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France Debate Inequality Culture

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France's Nuit des Idées: hopeful ideas to combat inequality

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La Nuit des Idées, an event held at the Institut français Institut Français

La Nuit des Idées – the Night of Ideas – is an evening of collective thinking and discussions, open to the public, that took place in France and in dozens of locations around the world on Thursday, 31 January. It featured artists, thinkers and performers from all walks of life who will share their vision and ultimately hope.


According to the Institut Français which is overseeing the coordination of events for the fourth edition of La Nuit des Idées, under the theme Face au Présent (face the present), “it’s an invitation to discover the latest knowledge and listen to those who are at the forefront of forward thinking in all sectors, and exchange with them over the major issues of our time.”

Alice Evans, Lecturer in the Social Science of Development at King's College London, was invited to participate in one of the events in Paris, held at the Maison des Metallos, called "Recréons du lien" or "Recreate links".

She told RFI she hopes the evening will give people a sense of hope, inspired by collective mobilisation, examples of which are abundant.

“Inequalities persist when we take them for granted, when we assume there’s nothing we can do when we become despondent, just accept the state of affairs even when we’re frustrated," she says.

"My research looks at social psychology and anthropology and tries to understand how people gain hope, how people come to recognise their power, their collective strength to change inequalities and to rise up and push for change as we’ve recently seen in Latin America.”

France, a leader in Europe for fighting inequality

She goes on to point out a law adopted recently by France, which puts pressure on big businesses to be more accountable for what happens in their supply chains. This is an example of positive progress, she says, which has inspired other European countries.

Organised by the Agence Française de Développement, the aim of Recréons du Lien is to encourage thought-provoking discussion around the notion of inequality and solidarity in society.

As well as several guest speakers, a public debate was organised along with artistic performances, film projections and informal discussions.

Listen to the rest of the interview with Alice Evans here:

Alice Evans_Kings College London_La nuit des idees 31/01/2019 Listen