Soccer, post-colonial and post-conflict discourses in Algeria: Algérie-France, 6 Octobre 2001,“ce n'était pas un simple match de foot”

2010-12-23T09:29:02Z (GMT) by Mahfoud Amara
This paper reports an analysis of press articles of selected Algerian francophone newspapers, which were published before, during and after a ‘friendly’ soccer game between the French and Algerian national teams on 6 October 2001, in the Stade de France in Paris. The paper seeks to identify how the ‘identity’ and sense of belonging of French-Algerians, known also as Beurs, Maghrebins, les émigrés de France, or Français-plus was located, negotiated in the Algerian journalistic discourse. It considers the manner in which concepts such as ‘culture’, ‘locality’ ‘nationhood’ and ‘citizenship’ were mobilized to define or situate the identity of Algerian immigrants (or those of Algerian origin) in comparison with that of Algerian (local-national) identity. The ‘friendly’ soccer game between the two national teams become a symbolic space, another occasion, for remembering the French-Algerian colonial past. Moreover, it represented an opportunity to reposition Algeria in the international (sporting) arena, and more importantly, to reassert social ties between Algerians, as part of the post-conflict process for national reconciliation. This was the product of more than ten years of generalised violence, which has been termed the ‘second war’ (also la guerre sans images) of Algeria, after the first war for independence against French colonialism.