Freedom of thought in the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo attacks

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The terrorist atrocities perpetrated against the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo on 7 January 2015 led to a national and international outpouring of anger and solidarity with the victims. This solidarity came to be expressed most clearly via the social media hashtag #JeSuisCharlie which spread across networks such as Facebook and Twitter in the hours and days after the shootings. In the first part of this article, I explore how the ‘Je suis Charlie’ slogan was not universally accepted, and how it was problematic for individuals to express themselves if they condemned the terrorist attacks but did not want to proclaim ‘Je suis Charlie’. The second and main part of the article will focus in particular on the freedom of thought of certain intellectuals, whose voices have arguably been sidelined and discredited in the wake of the attacks because their analysis of events did not correspond to the logic of the ‘Je suis Charlie’ response.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)233-244
Number of pages12
JournalFrench Cultural Studies
Issue number3
Early online date14 Jul 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2016


  • freedom of thought
  • freedom of speech
  • Charlie Hebdo
  • Emmnauel Todd
  • equality


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