Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name





Jane Sugarman

Committee Members

Eliot Bates

Stephen Blum

Peter Manuel

Subject Categories



France, Regionalism, Post-colonialism, Immigration, Occitan


Based on ethnographic fieldwork conducted in southern France, this dissertation analyzes contemporary Occitan musical expression in relation to postcolonial immigration. “Occitan” refers to a group of linguistic practices found in the south of France, including Provençal and Languedocien. Throughout this study, I discuss commonalities between postcolonial and regionalist history and theory, shedding light on notions of cultural citizenship that have defined French sociopolitics in recent decades. The historian Herman Lebovics (2004) coined the term “postcolonial regionalism” in reference to the impact of decolonization on regional protest movements in France during the 1970s. During that time, singer/songwriters of the nòva cançon occitana incorporated the internal colonialism thesis into their song lyrics. Drawing on the theoretical writings of the poet and philosopher Édouard Glissant, I argue that Occitan music reveals a new articulation of postcolonial regionalism. I demonstrate that, since the 1980s, decolonization has been replaced by postcolonial immigration as a social fact that informs Occitan song and discourse.

The Occitan music scene contains a wide variety of music styles and transnational borrowings. I profile four musicians, Daniel Loddo, Claude Sicre, Tatou (né François Ridel), and Manu Théron. These performers critique French official culture, research and reinterpret local music history, and create transnational musical alliances in the form of citation and/or collaboration. I demonstrate that they espouse a simultaneously deterritorializing and rooting discourse that serves to position their anti-centralist search for cultural roots in contradistinction to right-wing evocations of territory. I situate my argument within a broad historical framework in order to examine how concepts such as universalism and what Glissant termed mondialité (world-ness) have informed Occitan music and discourse.