La Tunisie de Ben Ali. : La société contre le régime (Les cahiers de Confluences) (French Edition)
However, a look into newspapers of the day before the revolution shows that the bulk of Egyptian society was blissfully unaware of what was about to happen. Mais que dire du Maroc? Moubarak est parti comme une offrande au temple du marabout du coin: Avertissez-moi par e-mail des nouveaux commentaires. Fulani herdsmen killed nearly 1, people in , says Global Terrorism Index report: She quotes Peter R.
Knauss, Persistence of Patriarchy: Praeger, , Thisissue will be returned to in chapter four. Von Moos describes the mural paintings thus: Monstrous figures with mountainous limbs are often threatened bytool-like objects and pieces of cord cordage , a sense of demonic masquerade revels in their ecstatic gestures: They do not record the Moslem laws which determinedwindow dispositions and size, for example, or the social processes facilitated by theseapertures.
With such an easy transference of imageryfrom the popular realm of tourist memento to theoretical construct and then into built form,it is clearly important to understand something of the way in which such images may havefunctioned in the cultures for which Le Corbusier designed. None of these images can bedivorced from the colonial context and structure that produced them; they are not innocent.
MITPress, 21, entry In his sketchbook recording his trip across North Africa, Mozabite wasdistinguished from Arab and more significantly, the former was elevated above the latter according to thehierarchy imposed by colonial discourse. For a discussion of the different ethnic groups residing in Algeriasee Pierre Bourdieu, trans. Ross, The Algerians , rev. Beacon Press, Consisting primarily of articles about or by Le Corbusier and a few on competing projectsand recent construction in Algiers, they provided highly edited references to architectureand urban issues in the city. He seems to have relied little on sociological reports.
Nor isthere anything to indicate an interest in the cultural or political aspirations of the MoslemAlgerians as they themselves conceived them in the s; nothing remains concerning thedebates on colonialism then occurring. None of the critiques against colonial policy in4lj. Such critiques would have identified theorigins of the poverty that he saw in North Africa not with a racial predilection for thesimple life, as Le Corbusier appears to have thought, but with the colonial system itself. LeCorbusier relied instead on his own, albeit brief, foray into the Casbah, a topographicalrelief model and photographs of the site.
He used postcards produced for tourists andothers requiring recognizable signposts of the social and varied characteristics of the non-European encountered in the streets of the city. He drew upon the highly selective array offacts pertinent to the development of the city extracted from newspaper reports and wonfrom informers within the Municipal Council.
The questionnaire that he and Ernst Merciercreated to assess popular opinion on urban issues in Algiers was more a polemic for hisown planning policies than a fact-finding mission, it asked leading questions such as: Instead, his sources were largely popular; they were rarelyscientific in the sense of objective studies of health and education requirements forexample, and the celebrated financial assessments of his proposals were produced byothers. There were four questionnaires which merely repeated the questions withslightly different emphases. Le Corbusier also based his knowledge of the site on popularrepresentations of Algiers offered by pied noir writers such as Edmond Brua with whom hecorresponded in the early s, and occasionally the facts and statistics offered by Frenchinstitutions.
This will be discussed in chapter two. Editions Vincent et Frdal et Cie , Choisy establishes that Moslem architecture, while developing in parallel with Byzantine, and from thesame Persian sources is completely foreign to Greek architecture. He then goes on to include the familiarstereotypes about Islamic architecture, although less blatantly racist than one of his sources, Sir BannisterFletcher.
Although theyhave an ingenious elegance in vaulting, their predominant concern is decorative He points out the lackof concern for maintenance of monuments among Arabs Choisy concludes his comments on Moslemarchitecture by implying that its period had finished, that it was an obsolete architecture: The plan is identified as inspired by Roman, Persian and nomadic life.
The Casbah, he identifies as a citadel, oftortuous streets, mosques hidden among hovels, monuments in ruins. Ingersoll, responding to Bozdogan, also remarks that Le Corbusier derived his brise soleil from themoucharabieh of Algiers, gallicizing an Algerian form, and that he never intended to reverse the dominantposition, although he may have been sympathetic to the culture. This recreated for its European viewers the route by which the French had conqueredAlgeria a century before.
The Mozabite inhabit a very inhospitable landscape in the North Sahara. He had suggested the film maker Chenel, with whom he had in the past made filmsincluding those on his own works. Le Corbusier, letter to Ponsich 21 Feb. The filmdescribed above was proposed for the La Cite Moderne Exhibition. After views of the existing city andprevious French construction, the camera swept past the nineteenth-century buildings anddense urban fabric, drawing the eye forward in space and through time, to focus on hisurban project for the Marine Distirct.
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In doing so he insinuated his Obus project into thehistory of French endeavours in Algiers. Theories and Projects for Moscow Princeton: Princeton University School of Architecture Press, I have been unable to locate any copies of this film. The description of the film exists in letters from LeCorbusier and Emery.
Both had their specificconventions and uses, however, the fictional film had the most influence on popular opinion. As fictitious or fantastic asthese films might appear, recent Algerian cinema critic Abdeighani Megherbi has pointedout their underlying ideological content. Le Corbusier did not employ the easily recogniable themes of the fiction films on thecolonies--the denigration of the colonized, inter-racial sexual relationships, the colonizedwoman and European deviants.
There were no cunning Arab men or eroticizedMoslem women to convey immorality, no ruined aqueducts or churches to evoke aprosperous Latin or Christian past and thereby legitmate French claims to occupation. Hedepicted no marauding desert tribes by which to call up an irrational foe or suggestions ofinter-tribal warfare to justify the presence of the French military. Nor were there illiterateand destitute children in need of the mission civilisatrice.
See Megherbi, cinema colonial As he cinematically added his westernizing project to the lineage of Frenchintervention in Algiers, Le Corbusier also assumed the morality of the French occupation. In focussing attention on the Marine District and the Casbah his fantastic architecture andradical urban surgery might resonate with the heroism of solutions profferred to theseemingly irresolvable problems called up by these sites in other cinematic presentations ofthem. What the film conveyed clearly was the necessity to protect the French moral orderfrom any contamination from the Casbah or those choosing to live within it.
These motifs depicted not only progress via the technological mastery of the land and itspeople, they were also key signifiers of westernization. It, like the tractor in the film Le Bled, highlightedWestern technology as the means to French domination. It extolled the colonialinfrastructure, the harmony of Moslem Algerians and Europeans, the peaceful andcivilizing presence of French institutions and technology. Conquest and aggressivity werereduced to a seemingly benign symbol, the tractor, set within a spectacular landscapelinking Algeria with the myth of the promised land.
Although a eulogy to agriculture wasdesirable and workable at the time of Le Bled, by when Le Corbusier came to makehis film agriculture no longer offered the assurance of European predominance in NorthAfrica.
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The superior technology demonstratedin the film was intended to impress upon its audience the futility of insurrection and thecertainty of French sovereignity. M62jhad been noted by that, regrettably, agricultural settlement of Algeria by Europeans wasunsuccessful and most were gravitating toward the city. Les Hommes nouveaux avoided any cricism or comment on howcolonization was established. The bellions of local tribes were never shown as legitimate politicalopposition but rather as irrational violence directed against the French and their promised enlightenedgovernment.
It also portrays a conflict between an older generation of successful but violent Europeancolonists and a younger generation promising a more humane prosperity enabled by machines andmechanization. It was about Charles de Foucauld. In fiction films about the colonies themesand narrative structure were revised according to the anxieties which they sought tosublimate or manage.
Produced in the context of the Rif war, the film spoke assuringly ofFrench military and moral victory via the defeat of the insurgents and the destruction offamily bonds and hence Islamic social codes of honour which were attached to the Moslemwoman. In , assimilation would not have the calming effect it did in andthe Moslem Algerian woman, although Western-educated, was re-scripted to return to herhome and culture. The civilizing mission could no longer find justification for its programin westernization, nor did its public feel secure with assimilation proposals.http://www.zagogulina.com/scripts/50.php
In the fictionfilms, as in the postcards, women played a significant part in articulating the relationshipbetween metropolitan policies and public opinion. They were the tokens by which Westerndominance was judged and French morality confirmed. What appears to have been centralto the ideological structure of the fiction film was that French culture, pure anduncorrupted, was portrayed such that colons would recognize their duty to France andMoslems would understand their difference.
For this reason the promise of equality waspermanently withheld and fears of inter-racial alliances allayed. Although recalcitrant indigenous people and primitive cultural practices wereabsent from his film, they were evoked by the dense, overcrowded and archaic segments ofAlgiers which were the antagonists of his film. Pierre Sorlin has argued that the popularityof the colonies was due to the cinema which established France as superior to the backwardcivilizations of its Empire, and to the need of colonial populations for the impending war. However, the relaxing of those barriers that had protected French citizens from nativepopulations and other civilizations for pragmatic and national interests would produce newstresses also requiring inventive resolution.
The cultural difference between France and itscolonies as portrayed on the screen therefore maintained the sense of peril, not alwaysexplicit, of French cultural dilution; it remained a haunting apprehension among those ofthe Metropole. The fiction films about the colonies reveal something of the profoundapprehension about French identity which existed while Le Corbusier tried to design a cityand its cinematic representation which would accommodate those fears. Cinema not only served to construct imaginatively the social and cultural relations withinthe city, it was also envisioned as a lucrative industry for the colony; Le Corbusier wouldinclude a cite cinema in his Plan Directeur for Algiers in acknowledging theimportance of film to the orderly administration of the colony.
The industry itself, as wellas the representations which its technology afforded, were understood by the architect andplanner to constitute an element of the modernity of Algiers. However, the forms by whichto articulate that modernity appear to have not been forthcoming in the films Le Corbusierhimself proposed. Rather, preexisting images and old plot lines were merely revamped. Fundamental to the configuration of thetraditional city was the separate roles and spaces assigned to men and women such thatpublic space was considered a male prerogative to be avoided by women, who wereassigned to the domestic realm.
This had degrees of severity according to sect,interpretations, degree of urbanization and customs.
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The accommodation of horma, orfeminine space, was a powerful environmental determinant which resulted in a densenetwork of filtered spaces in streets and houses. Generally, cohesive neighborhoodsprovided protected semi-public spaces and a succession of progressively sequestered andmore restricted spaces in the interest of privacy and female modesty. A network of majorstreets, configured by the houses of the differentiated neighborhoods, led to the gates andcommercial center around which all but the more noisome activities were gathered;secondary streets led to other public functions such as the Friday prayer mosques, schools,public baths and lesser markets.
In contradistinction to Western concepts of the city, largecollective or civic spaces with the exception of the mosque and the open square around acastle or palace were deemed relatively unimportant Figure Ancient Traditions Confront a Modern World, ed. Paragon HousePublishers, Galantay, in The Middle East City A late nineteenth-century map of Algiers Figure 25 indicatesa large Esplanade in the vacinity of the old Turksih citadel which may be a vestige of the pre-conquest city.
Where wealth did not allow the elaborate duplicationof spaces within the residence and servants to traverse the outside public world, signs andcodes were substituted: Demands forArabic schools and medersas, control of the mosques and separate cemeteries werepredicated on this alternative vision of the city. By the former Turkish city, its fortress quaba or Casbah and its walled city, ormedina, had been significantly altered. The great Souk el Kebir, which had once stretched fromthe Gate of Azoun to that of El Oued, had been dismembered by a system of enlargedstreets and open parade spaces; palaces and mosques had been demolished or mutilated soas to serve European institutions, the walls of the city had been dismantled, the citadelrendered inoperative.
In one hundred and twenty-two mosques had been recorded,thirteen of which were large mosques responsible for the Friday prayer. Thirty two smallfunerary monuments and thirteen confraternities offering accommodation for travelers werealso noted. By the earlytwentieth century the term Casbah, a North African Arab dialect word, kas a ba or quaba,meaning fortress, had come to refer to an Arab quarter surrounding a castle or fortress in aNorth African town. Its use clearly signified the functional impoverishment of the morecomplex city designated by the term medina and the presence of a European center to whichit now functioned as a district.
Throughout the nineteenth-century theMoslem population crowded into the upper Casbah, abandoning the lower city and theMarine District to European settlers and a well established Jewish population. Although thepopulation of Algiers had been a mixed one since the sixteenth century when Turks,Andalusian Moors, Arabs, Berbers, Mozabites, Jews and transients cohabited, they hadbeen organized into disthcts according to occupation and origin. Esnagne et Sicile Paris: Arts et Mdtiers Graphiques, An extension ofthe Kasbab began on adjoining land which culminated in a new fortified enclosure around the Kasbah.
Mostof the old port area was pulled down Librairie Fdlix Alcan, Thetraditional endeavors of the Islamic city--business, handicraft, the practice of law andscholarship suffered from the competition from an industrial economy and the influx ofnew techniques and values. Moors predominating inthe upper city and old city of the Turks, had begun to move from these congested areas toSt.
They replaced Europeans moving even further southtowards the newer, more expansive areas of the city, to Isly, Agha and Lower Mustapha. Spaces reconfigured by industrialization also produced new ethnic intermingling, Kabylesattracted to factory jobs mixed with Moors and Europeans in Hamma, while Spanish,Jewish and French were mixed at Bab el Oued to the north, and Belcourt to the south. Thevery poorest, usually new arrivals from rural areas settled in makeshift villages atMahieddine, El Kettar, Ouchaya, Oued and Harrach.
The Europeans effected the most profound changes to the historical fabric of Algiers. Incontradistinction to the Islamic model of the modem city, and with varying degrees ofcommitment, the colonists evidently regarded the city as chiefly a place of optimaleconomic exploitation accommodated and legitimated by references to modernization,75Bourclieu, The Algerians This was based on a perception of the city as astructure where goods, capital and people could move efficiently and unimpeded with aminimum of cost and time. Hence wide boulevards, large public squares and institutions,spacious commercial precincts, and extensive port installations had been built in a separatecity development to the south of the former Turkish garrison town Figure Here thetopography was flatter and more amenable to western techniques of laying out straightstreets bounded by easily marketed regularized building plots.
By the s the culturally fragmented and erratically laid out city could no longeraccommodate the new levels of capital accumulation, greater State intervention and visionsof a more comprehensive organization of Empire in which Algiers could play a major role. The uncoordinated array of roads, boulevards, new subdivisions, and public institutionsprovided an inadequate framework around which the processes of industrial, commercialand Imperial development could take place.
The European institutions established in theearly years of French occupation continued to be housed in the former palaces of the Turksalong the southern limits of the old city, and at ever greater distance from the majority ofEuropeans now living in the southern extension. Here were broad boulevards and largeblocks that stretched parallel to the harbor along the Rue disly and rue Magador andwestward along the Boulevard Gambetta which carried European culture from the port,through the Square Bresson to the heights of the city.
Along the waters edge stretched theusual accoutrements of modern port installations--the railway station, customs house andvarious seafront boulevards Figure The narrow streets of the MarineDistrict restricted traffic between the newly developing industrial sector of Bab el Oued tothe north and the port to its south. Private automobile traffic and commercial transport was70hampered by a chaotic system of narrow streets. Population dislocation within Algeria and the city had produced a housing crisiscomplicated by concerns for cultural differentiation in spatial and siting matters.
TheCasbah had become over built and overcrowded, reaching a population density by of per hectare while the Marine District had a density of per hectare. And, despite aspeculative boom in construction, the demands for housing could not be met. The sbegan to experience the ill-effects of a chaotic and an uncoordinated speculative building ofthe previous decade. Between and twenty-five new subdivisions were createdand numerous administrative offices were constructed, the General Government Building,the Agricultural Building, a new City Hall.
Discussions through the s would befocused on the infrastructure needs occasioned by this development. A metro service,airport, multi-purpose station linking sea, rail and truck transit and highway constructionbecame key points of discussion within the municipal council. There were new levels of State and private involvement in the city. Bureaucratic urbanismhad been introduced by the laws of which made a Directive plan for all cites over, mandatory. Algiers complied with this law in , and completed its firstDirective plan in It viewed the city as an organization of functionally determinedzones--commercial, residential, pleasure and industrial, coordinated by extensive transitsystems.
Commercial traffic had increased in great part due to expanding agriculturalproduction achieved via extensive irrigation and other improvements. The private sector had established the financialinstitutions and banks which provided increased investment funds.
The colonial authoritiesdeemed that a city commensurate with these financial, State and professional visionsrequired certain interventions: The Statealso initiated a program of school, clinic and government building. While these forces of modernization were not new to the twentieth-century the scale ofintervention--permitted by available technology, financing, bureaucratic and culturalinstitutions and legislation--was greatly enlarged. Also part of this urbanization of the citywere the conflicting responses to modernization. Although many among the wealthy of theMoslem Algerian population embraced Western culture, educating their sons and daughtersin France, adopting western dress, participating in established French institutions anddemanding the conveniences of modern technology and housing construction, they alsowished to conserve their faith, culture and language.
Through the s their demands forsegregated housing designed according to their cultural specifications would be pressedforward. The modernization of cities also affected gender relations and conceptions of spatialrelations. This was particularly complicated in Algiers where notions of cultural superiorityand identity were intricately interwoven with issues of gender. The modem city in Westernindustrial societies is generally identified with the growth and increasing separation of72public and private spheres.
Business organizations, political andfinancial establishments, social and cultural institutions, which were invariably male,accentuated this division. The issue ofgendered spatial demarcations have been documented in the western architectural theoriesof Alberti in the fifteenth century, Germain Boffrand in the eighteenth and Le Corbusier inthe twentieth. However, inAlgiers the representation of Western women as modern, rather than traditional orsequestered, was essential to maintaining the superiority of French over Moslem Algeriancultures. Essays on Women and Culture Berkeley: University of CaliforniaPress, It should remarked that this descriptionis informed by the ideology of modernity.
Women did work and were present in the public sphere but withcertain prescriptions applied. The colonization and modernization of Algeria had propelled many poor from ruralareas into the coastal cities where traditional customs could not be followed. Themodernization of the city which had broken apart existing communal entities, introducedstrangers into the midst of once kin-related neighborhoods, or reorganized the ethnic-specific trades and locales into industrial workers and zones resulted in an ethnic mixingthat also disturbed established customs of gender relations. The industrialization initiated in the city also produced demands for female laborwhich threatened notions of family honor, sharaf 81For both European and Moslem Algeroise, the effects of modernization produced certainambivalence and paradoxes while it often strained the limits of cultural identity.
Education,industrialization, and administrative convenience admitted Moslem Algerians into themodern world of the French, just as military and then legal and entrepreneurial interests hadpropelled the French and European into that of the Moslem Algeria. The changes describedfor Algiers can be understood as products of a more universal modernization. However,what is overlooked in so doing is the cultural and national anxieties produced whenmodernization was forced to confront the cultural specificity of its representations.
Ancient Traditions Confront a Modem World ed. Although the kinds of changes discussed for Algiers also occurred in non-colonizedcountries, such as Turkey and Iran, the violence done to the established Moslem culturewas perhaps nowhere so destructive; much more than modernization was at stake. Algeria was a place of refuge from the alienating modernism of theMetropole and it was the extension of the nation.
They also forged links between French North and West Africa. Often prominentlyfeatured on the front page of Algerian newspapers, the contestants or participantspositioned the activity within both a poetic construction of the crusader or explorer as wellas mapping out, in an efficacious manner, the extent of French power in the region and theopportunities for safe investment.
The Sahara was defined by a series of oppositionalimages that contributed to the definition of Algiers and its diverse populations within acontemporary world view. Whereas Algiers was imaged as a dense urban city, French andmodern; the Sahara was an infinite, spiritual space, distanced in time, its aristocratic and84Salinas, Vovaes et Vovageurs The Touring Club ofFrance was a large lobby group in France, their interests were for the maintenance of the Sahara as an exoticretreat, leaving the coastal cities to offer modem amenities. Ownership by virtue of the access and sense of possession signaled in the auto routeshelped legitimate the priority given to French as opposed to Algerian land uses.
Le Corbusier, a wellknown advocate of the automobile as a paradigm of modernity and rationale for his utopian city plans also,as did other government officials, saw the automobile as a useful tool by which the colony could be unifiedand connected to France. In these ways ideas going backto Enlightenment hierarchical classificatory systems of cultures based upon the norms ofEuropean Christian society still circulated and were confirmed by the modem, seeminglypersonal, technologies of automobile transport.
The oppositions defining Algeria and Algiers also included issues of architecture andplanning. The Orient was designated by the Casbah, the Douar rural districts and sinuousnarrow alleys; the West was recognized by its cities, villages and orthogonal streets. Oneevoked the unordered, rural and foreign, the other ordonnance, the bourgeois andEuropean. Throughout the s, buildings and spaces designed forMoslem Algeria often retained their decorative features and archaic spatial configurations Figure This contrasted with the European city.
The interplay ofa modern Algiers, port city, gateway to a lucrative hinterland and viable investmentopportunity with that of an exotic Algiers distanced in time and place from the Metropolewas useful to the colonizing enterprise. Modern Algiers could be evoked to legitimizeFrench presence by the progress that had been achieved. Exotic Algiers could stand as atoken of French sensitivity towards Moslem culture, while it served the tourist industry and86Salinas, Voyages et Vovageurs By the s however, those supportingindustrial development in the colony felt that the efforts of modernization were hamperedby a nostalgic exoticism which promised to keep all of Algeria backward and immobile bydiscouraging large-scale financial investments.
North Africa was conflated with theOrient, based largely on its Islamic and Arab culture, and had thus offered to French poetsa ready haven from a disenchanting West. Algeria had also served the interests ofconquest, positing an enemy in terms of a crusade, the Cross against the Crescent andTurkish oppression. It was just88There are many indications of this. The official publication of the Algerian government and the Chamberof Commerce in Algiers abandoned its dual purpose of tourism and industrial growth in , recognizingthat the audience for them was split.
Many newspaper articles and among them architectural critiques calledfor the abandoning of nostalgic reveries of an exotic or picturesque past which hampered modernizationwhich they saw as the reality and future of Algiers. General theories of the Orient from the nineteenth-century continued to filterand affect the experience of the land and its people in the twentieth.
Orientalistrepresentations developed between the s and s, those of La Nouvelle France inthe s and realist portrayals in the s and s continued their simultaneous andoften conflicting existence in the early twentieth-century. In the early nineteenth-centuryAlgeria was understood as an abstract world of refuge and the immutable, an ideal; anempty void to be filled by the Western imagination.
Algiers was apoignant example of this, where its resemblance to Marseilles by the late nineteenth-centurydisturbed those seeking the exotic. Thus for the Centennial publications, the mid-nineteenth-century descriptions of Eugene Fromentin were illustrated withcarefully chosen views of wooden boats and empty landscapes.
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These images still coursed, if at a certain temporal displacement, through the91 Corbusier Sketchbooks entries Editions le Sycomore, and Fromentin. Le Peinture et lEcrivain La Rochelle: Evidence of this medieval past: Such imagesattempted to keep in place members of a growing multi-cultural reality. The idea of La Nouvelle France, although propounded in to encourage the relocationof people from Alsace Lorrain to Algeria, was especially potent after when Algeriaagain became a site of emigration after the upset of war.
It was accompanied by arealignment of politically conceived geography which now positioned Algeria south ofFrance, sharing the same climate, Mediterranean racial stock and inland sea. The prosperity of adistant Roman past, provided a model for the present. Norms and Forms of the Social Environment Chicago: France wascredited with having achieved the political unity of the Maghreb where the Romans and Turks had failed.
Naturalist accounts of the late 1 s framed a differentvision of Algeria and Algiers. Originally confined within the binary oppositions of desert mysticand lascivious patriarch, industrious Kabyle and lazy Arab, spiritualist and fatalist, NorthAfrica by the s had become the organized and energetic bearer of the banner of Islam. Some eradication of Islam was politically effected by the refusalto grant citizenship to Moslems without the surrender of their personal status, that is,without the rejection of the religious rather than state determination of laws of marriage,inheritance and property rights.
Heritage and Change in the Near EasternCitx, ed. This crisis of representation is clearly indicated bythe mid s in two events. By the Chamber of Commerce journal, Algeria. Then, in the Paris Exposition Internationale of , it was felt thatAlgeria required two separate pavilions Figure 28 and Figure Islamic architecture contextualized with indigenouscrafts and costumed artisans and the second was to feature La Nouvelle France: This was a frequent refrain of the s.
This event was widelypublicized. In thisguise it also signaled a Mediterranean space, peaceful and commercial, in contradistinctionto the destruction and piracy of the Turks. Algiers was also its Casbah, as a preserved sitewithin the colony it served as the symbolic, and contained, representational space of Islam.
Myths of gender also contributed to the spatial and temporal identification of Algiers. Theprivate, sequestered space of the domestic realm was presented in literature, painting andpostcards as either the prison of women or a secluded haven of existence separated fromthe hustle of public, and Western, life.
Postcard images of the Casbah were faint echoes ofthe spatial division of Moslem life which was rigorously gendered in this way according toa Moslem code of family honor, although this code was little referenced in Westernpopular, or even scholarly, descriptions of the Islamic city of the period. Le Corbusier collected these views, studied the representations ofand noted the architectural expression inherent in such spaces. I will return to this theme later in chapterfour.
Both were French but published in obscure journals. In the Islamic city womenwere secluded in veiled or walled space, excluded from the public realm; courts and roofswere their domain. Men were free to inhabit the streets, while women did so in veryrestricted and monitored ways. The Islamic woman was a problematic entity in both the poetics ofplace and Orientalism, as well as in the pragmatics of power throughout the inter-waryears.
In addition, this sequestered and protected life of the traditional Islamic woman wasoften quite distanced from the reality of life as lived. A constricted, airless, often squalidand impoverished existence can also be glimpsed in the statistics, newspaper accounts andliterature of the period. It was within this part-historical, part-geographical, part-mythical entity that Le Corbusier wished his plans for Algiers to be located.
His photographic and seemingly objective overviews werederived from military surveillance records. The topographical model accurately portrayingthe landscape on which Le Corbusier would come to construct his idea of the meeting ofEast and West in Algiers, was seemingly stripped of its social and cultural contents. Surveillance photos and topographical maps were abstractions of land meant to facilitatetheir optimal functional and financial exploitation.
Presented as apolitical and poetic, suchrepresentations were politicized by their omissions and absences. The continuation of a spatial organization based on the segregation of the sexes she sees as broughtinto question by the world wide trend toward a greater equality between the sexes and integration, notsegregation and exclusion. Theorist David Harvey has argued that the return to themyth of landscape, an escape into a nostalgic reverie for some essential nature, often entailsa disillusionment with technology or the presence of some hindrance to the ideal ofprogress.
So too was technological developmentimpeded by economic crisis. Significantly, the advocates of Mediterraneanism wereEuropean and they, including Le Corbusier, evoked it within a very specific temporal andspatial framework. To speak of the division of much of Europe into four Federations andto include North and West Africa within one them in the s, as both Le Corbusier andRegional Syndicalists proposed in , had certain strategic implications Figure Inthe Mediterranean Federation, Spain and Italy were pulled from their growing political andeconomic alliance with Germany; Algeria and North Africa were split from their nascentpolitical and cultural affiliation with other Islamic countries to the East.
It is this which was illustrated in Prelude, the publication of theRegional Syndicalist group which Le Corbusier supported. Mercier and Pierrefeu werenot only supporters of Le Corbusie? WhatCotereau reveals in this remark is how problematic the notion of cultural assimilation wasand perhaps the expectation of the segregation of European and Moslem Algerians, asegregation that would create a legible configuration of the city in terms of its culturaldifferences.
For Seiller it was an original architecture using new materialsand construction techniques with an Algerian program and expression, and it was thiswhich made it not colonial but Mediterranean. This discussion of architecture betrays an attempt to deny the colonial contextin which architecture was produced in Algeria in the s.
It was also a defense of a newand technically proficient group standing in some opposition to received notions comingfrom France. A rejection of neo-Moorish architecture, by which Moslem interests werethought to be represented in the public realm and to which tourists responded, was arejection of the policy of cultural association.
However, technology was one of the tools by which Western dominance was established.
The colonial project is clearly evident in the reconfiguredimage of colonist aspirations found dispersed throughout the articles of Algeria in Contributions a une sociologie de Iacolonisation, Paris: However, two things would advise against such an interpretation. First, Algeria did not enjoythe same social laws as France. Secondly, Le Corbusier himself did notbelieve in the class system nor in class revolution.
Italy, Greece, Southern France,Spain. Promotional tracts encouraged readers to believe that Mediterranean architecture wasuntainted by immediate history and was instead a natural response to climate and site.
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As Ann Ruelhas argued, from its inception in the early nineteenth-century Mediterraneanism was equallya product of the imagination. While writing extensivelyabout the Orient elsewhere, he excluded it from the inspirational fount ofMediterraneanism. It was also a term which had its own inner tensions. It was basedon landscape and climate and thus saw France divided into North and South. Mediterranean humanism could berallied against both the barbarian and Celtic, that is, the Moslem and the Germanic.
Thus, on can also define this group politically as it represents the rejection of both the ongoing crisis as well as the gerontocracy that is held responsible for these events. Il est donc difficile de lui attribuer arbitrairement une fonction politique univoque. Cela se traduit notamment par le foisonnement des associations de jeunes.
C'est la hogra qu'il faut combattre et dont il faut s'affranchir.