Spatializing Practices

Chapter 3 brought up a lot of very interesting considerations around the idea of space and belonging, both from the domestic Kabyle perspective and the immigrant perspective in France. Silverstein highlights many important spatial aspects ranging from changes in traditional spatial organization to contemporary issues of immigration and belonging. We can see how they issues are interconnected in the ways that they affect the trajectories of individuals lives and collective ideas regarding cultural and national identity.

For me, the strongest passages in this book are the ones concerning contemporary (at the time of publication) events or ethnography. The description of the tensions between immigrants and the rest of French society show they ways that larger problems regarding segregation (intended or not) and areas of differing income can play out on the ground. I found the story about the gym particularly interesting because it showed the complicated ways in which these tensions can explode on a personal level, and the ways that racist or stereotypical perspectives can worsen or arise.

The connection that Silverstein draws between the colonial disruption of housing scenarios and how this further disrupts socio-economic and cultural practices was an interesting point. On page 65 he quotes another Anthropologist, El-Hadi Iguedelane, who says, “With the appearance of the ‘modern’ house, [the Kabyles] witness . . . the disintegration of their culture”. While this is, at first glance, rather bold statement, Silverstein paints a vivid picture throughout the chapter concerning the ways that the ideas of “home” both from the individual and the societal perspective dictate the trajectory of individuals identity. This is an important observation because of the implications of this within a global economy where immigration and movement is becoming more and more common place.

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