Based on the comparison of two neighborhood councils in Roubaix—one marked by continuity with local government policies, the other by conflicts and criticisms—the article tackles the social and political competition at stake in these settings. While politics is constantly denied, the observation of two controversies—on a Roma camp and electoral turnout—shows that political discussions can emerge, as long as their members are not suspected of partisan intentions. In other words, ethnography shows the paradox that citizens should not politicize the discussion for its own sake.
- neighborhood councils
- close-knit communities