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Author(s): Machado e Moura, Carlos
Date: Apr-2022
Title: What makes mass housing representations so different, so appealing? The French grands ensembles in comic-strip form
Number: Sp22
Reference: Machado e Moura, C. (2022). What makes mass housing representations so different, so appealing? The French grands ensembles in comic-strip form. Cidade, Comunidades e Territórios, Sp22, 74-88.
ISSN: 2182-3030
DOI (Digital Object Identifier): 10.15847/cct.25034
Keywords: Suburbs
Banda desenhada -- Comics
Social housing
Graphic representation
Abstract: References to mass housing complexes tend to balance between their generally unknown realities and the pervasive power of their representations. These are often nourished by emotional experiences conveyed by words and images in mass media and political discourse – especially when it comes to ghettos or problematic suburbs – and multiple arrays of commercial, documentary, and fictional depictions of everyday realities or aspirational imaginaries. Complementarily, different media types entered middle- and lower-class houses, rendering these mediations bidirectional by progressively conquering their place in the domestic scene. Besides, the history of access to housing runs parallel and often intertwined with the history of media, rendering mass housing an object of mass media and a pop culture subject, entangling different and often contradictory representations. Simultaneously the country of bande dessinée and the crisis of the banlieues, France is a particularly revealing example. Since the mid-1960s, comic strips acquired a special status in French society that rendered it an accurate cultural barometer of its culture. Alongside, France extensively built social housing estates in the outskirts of its major cities throughout Les Trente Glorieuses. As a result, these grands ensembles often became highly stigmatised and mediatised places with their bars and towers, frequently depicted in cinema, literature, comic strips, and other art forms. This paper aims to discuss the state of the art of the presence of social housing estates in French comics and present an array of comic books – produced since the 1970s – that depict these architectures and illustrate their social questions. These examples reveal the qualities and expose the contradictions of comics and the seductive power of the medium to explore the urban context of the banlieue, either when narrating its dystopic and violent environments or when enhancing the anthropological and visual qualities of these suburban settings.
Peerreviewed: yes
Access type: Open Access
Appears in Collections:DINÂMIA'CET-RI - Artigos em revistas internacionais com arbitragem científica

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