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Political dispute over the status (religious/profane) of French territories


  • Camila ARÊAS

    () (Paris II-Sorbonne University)


This paper examines the interplay of sacred and profane concepts through television coverage of the debate following Marine Le Pen “catch-phrase” designating Muslim prayer in the streets as an “occupation”. By means of a social-semiotic approach, centered on symbolical and social-political dimensions of media meanings process, this study intends to comprehend how Muslim public prayers visual and verbal representations in television broadcast materialize the sacred and the profane dimensions of French public spaces. Our aim is to observe the way Muslim ritual practice transforms the relation (social-political and affective) to French territories, bringing into discussion its secular signature and neutrality principle. Our main line of inquiring is the interaction between sacred expressions (Muslim public prayers) and profane spaces (French secular public sphere) as well as the symbolical and social-political transformations resulting from such interplay. We are interested in observing how sacred practices and profane spaces are signified by the actors (journalist, politicians and social actors) that integrate this television broadcast according to different interests, strategies and political projects. We focus on the spatial dimension of media work in order to analyze the social-political stakes underlying this public debate that highlights the sacred and profane spatiality/geography of French public spaces.

Suggested Citation

  • Camila ARÊAS, 2013. "Political dispute over the status (religious/profane) of French territories," Revista Romana de Jurnalism si Comunicare - Romanian Journal of Journalism and Communication, University of Bucharest, Faculty of Journalism and Communication Studies – Universitatea din Bucuresti, Facultatea de Jurnalism si Stiintele Comunicarii, issue 2-3, pages 57-68.
  • Handle: RePEc:foj:journl:y:2013:i:2-3:p:57-68

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    Muslim prayer; public spaces; territory; sacred; profane.;

    JEL classification:

    • Y8 - Miscellaneous Categories - - Related Disciplines


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