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SexagonMuslims, France, and the Sexualization of National Culture$
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Mehammed Amadeus Mack

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780823274604

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823274604.001.0001

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Sexual Undergrounds: Cinema, Performance, and Ethnic Surveillance

Sexual Undergrounds: Cinema, Performance, and Ethnic Surveillance

(p.180) 4 Sexual Undergrounds: Cinema, Performance, and Ethnic Surveillance

Mehammed Amadeus Mack

Fordham University Press

Against the backdrop of an overwhelming vilification of Arab, immigrant, and banlieusard masculinities on screen, I show how a selection of innovative films have sought to rehabilitate that masculinity and show its unexpected importance, even its necessity in French society. Far from being possessive, ethnocentric sexists jealously guarding their community borders, Arab men are shown to stand at the center of social constellations that include sexual minorities and a high degree of sexual experimentation. Recurrent throughout this chapter are the commonalities between the French policing of both ethnic and sexual “outlaws,” which can take symbolic or literal form or come from unexpected perspectives. In this way, the policed sexualities of minority characters become socially delinquent, shifting in and out of a “French-ness” confused with orderly, bourgeois sexuality. In connection with previous arguments about the rehabilitation of ethnic virilities and homosocialities on screen, this chapter shows how the concept of the urban sexual underground (populated by a variety of sexual minorities including sex worker and trans) has crucially hosted Arab masculinities and offered them spaces to nurture and bear witness to their own social utility.

Keywords:   Arab, Audiard, clandestinity, film, homosexuality, Sébastien Lifshitz, Richet, Téchiné

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