Sexagon: Muslims, France, and the Sexualization of National Culture by Mehammed Amadeus MackSexagon: Muslims, France, and the Sexualization of National Culture by Mehammed Amadeus Mack

Sexagon: Muslims, France, and the Sexualization of National Culture

byMehammed Amadeus Mack

Paperback | January 2, 2017

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In contemporary France, particularly in the banlieues of Paris, the figure of the young, virile, hypermasculine Muslim looms large. So large, in fact, it often supersedes liberal secular society's understanding of gender and sexuality altogether. Engaging the nexus of race, gender, nation, and sexuality, Sexagon studies the broad politicization of Franco-Arab identity in the context of French culture and its assumptions about appropriate modes of sexual and gender expression, both gay and straight.

Surveying representations of young Muslim men and women in literature, film, popular journalism, television, and erotica as well as in psychoanalysis, ethnography, and gay and lesbian activist rhetoric, Mehammed Amadeus Mack reveals the myriad ways in which communities of immigrant origin are continually and consistently scapegoated as already and always outside the boundary of French citizenship regardless of where the individuals within these communities were born. At the same time, through deft readings of-among other things-fashion photography and online hook-up sites, Mack shows how Franco-Arab youth culture is commodified and fetishized to the point of sexual fantasy.

Official French culture, as Mack suggests, has judged the integration of Muslim immigrants from North and West Africa-as well as their French descendants-according to their presumed attitudes about gender and sexuality. More precisely, Mack argues, the frustrations consistently expressed by the French establishment in the face of the alleged Muslim refusal to assimilate is not only symptomatic of anxieties regarding changes to a "familiar" France but also indicative of an unacknowledged preoccupation with what Mack identifies as the "virility cultures" of Franco-Arabs, rendering Muslim youth as both sexualized objects and unruly subjects.

The perceived volatility of this banlieue virility serves to animate French characterizations of the "difficult" black, Arab, and Muslim boy-and girl-across a variety of sensational newscasts and entertainment media, which are crucially inflamed by the clandestine nature of the banlieues themselves and non-European expressions of virility. Mirroring the secret and underground qualities of "illegal" immigration, Mack shows, Franco-Arab youth increasingly choose to withdraw from official scrutiny of the French Republic and to thwart its desires for universalism and transparency. For their impenetrability, these sealed-off domains of banlieue virility are deemed all the more threatening to the surveillance of mainstream French society and the state apparatus.

Mehammed Amadeus Mack is Assistant Professor of French Studies and the Study of Women and Gender at Smith College.
Title:Sexagon: Muslims, France, and the Sexualization of National CultureFormat:PaperbackDimensions:344 pagesPublished:January 2, 2017Publisher:Fordham University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0823274616

ISBN - 13:9780823274611


Table of Contents

Introduction: Enter the Sexagon
Manipulations of Gay-Friendliness
Vocabularies of Race and Desire
The Sexualization of Ethnicity, Now and Then
Not Queer Enough
Sexual Nationalism and the Rape of Europa
The Banlieue as Laboratory
An Eventful Home Life
Exposing the Arab
The Sexagon

Chapter One: The Banlieue has a Gender: Competing Visions of Sexual Diversity
Banlieue Girl Gangs and Muslima soldiers
Ethnographic Obfuscation in the Homo-ghetto
Capitalizing on Banlieusard Homosexualities
The Banlieue as Maker, Not Cracked Mirror, of the Queer

Chapter Two: Constructing the Broken Family: The Draw for Psychoanalysis
The Juvenile Delinquent
Mother Enablers of a Male Islam
"Be Careful What You Wish For"
Historical Echoes of the Colonial Delinquent
The Veiled Woman
The Veil, the Clandestine, and the Public/Private Distinction
The Impotent Father
Psychoanalysis, Assimilation, and Community Attachment

Chapter Three: Uncultured yet Seductive: The Trope of the Difficult Arab Boy
Sexuality, Ethnography, and Literature
Sexual Informants of Bad News
The Guardians of French Letters
Looking Hard
The Rehabilitation of Ethnic Virility
Atonement for Cross-Cultural Injury
The Arab Boy's Post-colonial Revenge

Chapter Four: Sexual Undergrounds: Cinema, Performance, and Ethnic Surveillance
Exposing the Clandestine, Intimately
Homosexualization and Acceptance
Rehabilitating Virility
The Sexualization of Authority
Big Brother is Watching You
Interpenetration of Communities
Sex Work, Immigrant Work, Travail d'Arabe
Image Control

Chapter Five: Erotic Solutions for Ethnic Tension: Fantasy, Reality, Pornography
Exploiting Exploitation
Stereotypes and Victimology
François Sagat, aka, "Azzedine"
The banlieue's Erotic Premises
From beur to beurette, a Political Loss
Domestic-Exotic Men

Conclusion: The Sexagon's Border Crisis




Editorial Reviews

Sexagon vividly portrays the context in which many French LGBT immigrants live now, under pressure for self-disclosure.