Celebration/Subversion of French Assimilation: A Contrapuntal Analysis of Zebda’s Art

Fella Benabed

Badji Mokhtar – Annaba University, Algeria. Email:

Volume 9, Number 4, 2017 I Full Text PDF

DOI: 10.21659/rupkatha.v9n4.03

Received October 11, 2017; Revised November 18, 2017; Accepted November 30, 2017; Published December 09, 2017.


This article attempts to understand the ambivalent attitude of celebration/subversion towards French immigration and assimilation policies by artists of immigrant descent.  Using Edward Said’s concept of contrapuntal reading, it analyzes the song “J’y suis j’y reste” by Zebda, a music band whose protest songs are a form of militant struggle against discrimination. Such artists, who celebrate the varied cultural landscape and the polyphonic identity of the contemporary French Republic, aspire for a shift from a monocultural melting pot to a multicultural mosaic that honors its values of liberty, equality, and fraternity.

Keywords: immigration, assimilation, celebration, subversion, contrapuntal reading, hybridity.

Full Text PDF>>