An American in Paris: Investigating the Discourse of "No-Go Zones" Through Documentary Film
Koch, Holly Melissa
Despite retractions, inconsistent definitions, and insufficient evidence circulating around claims of “No-Go Zones” (NGZs)—the areas of Europe and the United States allegedly under localized Sharia law—belief in the phenomenon persists. This thesis investigates the validity of claims alleging NGZs in twelve neighborhoods of Paris (Barbès, Belleville/Ménilmontant, Curial Cambrai, Folie-Méricourt/St. Ambroise, La Chapelle, La Chapelle-Pajol, Le Marais, Porte d’Aubervilliers, Porte de Clichy, Porte de la Chapelle, Porte de Clignancourt, and Porte Saint-Denis) via observational and participatory documentary film. Through visual representation, interviews of residents of Paris, and relevant literature, this research (1) analyzes the existence of alleged NGZs using observable assertions within the claims, such as the inability for police or women to enter, and (2) demonstrates how immigration from Muslim-majority nations and Islamophobia in France and the US have shaped the discourse around NGZs. After two weeks of research in Paris, no observable support for the claims of NGZs was found. This thesis also analyzes the spread of misinformation in the context of partisan media, Group Threat Theory, the Backfire Effect, conspiracy ideation, and the historical fear in the US of immigrants and people of color with regard to crime and sexual misconduct.
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