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Notions of origin in Didier Van Cauwelaert's Un Aller simple: a child-narrator's political storytelling

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In Un Aller simple (1994), Didier Van Cauwelaert uses irony and storytelling to create a mirror image of political fictions about race, culture, and especially origin through the novel's child-narrator, Aziz. The novel theorizes a postmodern, post-ethnic remedy to the negative implications of identity politics through a complicated questioning of cultural narrative, and an analysis of the ways in which stories of origin reflect equations of power, especially with reference to the anti-immigration 1993 Pasqua Laws in France. Un Aller simple can be read as a paradigm of the use of narrative power in the political arena and, at the same time, resistance to that power through storytelling and flexible interpretation. Un Aller simple makes a clear case for a re-evaluation of storytelling through an ironic redistribution of the political consequences of perceived narrative authority in the politics of culture.
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Keywords: Beur; Clandestin; Cultural narrative; Flexible belief; Narrative authority (Chambers); Narrative seduction (Chambers); Pasqua Laws

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2003-11-01

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  • The International Journal of Francophone Studies offers a critical preview for a new development in the understanding of 'France outside France', with a thorough insight into the network of disciplinary issues affiliated with this study. The journal complements the thriving area of scholarly interest in the French-speaking regions of the world, bringing a location of linguistic, cultural, historical and social dynamics within a single academic arena.
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