belief, and expectation that one fits in the group and has a place there, a feeling of acceptance by the group, and a willingness to sacrifice for the group. The person that belongs feels themselves to be an integral part of the system of environment.

    Societies are diverse and when it comes to enabling as many people as possible to belong to society, it is important to understand how feelings of belonging develop and what can be done to create belonging.



    “A Sense of Belonging: How to Create a Meaningful Sense of Coming Home“ by Thrive Union https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uvvNAN56bWU
    “The Essential Power of Belonging” by Caroline Clarke https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RNiGny7OlWg 
    Raman S. (2014) Sense of Belonging. In: Michalos A.C. (eds) Encyclopedia of Quality of Life and Well-Being Research. Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-0753-5_2646
    to be in the right place or a suitable place (Cambridge Dictionary)
    to feel happy or comfortable in a situation (Cambridge Dictionary)
    An affinity for a place or situation (LEXICO Oxford Dictionary)
    the feeling of being comfortable and happy in a particular situation or with a particular group of people (Oxford Learner’s Dictionary)
    secure relationship; affinity(Collins Dictionary)
    close or intimate relationship (merriam Webster)


    “One day my child came back from school and asked:
    - Mum, what is a black man?
    - A black person, where did you hear that?
    - In the playground, there is a black girl.
    - So what, my darling, what is it? What happened in the playground?
    - I was playing with a girl and everyone told me not to play with her.
    - Why not?
    - Because she's black.
    He didn't understand black, the colour. He is three years old; he can't understand. Black colour? the colours, but black on a human being? I still wonder what he imagined at that time.”


    Theoretical Background

    Diversity refers to the non-separation of sexes, meaning mixing females and males. For example, the so-called co-educational schools do not separate boys and girls. However, it is important not to confuse diversity with equality: equality refers to having an equal number of males and females in a group.

    Diversity can also be social, racial, etc. and refer to grouping individuals regardless of their origin, culture, education, or social class.

    In France, a recent debate on non-mixed groups has emerged, as the government wants to ban such gatherings reserved for people belonging to one or more social groups and considered oppressed or discriminated against. Some people defend them, as they foster discussion free of any systemic pattern of domination; for instance, a single-sex group will allow a wider freedom of speech for women, without any form of patriarcal domination induced by male presence. The French sociologist Christine Delphy defends this view: “The practice of non-mixity is the consequence of the theory of self-emancipation. Self-emancipation is the struggle by the oppressed for the oppressed (…) Intended non-mixity, political non-mixity, must remain the basic practice of any struggle. ” (extract of an interview for Le Monde, 2006)


    “For us justice is equality – igualtat – égalité”

    Theoretical Background

    Social justice is an ambiguous term that depends on context: economic, historic and cultural.
    The Oxford English Dictionary defines social justice broadly as “justice at the level of a society or state as regards the possession of wealth, commodities, opportunities, and privileges”.
    The well-known academic John Rawls, author of the book A Theory of Justice (1971, 2005) points out that justice is about achieving a fair distribution of resources and freedoms that ensures equal opportunities for everyone, considering specific needs.
    Most theorists today agree that social justice goes beyond the economic to incorporate political, cultural, religious, and sexual freedoms, and that we should aim at a humanity liberated from all unjust social, political, and ideological constraints (Bales, 2018).
    The development of these ideas has also seen their coronation in official statements and guidelines, spearheaded by the United Nations’ (1948) Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). This document formally recognized “the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family.” (Bales, 2018)
    Bales, S. (2018). Social Justice and Library Work. Newland Park: Chandos Publishing.
    Rawls, J. (1971). A Theory of Justice. Cambridge: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.

    “The views on Turkey and Turks are not the same in every piece of media. There are different shades. But the media doesn’t write about individuals. it’s political, they are politically motivated - from Turkey as well. The Turkish government is culpable for how badly people talk and write about Turkey.”

    “People should not look at female migrants and their experiences and views as if they are looking at animals in a zoo. “Oh, they have longing for the sea and the sun”. They shouldn’t know of things only by reading them from the papers or from hearsay. They shouldn’t exclude or exoticize female migrants but realise that migrants also like the sea, they also enjoy a good meal and personal relationships. These things can also apply to an Austrian, a German, or a Spaniard. We are not special because of it. We are human and full of contradictions and longing, but we are not the only ones who are that way.”


    Theoretical Background

    Most dictionaries provide different definitions of the word “representation”:
    a person or organization that speaks, acts, or is present officially for someone else the way that someone or something is shown or described a sign, picture, model, etc. of something: the fact of including different types of people, for example in films, politics, or sport, so that all different groups are represented:
    (Cambridge Dictionary)
    Because the term is used in a wide range of fields such as psychology and philosophy, film and literary studies, media and communication, art and visual culture, politics and government, sociology and linguistics, its meaning has different uses and nuances.
    Immanuel Kant already claimed in his works that an external environment is necessary for the establishment of the self: “I am conscious of the identical self in regard to the manifold of the representations that are given to me in an intuition because I call them all together my representations, which constitute one.” Although there is no empirical way of observing the self, we can have different perceptions of the external environment over time. By uniting these representations into one, we can see how a transcendental self emerges. A key point that might be controversial is whether representations are objects of ultimate awareness or are merely a vehicle for such awareness.
    The Zulu greeting Sawubona, meaning “I see you”; traditionally invokes the response Sikhona, which means “I am here to be seen”. It is a powerful acknowledgement of an existence and implies that something does not exist until it is seen by something external, until it is represented by this external environment.
    In this sense, representation is not an after-occurrence activity, but a constitutive one. Something has no real and fixed meaning until it has been represented (could it be by media, society, politics, etc.). These representations are not reflections of things that already have meaning, things that happen in reality will have the meaning given by the meaning makers. Therefore, these representations also convey the attitude of the meaning makers towards what is being represented. The question is, who has the power to represent these meanings?
    Representation is fundamental to people’s existence. It is how we understand our environment and ourselves and help us in the process of being and becoming. Through the different representations to which people have access we produce ourselves and our idea of the world. Representation frames the ever-changing world, and it is a meaningful civic engagement. It inspires the next generation, gives a sense of the possible and allows to envision a more inclusive future.
    “Stuart Hall’s Representation Theory Explained! Media Studies revision” by The Media Insider https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yJr0gO_-w_Q

    Webb, J. (2009). Introduction: the terms of representation. In Understanding representation (pp. 1-14). SAGE Publications Ltd, https://www.doi.org/10.4135/9781446213131.n1
    “Kant: Philosphy of Mind” by Colin McLear
    “Why representation matters” by Jesse Beason https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TiheM6wSwes

    "Belonging means a sense of we, means having one voice, means we are all together in one community."

    "It means standing up for the same thing, being here for the same purpose.”

    "Community means feeling included, valued, lifted at 100%."

    "Community means belonging means the absence of identity struggles."

    Theoretical Background

    In the Cambridge dictionary, a “community” is defined as “the people living in one particular area or people who are considered as a unit because of their common interests, social group, or nationality”

    The idea of a shared location, identity or goal stands out in most dictionaries’ definitions. However, in other attempts to revisit and redefine this term, (Chavis, David M. & Lee, Kien, 2015; Pfortmüller, 2017) the need for a relationship is highlighted. Nowadays, new technology in communication and transportation means that communities no longer have to be composed of people living close to each other and global communities can be created. As communities can be characterised by age group, ethnicity, gender, religion, location, or profession, etc., they overlap, and one person can belong to different communities. These communities can be joined by choice, or one can be part of them by default.

    Community could be also examined from the perspective of its etymological meaning: cum munus. While cum, meaning “with/together” already gives us a sense of what community is. Munus can have different meanings such as service, duty, favour or gift. These imply a sense of responsibility towards the community, but this translates into mutual favour, a shared care, a gift.

    Pfortmüller, Fabian. (2017) What does “community” even mean? A definition attempt & conversation starter.
    Chavis, David M. & Lee, Kien.(2015) What Is Community Anyway? (SSIR)
    What Is Community Anyway? (SSIR).


    “Empowerment means for us to take strength and power from a situation that at first seemed negative and by fighting against it, achieving power.”
    “Before, in Africa, I was a truck driver, but here I can't drive. Before, I used to handle everything – that is empowerment –, but here I can't.”
    “Empowerment for me is having more opportunities than other people”


    Theoretical Background

    Empowerment is a process by which people gain control over their lives and get involved in the life of their communities through democratic participation (Rappaport, 1987), gaining a critical understanding of their environment (Zimmerman, Israel, Schulz, & Checkoway, 1992). To study the consequences of the empowering process, it is helpful to understand empowerment in terms of outcomes. Empowered outcomes for individuals might include increased perceived control (self-efficacy) as well as resource and skills mobilization (Perkins & Zimmerman, 1995). When thinking about empowerment, we can think in terms of wellness versus illness, competence versus deficits, and power to take action versus powerlessness.

    Perkins, D.D. (2010). Empowerment. IN R.A. COUTO (ED.), Political and Civic Leadership: A Reference Handbook (PP. 207-218). Thousands Oaks, CA: SAGE.
    Perkins, D. D., Zimmerman, M. A. (1995). Empowerment Theory, Research, and Application. American Journal of Community Psychology, 23 (5), 569–579.
    Rappaport, J. (1987). Terms of Empowerment/Exemplars of Prevention: Toward a Theory for Community Psychology. American Journal of Community Psychology, 15, 121-148.
    Zimmerman, M. A., Israel, B. A., Schulz, A. & Checkoway, B. (1992). Further Explorations in Empowerment Theory: An Empirical Analysis of Psychological Empowerment. American Journal of Community Psychology, 20 (6), s. 707–727. 


    “Freedom reminds me of when I was a child and people used to say: “your freedom ends where the freedom of others begins” “that is freedom”.”

    "The word "freedom" in France is an important concept, it is on the slogan of our nation: "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity", but it is clearly not put into practice! Behind it we can find the foundations of universalism which advocates a society where we are all equal... But without really paying attention to our differences or diversity in France. Not addressing our own diversity means that this freedom and this particular slogan will never be accessible.”

    "Freedom is a very important value, but this word is not enough. You have to accept yourself and others first, and then perhaps a well-thought-out life together where you can feel truly free.”


    Theoretical Background

    The word freedom (“liberté” in French) comes from the Latin “liber” and it referred to people who were neither slaves nor prisoners. It was a status reserved for citizens (people who could participate in political life). This definition takes us directly to the political dimension of the word liberty: I am free to do what the law allows me to do.
    Freedom can be also defined negatively (an absence of constraints), or positively (the possibility to do what one wants).
    Freedom is opposed to the idea of destiny and determinism: the sequences of events are just the consequences of causes that we cannot control.
    Many philosophers have thought about and debated the idea of freedom: for Descartes, freedom is not the possibility of doing everything, freedom is found in man’s attitude to accept the world as it is, and to adapt his desires to reality.
    Montesquieu proposes a similar definition for the idea of freedom: “freedom is the right to do whatever the law allows and if a citizen could do what the law forbids, he would no longer have freedom because others would also have that power“.
    Other philosophers think that freedom is an illusion: for Spinoza, man should not think of himself as “independent of the empire of nature“.
    In our society, we often hear that our freedom ends where the freedom of others begins. This thought was strongly reinforced after the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (1789). According to its article 4, “freedom consists in being able to do all that does not harm others: thus, the exercise of the natural rights of every man has no limits other than those that ensure the enjoyment of these same rights by other members of society. These limits can only be determined by the law“.
    Freedom as a political fact was thought of by the philosopher Rousseau through his concept of the “social contract”. He distinguishes between natural liberty and civil liberty.
    Even if we all have the book of referees, it has been a long time since human beings wonder whether we have absolute freedom, or whether freedom is only an idea.
    Philosophers, in turn, define it as the possibility of choosing well, in contrast to the concept of the possibility of choice, whatever it may be.


    References to go deeper:
    “Existentialism Is a Humanism”, by Jean-Paul Sartre 
    Video:  “Philip Pettit : How Do You Know If You’re Truly Free?” from TEDx Talks https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1rTEOU67zCo 
    “The freedom to be free”, by Hannah Arendt 

    “For us to have stereotypes is to have a preconceived idea about others. Usually, they are negative thoughts that increase the concept of “them” versus “us”. On the other hand, we do not think we can avoid them, but how to overcome them? And also, sometimes these stereotypes can be true, right?
    It is difficult to find a definition. It is an idea that has been generalized.
    For example, someone who has a lot of stereotypes about others will most probably be unhappy if the others do not answer to his/her expectations, this can be lonely and sad.”


    Theoretical Background

    “Stereotype” comes from the Greek word στερεός (stereos) which means solid. According to the Oxford dictionary, stereotype can be defined as “a fixed idea or image that many people have of a particular type of person or thing, but which is often not true in reality”.
    In our context, it refers more to the stereotypes about people, according to one or more characteristics: ethnic or social origin, gender, physical appearance, religion etc…
    The psychology professor Jacques-Philippe Leyens proposes this definition: “implicit theories of personality that all the members of a group share about all the members of another group or about their own group”.
    These theories are born from a categorization, where the differences between people of the same group are reduced, and the differences between the members of this group with another group are accentuated. If we take the example of gender stereotypes: they consist in saying that women are all emotional, and that men are totally different and much less sensitive.
    Stereotypes are not just ideas, they can have concrete consequences on the people who are targeted: in social psychology, there is a phenomenon called the “threat of stereotype”. When you are part of a group victim of stereotypes, and you are in a situation which mobilizes this “social identity”, these stereotypes can affect your behaviour.
    In the United States, two researchers, Joshua Aronson and Claude Steel, conducted the first experiment on the subject in 1995: psychologists tested two groups made up of black and white people. For the first group, they explained that this test would reveal their intellectual capacities. For the second group, they explained that the goal was only to study the human psychological mechanisms in solving a problem. The results show that in the first group, black people scored lower than white people, while there is no difference between the responses of white and black people in the second. For the researchers, the “stereotype threat” had been activated for black people in the first group: Aware of the stereotype that black people are less intelligent, black students may be under pressure from fear of confirming this stereotyping, which affects their attitudes. performance.
    References to go deeper:
    Video: “Battling Cultural Stereotypes”, Sadie Ortiz TEDxTalks
    Les Stéréotypes de genre : Identités, rôles sociaux et politiques publiques, Pascaline Gaborit
    Video: How Gender Stereotypes Influence Emerging Career Aspirations, Shelley Correll, University of Sandford


    “For me, it's just being outside the city, being cut off from the world..."
    “I had the impression that by living in the countryside, you were excluded from a whole life of dynamism that you could find in the city, but not in the countryside.”
    “Well, it suited me to live in seclusion... it suited me. There are people who prefer to live in urban areas. For me, it's the opposite. And even now, I would dream of living in the countryside, of being a bit far from everything.”


    Theoretical Background

    Countryside is a general word which refers to rural areas. The countryside is constituted by farmed fields and inhabited spaces. The word “countryside” has a lot of meanings. It is often seen in opposition to the city, since it is characterized by nature, in contrast to the urban and the artificial. Countryside has often a negative connotation: it is associated with degrowth and poverty. In France, an area of low-density population located in the countryside is even called “la diagonale du vide”: the empty diagonal. Countryside is also often criticised for its “emptiness”, mostly in terms of services and job opportunities. In 1947, Jean François Gravier published a book named “Paris et le désert français”, “Paris and the French desert” in English, where he describes the French territory as macrocephalic, meaning a territory centred on one city. Everything that is not urban is thus qualified as empty.


    “Equity for me is to provide opportunities for all people, without them necessarily having the same characteristics. These opportunities must respond to the needs and circumstances of each individual. So that equity can be applied there must be a strong sense of justice and empathy.”


    Theoretical Background

    The term equity refers to the principle of fairness and justice, and although it is often used interchangeably with the word equality, their meanings differ. According to the Equality and Human Rights Commission, equality means “Ensuring that every individual has an equal opportunity to make most of their lives and talents”, and it implies providing the same for all. On the other hand, equity is based on the understanding that in order to assure that everyone has the same opportunities, different tools and resources must be provided, accordingly to the existing circumstances and imbalances. Over the last years, the use of the word equity has increased thanks to concerns about social justice and a desire to finally give historically oppressed groups the same opportunities as anyone else. Minority groups are often given equal rights, but still are treated unfairly due to an unequal distribution and or access to resources.

    Equality and Human Rights Commission (2018, August 2). Understanding equality. Retrieved from https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/secondary-education-resources/useful-information/understanding-equality
    Dictionary.com. (2021) Retrieved from https://www.dictionary.com/e/equality-vs-equity/



    Theoretical Background

    Place is a word with several definitions. It can even be a noun or a verb. For this occasion, we will focus on two definitions proposed by the Oxford dictionary: place is a “person’s rank or status” or “a right or privilege resulting from someone’s role or position”. We are dealing with a definition, then, which depends on an individual’s relationship with a group.
    Being in a group can be a factor that generates uneasiness, fear, and even anguish. We are faced with ideas, perceptions, and desires, some still unknown to us, and possibly different.
    Taking up Sartre’s principle that “it is first of all in the gaze of the other that each person grasps their identity“, we can consider that there is a kind of contradiction in this double movement of attraction and fear in the group. We are afraid of others if they threaten our identity, we have “the fear of being drowned in the mass“, the fear of judgement, “the fear of the gaze of others” and yet this gaze is structuring because through it the subjects discover themselves the object of points of view of appreciations which escape them. In other words, the group gives us information about ourselves that we could not find anywhere else.
    The term “place” can also refer to our position in society: From the moment we are born, and according to characteristics that we do not control (our parents’ social class, our assigned gender, our skin colour etc.), society assigns us a place.

    References to go deeper:
    La société comme verdict : classes, trajectoires, identités », by Didier Eribon.

    “to be unique”
    “To have uncommon characteristics that make us realise how different we are in a group. What is important is to be unique in a group, because otherwise you are not unique but just alone.”
    “To be unique is not an advantage or a disadvantage, it is a fact.”
    “To be unique can lead to being individualistic, being special, choosing something different from others. Sometimes, being unique can also lead to feeling excluded from a group, you tend to withdraw from the group, and this can lead to being individualistic, going your own way.”
    “Something that makes us unique can be a talent that everyone has, but also little things – height, weight, hair colour, etc.”
    “We are all unique!”


    Theoretical Background

    Singularity comes from the Latin word singulāritās, which means “being unique”. According to Oxford dictionary, singularity means “the quality of something that makes it unusual or strange”. If we know that each human being has his singularity, it can be made from a lot of characteristics: our personality, our values, our relationships with others, a physical trait etc …
    Indeed, if we are all human beings, belonging to the same species with its characteristics: two arms, thumbs, and similar organs. There is a process of individuation that makes us unique. All of us are therefore both unique and alike. From a biological point of view, individuation involves the transformation of our body throughout our aging life. From a psychoanalytic point of view, the fact of being unique makes us a “total human”, which requires a long work to find its way.

    References to go deeper:

    Video: « Embracing Uniqueness », Cassandra Naud TEDxTalks
    Uniqueness: The Human Pursuit of Difference (Perspectives in Social Psychology), C. R. Snyder

    “Difference are necessary to be different from a group or another person. Differences also help to discover different cultures and to share one’s own.”

    “We all have to cultivate our difference and the difference to make society a sharing society”

    “As for me, when I arrived in mainland France, I didn’t speak French well, just Creole, so I struggled to express myself at the bank to open an account. They told me that I had to go to school to learn French, and that motivated me to learn French on the job, on the street with people. For me, it’s getting to know these people, even if we’re different, and that gave me something more. This negative experience motivated me to learn.”

    “We said to ourselves that we can all learn from the differences, like Paul who learnt a language and did it brilliantly. We learn a lot from each other, from cultures, from food, etc.”

    “As we talked, we realised that although we were all different, we had things in common, such as our difference.”


    Theoretical Background

    The word difference (différence in French) comes from the Latin word “differentia”, which means “to disseminate” or “to disperse”. According to the Oxford dictionary, difference can be defined as “the way in which two people or things are not like each other; the way in which someone or something has changed”. 

    To establish a difference, there are an infinite number of criteria that can be established: weight, size, quantity, price, colour, manufacture etc… However, the meaning of the word “difference” here refers to the differences, proven or not, between human beings.

    These observations of differences can result in a value judgment, and a hierarchy between the different categories differentiated. As the French biologist Albert Jacquard reminds us, “this debate is typical of a misinterpretation of words and symbols forged by mathematicians“. Indeed, if we apply the arithmetic definition of difference, that means there is a possibility of establishing a classification for everything. We see the drifts of this differentiation which results in the creation of value judgments: sexism, racism, homophobia, and all forms of oppression based on a “different” characteristic considered bad. The difference refers to the notion of otherness, the one who is not us. The expression can have a negative connotation because it can evoke a confrontation between two things. Moreover, in French, “avoir un différend” means to have a problem with someone. The question of difference is also the idea of ​​standards: who defines what is different? Because the difference can also be considered as a form of strangeness.

    Many people considered to be different because of their appearances or their lifestyles, for example, claim this difference to free themselves from the judgment of others. This is the case of the Body Positive movement, a social movement that wants to advocate acceptance and love of oneself and its “differences”. 

    References to go deeper
    Worlds of Difference, S. A. Arjomand, E. Pereira Reis
    Eloge de la différence. La génétique et les hommes, A. Jacquard 

    “Homeland / Native Country is the past, my roots and my mother.”
    “Homeland / Native Country is a place where I have rights.”
    “Homeland / Native Country is a new word, it is the place where I live, drink and eat, and it can be changed with time.”
    “Old Homeland is memories, stories and feelings.
    New Homeland is the place where I find my dignity. It's not always the country you were born in, if this doesn’t give you dignity, freedom of speech and expression.”
    “Homeland is the smell of Jasmine, coffee and the sea.”

    Theoretical Background

    In the Cambridge Dictionary, “home” is defined as someone’s or something’s place of origin, or the place where a person feels they belong. While that place would be the same for some people, the place of origin and the place where they belong could be completely opposite for others.

    In the Collins Dictionary, the concept of origin is emphasised, while belonging is just a factor to this sense of belonging: You can use home to refer in a general way to the house, town, or country where someone lives now or where they were born, often to emphasize that they feel they belong in that place.

    In other dictionaries, the term is often associated with family and residence. And then again the places where someone’s family is and where they reside could be completely apart. Oxford Languages highlights time in its definition of home: the place where one lives permanently, especially as a member of a family or household.
    In the definition of the term “Heimat”, a German word translating to “home” or “homeland” and that has connotations specific to German culture and society so that it has no exact English equivalent, home functions as the close environment that is understandable and transparent, as a frame, in which behavioural expectations are met, in which reasonable, expectable actions are possible – in contrast to foreignness and alienation, as a sector of appropriation, of active saturation, of reliability. (Heimat in Wikipedia)


    “Power. Power is growing up, power is mutual support between those who feel different, power is understanding among those who do not comply with the norm, power is creating a network, raising your voice, using it as a speaker.”

    Theoretical Background

    The word power can have different connotations depending on the field of application.
    According to Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries, the word power can refer to the ability to control people, things, countries, or areas, but it also refers to the ability, right or authority of an individual or a group to do something.
    In sociology, power is considered a key concept, with several meanings and considerable disagreement around it. Max Weber defined it as “the ability of an individual or group to achieve their own goals or aims when others are trying to prevent them from realising them” (Weber, 1921). According to the famous sociologist, power is authoritative or coercive; it is something that is held, taken away, lost or stolen and it is essentially used in adversarial relationships between those with power and those without it.
    Power is usually given a negative connotation as it is seen as something unjust, something granted to a person because of its position or title, but it could also be seen as a tool to influence others positively, to offer support, to empower and reach communities’ goals (Miller, 2018).

    Miller R, (2018). Be Chief: It’s a Choice, Not a Title. Highlands Ranch: Authors Place Press.
    Weber M, (1922). Economy and Society: An Outline of Interpretive Sociology. Berkeley: University of California Press.


    “I used to live in Paris with my parents, but now I've been in Marseille for three years. There are certain places, certain districts of Marseille, especially when it gets dark and I am alone, as a woman... I feel that I have the right to be there; there is no law that forbids me. There's no rule that tells me Perrine, don't go there, but I have the impression that in this urban space, women, because there are many more men, etc., are not included. There is no inclusion, even if legally there is no problem. And sometimes, I know that it's a little trick, but I force myself to go during the day, rather than in the evening. I force myself to go into neighbourhoods where there are very, very few women to leave my mark and try to force this social inclusion because, otherwise, it will not happen. Sometimes I force myself to do this. But during the day, not at night.”


    Theoretical Background

    According to the geographical definition, the urban space is associated with a “metropolitan area”. It is a set of urban areas, which are continuous, and in which at least 40% of the labour force is working.
    Now, urban spaces refer to cities’ spaces, usually public. These urban spaces are the streets, avenues, shopping centres. They are characterized by social interactions: the city is made by the “co-presence”, living, practicing, and roaming in the streets of several people. Furthermore, the city is often associated with density, concentration of people and buildings. Urban spaces constitute a non-neutral area: they are gendered spaces and can reflect forms of domination (such as gendered dominations). A new movement in France of young feminists called “Collages Feminicides”, tries to reclaim these spaces. In a publication called “Le genre de la nuit. Espace sensible” (2019), Pascale Lapalud and Chris Blach, two scientists working on town planning, say that the urban space “symbolically and physically constrains or alters the movement of women and non-binary, lesbian, gay, trans people, particularly at night”. Thus, urban spaces are not places of equality. Most of all, they are complex spaces: they are places of sociability, but also of activism or of simple gateways. Finally, as we can see with the example of Collages Feminicides, they are places of power struggles.