Course Points

The Stakes and Mistakes of Ethnic Marketing in France


Ethno-marketing, or ethnic marketing, has many facets: social and economic. The concept of ethno-marketing raises an obvious question: is it right or wrong to segment people according to their origins?

Bernard Cova, marketing professor at the Kedge business school, provides a definition: « Ethnic marketing is segmenting the market based on the homogeneity of ethnic part of consumers and to offer products adapted to their physical and natural characteristics.Does this definition imply that there is a link between the act of buying and ethnicity? Here, our aim is to attempt to identify this link and observe the issues that result from this growing phenomenon.

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Adultery in Islam: a tribal or a religious issue?

Ad1In Islam the seed of religion is deemed to pass through the father because he is in charge of his children’s religious education. This is why Muslim men can marry women from other religions provided they are from ahl al-kitâb (‘People of the Book’) that is to say either Jewish or Christian. Moreover, Arab society is a ‘tribal society’, which means it is organised on the basis of the clan. Filiation is very important. For example, by the time Islam appeared, it was very impolite to call someone by his name. People would always address each other using the nasab, the person’s lineage with the word ibn (son of) or bint (daughter of). Because of the importance of filiation, adultery was punished long before Islam was revealed. In Pre-Islamic Arabian culture, the woman simply took oaths at Mecca attesting to her innocence, and asking the divinity to cause her to have a miscarriage/abortion, should she be lying; but, on the way to Mecca, she would be forced to travel on a camel, between two bags of dung. (Kitâb al-Aghani). In the Amazigh North African mountains that were to become the Maghreb, adultery would be punished by death, whereas murder resulted in banishment – that is to say the former used to be considered worse than the latter. Indeed, a mistake about filiation jeopardized the stability of the group.

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GolThe Golem is a creature of religious origin which today belongs to the collective Western Subconscious. This myth, with originated from Jewish mysticism, designates a manlike animate creature, composed of inanimate matter, most usually mud or clay. The world golem derived from the ancient Hebrew word gelem, which means “raw material" or "Materia Prima”. In the sacred textsit the word had many nearly related meanings. It first occured in the Psalms of David, with the meaning of shapeless form. In the Kabala, it designates inchoate matter, matter without any definite form. 

 As in the Talmud the golem is a previous state of Adam, the greatest of God's creatures, the creator of a Golem in fact imitates God's power to create life. That is why, in the medieval Jewish imagination, the latter was considered to be a very holy and wise person, having taken on something of God’s power.Tales about the Golem are legion. In medieval narratives, the Golem was most often created by a prominent rabbi, in order to become his servant. He was animated by the means of a magical inscription, with either one of the names of God written on its body, or a sacred incantation on a parchment rolled up and placed in its mouth. The word Emet, which means "truth" in Hebrew and which is one of the names of God, was often employed, being written on its forehead. The Golem could be deactivated by erasing the first letter of the word Emet, leaving the word Met, which simply meant “Dead”.

The most famous Golem story concerns the Golem created in Prague by Rabbi Yehuda Loew, the Maharal of Prague, in the 16th century. In one version of the legend, Rabbi Loew created the golem to protect the Jewish community from blood libel and harmful pogroms. It is said that the deactivated body of the Golem is still hidden in the attic of the Old synagogue, and miraculously escaped the destructions of the Second World War.   


The emergence of new religions in Japan (or to what extent do religions in Japan coexist) ?

Jap 1In contradistinction to many European countries, and to some other areas of the West, where we see relatively high levels of at least nominal religious affiliation, coupled with low levels of participation in religious rites, religion in Japan is characterized by almost universal participation in certain rites and customs, but low levels of self-acknowledged affiliation to any religious group. It is today commonplace to observe that the Japanese are born Shintô, marry as Christians, and die Buddhists. Nearly 90% of the Japanese observe the custom of annual visits to ancestral graves, and 75% have either a Buddhist or Shintô altar in their home. However, only 30% of the population identify themselves as belonging to one of the religions currently active in Japan, despite the fact that these religions themselves claim an overall total membership of nearly twice the actual population of 126 millions.

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Dossier (6): Questions d’actualité : Rites d’Antiquité, rites contestés (la Circoncision)

 Circon 2This Course Point is adapted from Jean-Marc Chouraqui’s (Institut Interuniversitaire d’Etudes et de Culture Juives) class on circumcision, its history, its meanings and the issues related to its practice in Judaism. It provides a case study on multicultural public policies.

Ce texte est issu du séminaire de Jean-Marc Chouraqui dans le cadre de l’Institut Interuniversitaire d’Etudes et de Culture Juives durant les mois de novembre et décembre 2012. Il est ici retranscrit à partir d’un enregistrement et adapté avec son aimable accord.


Ce qui a inspiré ce séminaire, ce sont deux faits d’actualité. D’une part, l’année dernière, durant la campagne électorale, M. Fillon, Premier ministre à l’époque, avait tenu des propos qui avaient fait plus que débat, en disant que les religions antiques, anciennes, devaient peut-être penser à se moderniser, par rapport aux rites alimentaires. D’autre part, comme vous le savez, en Allemagne, un tribunal, en appel, a interdit la pratique de la circoncision, suite à un accident qui avait touché un jeune musulman, qui avait été blessé.

Read more: Dossier (6): Questions d’actualité : Rites d’Antiquité, rites contestés (la Circoncision)