David Lepoutre

At the Heart of the Suburbs (Coll. Poche) Codes, Rites and Languages Publication date : November 1, 2001

For over 15 years, the social malaise of suburban youth has been discussed, feeding fears and encouraging a political and social discourse surrounding notions of crisis, disorder, and desocialization. David Lepoutre addresses this problem of social emptiness in his book; with real-world experience he proposes a resolutely sociological and ethnological approach to relationships between adolescents. He explores the suburban youth that lives in this modern environment in which there exists a network of relationships and where friendships and ritual are rich and have founded a novel system of social interraction. In this chronicle the reader explores the spatial, social, and ethnic scope of such an environment. One listens to the language of the street culture which accurately describes street interactions. One studies in detail the different forms of violence in such an environment, be it in sports, in play, or in outright conflict. In conclusion, one investigates the value system of this “subculture”, a key component of which is honor, a constant concern that underlies the majority of behavior and conflicts. The recent mass attention to certain aspects of this street culture in French society doubtlessly allows today for a positive integration of a large group of youth that up until now has been stigmatized and marginalized.

“Alert and warm while based on science, this book encourages a new approach to the suburb.”

“David Lepoutre recounts extensively – and it's a fascinating read – the ways of life of these young adolescents, and those components of street culture that seem so strange to adults.”
Le Nouvel Observateur

David Lepoutre conducts a course in ethnology at the University of Paris XIII and Lille I. He lived for two years in the city of Quatre-Mille at La Courneuve and taught geographical history for a dozen years at a middle school in that area.