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Une guerre des langues? Le champ littéraire algérien pendant la décennie noire (1988-2003) : crise politique et consécrations transnationales

Abstract : A war of languages? Algerian literary field during the “black decade” (1988-2003). Political crisis and transnational consecrations. Spanning the sociology of literature and intellectuals, this dissertation studies the Algerian literary field during the “civil war” in the 1990s (1988-2003). Many intellectuals were killed during this period, leading to the over-politicization of writers. We aim to understand the role of the linguistic issue (French/Arabic) in the structuring of the Algerian literary field, especially during the crisis, which has been seen often as a “war of languages”. This enables us to show the evolution of writers' symbolic status within the intellectual field (journalism, university) and the field of Algerian power, and also to highlight the national and international struggles over the legitimate definition of “Algerian literature”. The empirical material is based on two statistical surveys, a bibliographical one of 1600 literary works published by Algerian writers and a prosopographical one of 174 writers in activity during the 1990s; approximately 80 semi-structured interviews with writers, publishers and political/administrative agents; archives; exhaustive study of newspapers; analysis of literary texts. The first part of the dissertation describes the (colonial) construction and structuring of this national literature, and of a transnational and bilingual literary field. The crisis of the 1990’s won't affect the hierarchies created by these two dimensions. The second part aims to explain and understand the effects of increased politicization of the literary field after the October 1988 riots, golden age of intellectuals as well as a time of reconfiguration of the intellectual and literary fields (for instance, the Algerian Writers Union), and the period following the cancellation of the electoral process by the army in January 1992. The statistical approach, especially Multiple Correspondence Analysis of the Algerian writers, cross-referenced with the close analysis of trajectories (especially the Arabic writer Tahar Ouettar) sheds light on literary structuring during the crisis between an international and an institutional pole. This opposition is far more decisive in explaining writers' political stance than the linguistic issue, even though we show how civil war became a war of languages within the literary field. The third part recognizes the severe split brought about by the war between an Arabic-language pole struggling to publish in Algeria, and a flourishing French-language pole being published in France, on which it will focus. As political agendas and literary field rules differ between Algeria and France, Algerian writers in exile or publishing in France try to find a balance between gaining literary recognition in the literary capital of Paris and anti-Islamist commitment, as well as defending the image of their country: in so doing, they contribute to redefining their national literature (with Camus as one of the main issues). This tension can be seen in the problem of literary testimony as in the cases of Rachid Boudjedra’s reception, novels of Mohammed Dib and Salim Bachi, and in the archives of the Algérie Littérature/Action journal. At the end of the war, a bilingual field reappears in Algeria itself, due to its depoliticization, the diplomatic and economic intervention of France, and, above all, the alliance of young writers of both languages (in the publishing houses El-Ikhtilef and Barzakh) against the domination of internationalized writers who had been in France.
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Contributor : Tristan Leperlier Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Wednesday, March 22, 2017 - 11:01:06 PM
Last modification on : Saturday, October 15, 2022 - 2:40:06 PM


  • HAL Id : halshs-01494217, version 1



Tristan Leperlier. Une guerre des langues? Le champ littéraire algérien pendant la décennie noire (1988-2003) : crise politique et consécrations transnationales. 2015. ⟨halshs-01494217⟩



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