Go to Top

    “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).


    “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.

    “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 


    “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


    “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)


    “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/


    “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. 


    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


    “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 



    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.


    “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.


    “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


    "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.

    “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

    “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


    “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.

  • 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.