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Assimilation, Hospitality, and the Politics of Identity in Albert Memmi

Assimilation, Hospitality, and the Politics of Identity in Albert Memmi Aimée Israel- Pelletier Et tous ces problèmes d'identité, comme on dit si bêtement aujourd'hui. --Derrida, Le Monolinguisme de l'autre In essays, novels, and poems Albert Memmi describes a world where boundaries are disappearing, assimilation is an incontrovertible fact, and hospitality is the question of the moment. More ambitiously, his work describes an endgame where the very notion of identity as a central organizing structure must be devalorized to make coexistence possible. Without dismissing the veritable appeal strong centers of consciousness enjoy in our culture, his work destabilizes singularity and demystifies the drama of personal history. Unquestionably, Memmi's work acknowledges that the personal dimension, that identity, that the sense of belonging to families of individuals, count in the lives of communities. However, his work allows us to contemplate what communities gain when they take the spotlight off of identity. Identities are built around perceived opposition and difference. Memmi's work problematizes the notion of a fixed identity and maps out a relational model to dethrone the self, to decenter it and neutralize it, as it were. I will argue here that both his polemic and novelistic works advance the notion that non-oppositional structures constitute the best terrain for promoting coexistence, http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png French Forum University of Nebraska Press

Assimilation, Hospitality, and the Politics of Identity in Albert Memmi

French Forum , Volume 38 (1) – Oct 11, 2013

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Publisher
University of Nebraska Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 French Forum, Inc.
ISSN
1534-1836
Publisher site
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Abstract

Aimée Israel- Pelletier Et tous ces problèmes d'identité, comme on dit si bêtement aujourd'hui. --Derrida, Le Monolinguisme de l'autre In essays, novels, and poems Albert Memmi describes a world where boundaries are disappearing, assimilation is an incontrovertible fact, and hospitality is the question of the moment. More ambitiously, his work describes an endgame where the very notion of identity as a central organizing structure must be devalorized to make coexistence possible. Without dismissing the veritable appeal strong centers of consciousness enjoy in our culture, his work destabilizes singularity and demystifies the drama of personal history. Unquestionably, Memmi's work acknowledges that the personal dimension, that identity, that the sense of belonging to families of individuals, count in the lives of communities. However, his work allows us to contemplate what communities gain when they take the spotlight off of identity. Identities are built around perceived opposition and difference. Memmi's work problematizes the notion of a fixed identity and maps out a relational model to dethrone the self, to decenter it and neutralize it, as it were. I will argue here that both his polemic and novelistic works advance the notion that non-oppositional structures constitute the best terrain for promoting coexistence,

Journal

French ForumUniversity of Nebraska Press

Published: Oct 11, 2013

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