Skip to main content
Kent Academic Repository

Metacrisis, not civil war: examining France’s unrest in June/July 2023

Chevalier, Thomas Guillaume (2023) Metacrisis, not civil war: examining France’s unrest in June/July 2023. Emancipations: A Journal of Critical Social Analysis, 2 (3). Article Number 1. ISSN 2765-8414. E-ISSN 2765-8414. (KAR id:102490)


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.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled keywords: civil unrest
Subjects: J Political Science
J Political Science > JC Political theory
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Politics and International Relations
Funders: University of Kent (
Depositing User: Thomas Chevalier
Date Deposited: 21 Sep 2023 16:41 UTC
Last Modified: 08 Jan 2024 15:39 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Chevalier, Thomas Guillaume.

Creator's ORCID:
CReDIT Contributor Roles:
  • Depositors only (login required):

Total unique views for this document in KAR since July 2020. For more details click on the image.