HomeDes cultures populaires marginales au polycentrisme culturel quand la marge devient centre

HomeDes cultures populaires marginales au polycentrisme culturel quand la marge devient centre

*  *  *

Published on Tuesday, October 11, 2022


This aim of this symposium will be examine how marginalized cultures are constructed and produced. We will focus on the key players, the main artisans of this cultural production, as well as on the networks that result from it. We will analyze the concepts of resistance, self-exclusion and the hyper-center faced with the process of cultural polucentrism. These tensions will have to be thought of in terms of contemporary art, long time periods and historicity.



The perception of the margin in literary studies includes both the "appendix" as a mere expression of secondary, even subaltern ideas, and the "blank space" where nothing has yet been written, where everything remains to be done. Oscillating between the disqualified approach of the margin and that of the pioneering front turned entrepreneur of possibilities, "the term [on the margins] is thus synonymous with potentialities, self-expression and/or enrichment." But behind the literary metaphors lies above all a geographical, physical reality. The margin is defined as being "at the edge of", "on the external periphery of something" [and it] inevitably refers to spatiality", thus to the work of the geographer. However, these characteristics flowed into all areas of the social and human sciences. Anthropology and sociology apprehend the concept of margins to explain the so-called peripheral societies; history and political science, as well as economics, use it to explain the appearance, development and evolution of societies parallel to those that have a value of centrality, even universality.

In this ocean of uncertainty, the margin can take on various characteristics depending on the angle of attack chosen - geographical, economic, social or political. However, a common denominator exists, which can be described as "dynamic tension", that which remains between the margin and its center. Generating a pathway, it becomes a driving force in the emergence, construction and consolidation of a culture specific to the said margin. A polarization takes shape between, on the one hand, a center with more elitist, bourgeois or commercial contours, and on the other hand, margins with more authentically popular aspects. Its development would belong to the "zone" in the broad sense, to the periphery or to the so-called marginal fringe of society. The margin would thus be the place where practitioners would forge, without always knowing it, a concept of "resistance", as developed by Jérôme Beauchez in his study on the culture of boxers. But if resistance is created, then a tension between the center and the margin remains. And it induces a research dynamic that takes the form of a quest for cultural hegemony, leading, almost necessarily, to the hierarchical reversal of the poles of attraction. Thus, the objective of this symposium includes the analysis of the imbrication, the conflict and the interactions that exist between the margins and the popular cultures that develop there. To observe how the center of gravity can, little by little, mutate to arrive at completely reversing itself. The former center, now on the margins, gives way to the former margin, which has become the center. Conversely, the center can experience a strengthening of its position, and become the "epicenter", in order to better relegate the popular cultures of the margins to the "confines" of society. In this respect, the film Rocky is quite edifying. Indeed, the story of an Italian-American for whom everything becomes possible if he believes in the American Way of life and the American Dream is a demonstration of the instrumentalization of marginal popular culture. This narrative relegates to the borders of marginality the Italian-American communities that wanted to continue to develop their own culture in the America of the 1980’s. It reminds them, in passing, of their exclusion from the national community. This phenomenon can lead, in response to a desired or suffered situation, to "self-seclusion"

While we will ask the question of integration and disintegration of cultures, we will see how these two notions dialogue or clash in order to give birth to full-fledged popular cultures. The work of W.I. Thomas and Florina Znaniecki, as well as that of the Chicago School, were pioneers in this field. The latter can inspire us to put into perspective, as well as to compare musical styles.  Indeed, musical genres such as Punk, Rap and Jazz, as well as Klezmer, conceive divergent relationships to integration and disintegration in a society. By composing three distinct but connected poles, the centers induce their own hierarchy of cultures, categories and influences. The popular culture that stands at the center transforms the bourgeois culture into a culture on the margin, just like that of certain subcultures of the poor. Thus, the center becomes the margin. We must question this phenomenon in the light of intersectionality, by discovering the incidences on the elaboration and the manufacturing of cultures proper to the margins. But far from homogeneity, the margins know, also, of their own cellular subdivision, punctuated by a questioning of their own center.

However, the analysis of the processes of manufacture of the aforementioned popular cultures could not be complete without incorporating the study "of the makers of cultures". Therefore, while taking into consideration the key players who compose the production, the diffusion, the reception and the practices, we must also take into account these places, these vectors of production and diffusion of the aforementioned cultures. That it is the "zone" or the geographical margin, it will be important to understand their geographical mesh and the networking, to analyze the "infrastructure" as the historian Dirk Van Laak understands it. Finally, it will be necessary to work on the media that allow their diffusion, from linguistics (Martin Montgomery), to literature, through the performing arts, without forgetting radio and cinema.

It should be noted that many fictions, such as Rabbi Jacob, depict parts of the marginal popular culture, without however being one of them themselves. However, our study will not focus on the representation of the margins or their cultures within commercial productions or so-called elitist culture, but rather on the process of production of the cultures of the margins themselves.

Possible axes of presentation (non exhaustive list)

  • The music of the margins
  • Margins and body
  • Margins and sport
  • Linguistic issues and the concept of resistance
  • Non-commercial popular literature
  • The cultural production of ethnic and linguistic minorities
  • The culture of the urban margins in its diachronic perspective 

Terms of submission

Abstracts (approximately 400 words) and a short biography should be sent jointly to pcaofrance@gmail.com and to cfontannaz@unistra.fr

before December 1, 2022

and the validation of these proposals is 1 December 15, 2002.

We are also pleased to announce that this will be the third symposium of the Association Française d’Étude des Cultures Populaires and time will also be devoted to this issue.

Conference dates : 6, 7 et 8 march 2023. 

Keynote Speaker

  • Jérôme Beauchez, Professor of Sociology and Anthropology, Director of the LinCS laboratory (UMR 7069), University of Strasbourg.
  • Jean-Sébastien Noël, Senior Lecturer at the University of La Rochelle, Researcher at the Centre for Research in International and Atlantic History (CRHIA)

Indicative bibliography


Anderson E. (2000), Code of the street: decency, violence and the moral life of the inner city, New York, W. W. Norton & Company.

Beauchez J. (2014), L’Empreinte du poing. La boxe, le gymnase et leurs hommes, Paris : Éditions de l’EHESS, 2014.

Becker H. with Faulkner R. R. (2009), Do You Know . . .? The Jazz Repertoire in Action, Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Elias N., Scotson J. L. (1997) [1965], Logiques de l’exclusion. Enquête sociologique au cœur des problèmes d’une communauté, Paris : Fayard.

Havard G. (2016), Histoire des coureurs de bois, Paris : Perrin, Coll. Tempus.

Kalifa D. (2013), Les bas-fonds : histoire d’un imaginaire, Paris, Éditions du Seuil, coll. « L’univers historique ».

Kimmich E. (1998), Erstickte Lieder: Zensierte Chansons aus Pariser Café-concerts des 19. Jahrhunderts. Versuch einer kollektiven Reformulierung gesellschaftlicher Wirklichkeiten (Romanica et Comparatistica), Tübingen, Stauffenbourg Verlag, GmbH.

Kroubo-Dagnini J. (2011), Vibrations jamaïcaines. L’Histoire des musiques populaires jamaïcaines au XXe siècle, Rosière en Haye, Éditions Camion blanc.

Minczeles H., Plasseraud Y., Pourchier S. (2008), Les Litvaks : L’héritage universel d’un monde juif disparu, Paris : La Découverte.

Peretz Y.L. (2013), Les oubliés du Shtetl : Yiddishland, Paris : Plon, Coll. Terres Humaines.

Scott J.C. (2008) [1992]. La domination et les arts de la résistance. Fragments du discours subalterne. Paris : Éditions Amsterdam.

Thomas W.I, Znaniecki F. (1998) [1919], Le paysan polonais en Europe et en Amérique : Récit de vie d’un migrant, (Préf. TRIPIER P.), Paris, Nathan, Coll. Essais & Recherches.

Whyte W. F. (1943), Street Corner Society. The Social Structure of an Italian Slum, Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 


Beauchez J. (2018a), «“Gavroche Outside”: Street Capital(ism) and the Ethnobiography of a French Thug », Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, 47(4): 2018a, p. 508- 531.  

Côté. S, Girard C., Leblanc P. et Kurtness J. (2015j) « De la « Réserve » à la « Cité ». Migration interne et dynamique culturelle chez les jeunes des premières nations au Québec (Canada). Innus, Atikamekw et Algonquins”, Anales de Anthropología, vol. 49, nº 2, pp. 175‑205.  

Crémieux A. (2021), « Intersectionalité et culture populaire américaine : imaginer un monde plus inclusif », Myriam Boussahaba, Emmanuelle Delanoë et Sandeep Bakshi (dir.), Qu’est-ce que l’intersectionalité ? Dominations plurielles : sexe, classe et race, Paris, Payot, Coll. Petite bilbio : Essais, p. 209‑220. 

Crenshaw K. (1989), «Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics», University of Chicago Legal Forum, p. 139‑67

Imbert P. (2021), « De l’exclusion aux dynamiques polyculturelles : Les écritures autochtones canadiennes », Bernd Z., Andres B., Hookoomsing V. Y. Hookoomsing dir.), D’Haïti aux trois Amériques. Hommage à Maximilien LAROCHE, Québec : Groupe de recherche sur les littératures de la Caraïbe (GRELCA), Coll. « Essais », nº 22pp. 185‑204.

Laak D. (v), « Infrastructures », Docupedia-Zeitgeschichte, 20.05.2021. URL: http://docupedia.de/zg/laak_infrastructures_v1_en_2021

Noël J-S. (2012), New York, évolution d’un centre de la vie musicale juive au XXe siècle, Annales de l’Est, Association d’historiens de l’Est, Histoire urbaine, histoire politique, pp. 83‑96


  • MISHA - 5 allée du Général Rouvillois
    Strasbourg, France (67000)

Event attendance modalities

Hybrid event (on site and online)


  • Thursday, December 01, 2022


  • culture, populaire, marge, marginalité, cultural studies, gender studies, decolonial studies


  • Clément Fontannaz
    courriel : klementz [dot] fontannaz [at] gmail [dot] com
  • David Lipson
    courriel : lipson [at] unistra [dot] fr

Information source

  • Clément Fontannaz
    courriel : klementz [dot] fontannaz [at] gmail [dot] com


CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« Des cultures populaires marginales au polycentrisme culturel quand la marge devient centre », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Tuesday, October 11, 2022, https://calenda.org/1021409

Archive this announcement

  • Google Agenda
  • iCal
Search OpenEdition Search

You will be redirected to OpenEdition Search