Rites of the Republic: Citizens' Theatre and the Politics of Culture in Southern France

Rites of the Republic: Citizens' Theatre and the Politics of Culture in Southern France

Weight 0.00 lbs
By Mark Ingram
Teaching Culture: UTP Ethnographies for the Classroom
University of Toronto Press, Higher Education Division © 2011
World Rights
240 Pages
ISBN 9781442601765
Published Feb 2011
Online discount: 15%
 $29.95    $25.46
ebook (EPUB format)
ISBN 9781442693791
Published Feb 2011
Full purchase $23.95
Teaching Materials

In this fascinating exploration of citizenship and the politics of culture in contemporary France, Ingram examines two theatre troupes in Provence: one based in a small town in the rural part of the Vaucluse region, and the other an urban project in Marseille, France's most culturally diverse city. Both troupes are committed to explicitly civic goals in the tradition of citizens' theatre. Focusing on the personal stories of the theatre artists in these two troupes, and the continuities between their narratives, their performances, and the national discourse directed by the Ministry of Culture, Ingram examines the ways in which these artists interpret universalistic ideals underlying both art and the Republic in their theatrical work. In the process he charts the evolution of new models for society and citizenship in a rapidly changing France.

Mark Ingram is Associate Professor in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures and in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Goucher College in Baltimore, Maryland.

List of Illustrations



  1. Defining culture: State cultural policy and discourse on the arts in France
  2. "Culture" in local perspective: The TRAC of Beaumes de Venise
  3. The Friche la Belle de Mai: Redefining state cultural policy in "Euro-Mediterranean" Marseille
  4. "Unity in Diversity" in EU and municipal cultural policy: Avignon and Marseille as European capitals of culture
  5. Performing "citizens' theatre": Rites of the Republic between Europe and the Mediterranean
  6. "Citizens' Theatre" in post-colonial Europe: New foundations for the politics of culture?

Conclusion: The state, the arts, and the polis



Ingram has produced an ethnographically rich, theoretically informed, and engaging study that speaks in a novel way to that most French of concerns and illuminates trends in cultural politics in France and throughout the European Union.

Jeffrey Cole, Connecticut College

Based on long-term ethnographic research, and richly textured in the telling, Rites of the Republic is a highly original and vivid exploration of the tensions between the arts, popular culture, and national ideologies as they play out on stage in two citizens' theatre troupes in southern France.

Susan Terrio, Georgetown University

A powerful and enlightening piece of contemporary ethnographic work, this book gives us a deep and intelligent analysis of, and reflection on, the evolution of state cultural policy in France, and the Avignon Festival, one of the most popular theatre festivals in Europe.

Marc Abeles, Ecole des hautes etudes en sciences sociales, Paris

Drawing on research spanning two decades, [Ingram] is well positioned to address how these cultural producers creatively respond to a perceived crisis of postcolonial French identity and to processes of Europeanization and globalization. The result is a widely accessible ethnography that will appeal to scholars of contemporary France both inside and outside the field of anthropology.

American Anthropologist

Ingram's study artfully demonstrates how the practices and 'rites' of state cultural policy are incorporated and negotiated at quotidian, embodied levels, even as European integration and globalization expand the scales at which individuals think and live.

French Studies

[...] this work of contemporary scholarship celebrating the role of the arts in promoting dialogue and community-building, with its ample maps, images, background information, and rich ethnographic detail will be appropriate for undergraduates as well as scholars of France and beyond. It provides a welcome new perspective on French cultural policy and challenges to republican universalism. It also offers a clear, on-the-ground account of local impacts of EU cultural initiatives, and the consequences for artists of neoliberalization moves by the French state. It will be very useful for courses on theatre, the media and the arts; globalization, neoliberalism, and the state; contemporary French society; and the anthropology of Europe.

French Politics, Culture and Society

To share strategies, resources, and innovations in both teaching and publishing in the discipline of anthropology, visit the Teaching Culture blog at www.utpteachingculture.com. You can also follow us on Twitter @TeachingCulture.