Made in Marseille: Global Youth and Cosmopolitan Identities
Year of Dissertation:
This dissertation argues for the significance of hip-hop musical culture in the reformulation of French identity by socio-economic, ethnic, and racial minorities. Indeed, these groups, particularly the youth within them, are vigorously reassessing, refiguring and challenging the ways French identity is affirmed through an ensemble of dominant, mainstream discourses. Through the analysis of song lyrics, visual imagery employed in CD inserts/booklets, music videos, and strategies for promotion and production, I argue that Marseille hip hoppers active from the early 1990s to 2010 have used audio-visual modes as discursive tools to articulate hybrid cosmopolitan identities that contest essentialist notions of identity solely or primarily defined on the basis of the nation-state. The cosmopolitan city of Marseille, with its long tradition of emphasizing its difference from the rest of France, is my focus as the urban site that gives its voice to the youth culture at the center of my thesis. I thus investigate how Marseille rappers espouse a regionalist discourse that casts the transnational space of the Mediterranean, including Southern Europe and North Africa, as the locus of their negotiation of identity while affirming difference from a purportedly homogenous national center.