crisis, France, unrest, precarity, police

Document Type



In this commentary, I examine the urban riots that took place in France at the end of June and early July 2023 to assess the levels of violence and the response of the French government. I argue that the unrest did not represent the brink of a civil war, as wrongly claimed by dark journalistic assessments and dominant right-wing political discourses, but pertained to a more profound condition of metacrisis (a state where a crisis enters a crisis of its own and a dangerous situation of social strife ensues). Tracing recent discourses and imaginaries of civil war in France and discussing political theorist Albena Azmanova’s notion of metacrisis in relation to Thucydides’s notion of stasis (social strife), I further reflect on how the banlieues (the marginalised suburbs from where the riots originated) crystallise France’s metacrisis, that is, how crisis in the banlieues became a crisis of its own and was already a multi-crisis grounded in France’s (post)colonial heritage, deindustrialisation strategy, and problematic policing politics, and how it echoes other pleas for decent politics and social justice in France.




July 27, 2023


August 2, 2023