Volume 5, Issue 1
  • ISSN 2211-3770
  • E-ISSN: 2211-3789
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes


In this essay, I analyze the speech acts of Farid, a thirty-six year old self-identified same-sex desiring man from my fieldwork, who recounts his trajectory from growing up in Algiers and his eventual migration as an adult to Angers and then Paris. I illustrate how his queer Maghrebi French story in the diaspora does not resonate significantly with the “coming out” (Provencher 2007) or “arrival” narratives (Schehr 2009) of other queer French speakers in the city. Moreover, his speech acts do not heavily echo the “flexible language” (Leap 2003) or the language of queer diasporic speakers analyzed in other contexts (Decena 2011, Manalansan 2003). Furthermore, unlike other queer Maghrebi French interlocutors — who exploit their artistic crafts such as photography, filmmaking, and creative writing to pioneer new scripts or “performative encounters” (Rosello 2005) between France and the Maghreb — Farid struggles to tell a coherent story as he remains caught between the teleologies of the Maghrebi family in Algiers on the one hand and neoliberalism and its concomitant homonormativity in “gay” Paris on the other. The linguistic dimensions of Farid’s impossible “je” [I] are evident in his use of statements that highlight the collective with the subject pronouns “we” and “they” as well as topic sentences that underscore subjects like “my family,” “the country,” and “my religion.” At the same time, he draws on fragmented and unstable identities in a series of disconnected “je” statements, often with conditional clauses and modality shifts that highlight flux instead of the ego-centered, liberated, and individual subject who must learn to say “je” assuredly in the indicative tense in the late modern era. At times, he remains an “impossible subject” in an “impossible location” (Raissiguier 2010) unable to find financial and emotional stability almost three years after leaving Algiers and arriving in France where he fails to imagine a “queer future” for himself. Hence, this study illustrates how the celebration of chaos and subversion (for example, Halberstam’s (2011) “queer art of failure”) is not always readily available to subjects like Farid, who have not (yet) acquired the “flexible language” or the economic and cultural capital in an urban setting.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error