le vivre ensemble

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Maped40

Senior Member
French - France
Vivre ensemble is obviously living together, but there is surely a set phrase in English for "le vivre ensemble" in the sense of good relations between the various groups or communities in a society?
 
  • Maped40

    Senior Member
    French - France
    Thank you. Which would be the set phrase when speaking about communities?
    For example:
    améliorer le vivre ensemble
    le dialogue nécessaire au bon vivre ensemble
     

    Kelly B

    Senior Member
    USA English
    I suppose that something like peaceful coexistence would fit in those, but no, I don't think there's really a set phrase that will fit all contexts.
     

    Maped40

    Senior Member
    French - France
    Really? It's quite a fashionable political slogan here in France, they all seem to have something to say about "le vivre ensemble"... It means different groups living together peacefully in a pluralistic society
     

    Jamhead

    Member
    Ireland.(English)
    "living in harmony" is a good way to say it i think. Good Cohabitation sounds to me a bit too political for what this person is looking for.
     

    Maped40

    Senior Member
    French - France
    Thank you all.

    The same phrase comes up again...
    s'engager pour le vivre ensemble
    Just to complete what was said before:
    I found an interesting phrase: "community harmony" (some UK cities have awards for people who help promote "community harmony")
    What bothers me is that this suggests communities living side by side, rather than actually intermingling (which is what my text advocates). Can anyone suggest a better phrase?
     
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    in-need

    Senior Member
    French - France
    Hello!

    I was wondering whether since this 2008 thread, a set phrase or, if not, other suggestions had came to anybody's mind about "le vivre ensemble" (noun)?

    I am currently questioning myself in the following terms:
    La diversité culturelle peut-elle être constitutive d'un vivre ensemble pacifié?

    et là, je sèche! If there is no set phrase or elegant way to express it in Eng, then I will consider reformulating the whole sentence, but well, je tente...

    Thank you all! :))
     

    Aistriúchán

    Senior Member
    English - Ireland
    Hi!

    the 'living together'

    I'd translate: Can cultural diversity involve a shared desire to live together in peace ?
     

    Wodwo

    Senior Member
    UK English
    This is one of those phrases that is the bane of my life.

    I'm thinking of 'harmony in diversity' at the moment. If anyone has any better ideas I'd be really pleased to see them...
     

    Wodwo

    Senior Member
    UK English
    I think 'togetherness' is more a term applied to families or couples. It might work in some contexts, but mine is an academic paper in the social sciences and it's talking about people from different backgrounds getting on with each other in a multicultural city.

    'Cultural diversity' is kind of used in this way in my kind of dry context I think - London is often described as 'culturally diverse' - but 'diversity', like 'coexistence', fails to stress the idea that the diverse people interact and share the space in a positive way, which is I think conveyed by 'vivre ensemble'.
     

    pointvirgule

    Senior Member
    langue française
    I think you're reading too much into that vivre-ensemble concept. A community is not a commune... People who are strangers to each other (be them from the same or from different ethnic backgrounds) don't live together, they live next to each other. The only thing they really do together is sharing the space. Le vivre-ensemble conveys the idea of doing so in a non-conflictual way, is all. For that reason, I feel that peaceful coexistence fits the bill.
     

    Wodwo

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Well it's one of those phrases, like 'cultural diversity', which can be emphasized in different ways. In my context, I think it's more active than that. Here's the phrase:

    'une exigence démocratique et un rempart contre le principe de sous-nationalités, destructeur de l’essence même du vivre ensemble urbain.'

    The idea of sub-nationalities - nations within a nation - is surely precisely about coexistence, but here the suggestion is that the coexistence of different groups (in this case immigrants who are not full citizens) with different identities works against 'le vivre ensemble'. So I think in this particular case something a bit more active than 'peaceful coexistence' is required. The author is talking about giving the right to vote to people who are residents of a city but not citizens of the country.
     

    Wodwo

    Senior Member
    UK English
    To me conviviality is something completely different, it's what you get at a big dinner, where people who maybe don't know each other that well eat, drink and are merry together.

    It reminds me of being at a wine festival in Cologne packed with happy people talking very loudly and having a jolly time.

    I think there are probably different ways of translating 'le vivre-ensemble', from 'peaceful coexistence' to 'sharing the space' and even 'cultural diversity'. It depends on the context and target audience. Sometimes the best thing to do is probably rework the sentence so you don't have to use a noun at all.
     

    Jimbeck

    New Member
    English - UK
    Yes, that's why I wondered if the term was too strong. But I note that Paul Gilroy uses 'conviviality' in his Postcolonial Melancholia (2005: xv) to refer to “the processes of cohabitation and interaction that have made multiculture an ordinary feature of social life in Britain’s urban areas and in postcolonial cities elsewhere”. Could this be one, admittedly special, meaning of 'le vivre ensemble'?
     

    Maped40

    Senior Member
    French - France
    Very interesting! This is exactly how one would define "le vivre-ensemble", isn't it.
    Now, would "conviviality" be used in this meaning in everyday language, and would it be understood if used outside a scholarly context?
     

    Wodwo

    Senior Member
    UK English
    I note that Paul Gilroy uses 'conviviality' in his Postcolonial Melancholia (2005: xv) to refer to “the processes of cohabitation and interaction that have made multiculture an ordinary feature of social life in Britain’s urban areas and in postcolonial cities elsewhere”. Could this be one, admittedly special, meaning of 'le vivre ensemble'?
    Well your quote suggests that Gilroy is using 'conviviality' in the same way as 'vivre-ensemble', yes. He's probably been reading French sociology - or maybe it's the other way round... So it may have some currency in this context, though, as you suggest he has to define it, I would say its currency is limited. En passant, that's the first use I've ever seen of the term 'multiculture' too.

    I would still avoid 'conviviality' for 'le vivre-ensemble' myself, if possible, because of its connotations of partying, which I think are too strong. Maybe Gilroy likes them.

    But to answer Maped40, absolutely not. Outside academic journals 'conviviality' will take you straight back to lots of slightly drunk people enjoying themselves.
     

    Jimbeck

    New Member
    English - UK
    It would certainly be appropriately used in the context of, say, the Notting Hill Carnival where ethnic and cultural diversity is publicly celebrated along with eating and drinking. My hunch is that Gilroy is figuratively extending the meaning of conviviality to reach other settings not necessarily characterised by festive eating and drinking. But it remains a scholarly usage.
     

    Wodwo

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Yes, but if you're talking about the 'conviviality' of the Notting Hill Carnival, you aren't saying anything about ethnic and cultural diversity, you're just saying everyone got along at this particular festive event, got a bit high on whatever was going and had a good time. Everyone who is aware of the carnival would be aware of the multicultural dimension to this good cheer, but an anglophone who knew nothing of the event would just understand that it was a big party with a lot of people eating, drinking and talking very loudly.

    The emphasis of 'le vivre-ensemble' is completely different - it's about sharing a space and getting along. I think you're right about what Gilroy is doing, and of course etymologically 'con-viviality' is about living together, but yes, a scholarly usage and a bit of a stretch in my view.
     

    gibouille

    Member
    France French
    What we mean by "vivre-ensemble" at school is the fact that children learn one specific skill, the "vivre-ensemble" which implies efficient and respectfull group interaction, allowing every individual to safely find their correct place in the community.

    I'm still looking for a good translation

    I came up with :

    • Togetherness
    • Group interaction
    • Social harmony
    • Respectful interaction
    But it doesn't quite cut it
     

    Wodwo

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Social skills
    Yes, I think 'social skills' sounds pretty good in this context. It's less idealistic and all-encompassing than the French, but then English tends to be. It covers 'respectful interaction' and once you've got that, you're well on the way to the rest.
     

    Pierre-Luc

    New Member
    Canada, French
    Why not keeping it in french?
    Personnellement, j'ai décidé d'utiliser le terme en français dans mes articles (le terme "vivre-ensemble" est très utilisé dans le milieu de la politique: philo, socio, s-po etc.).
    Je crois que c'est la meilleure solution dans le contexte actuel.
    Cela donne donc quelque chose comme: "this norm aims to regulate the vivre-ensemble".
    In my field (philo), this is accepted really well!
    It's a suggestion.
     

    Wodwo

    Senior Member
    UK English
    I suppose that might work in context (though I must say the idea of 'regulating the vivre-ensemble is pretty opaque to me, unless it means something like 'regulating the way that different kinds of people interact on a daily basis'), but I see you are in Canada, where there is a degree of familiarity with French that you can't always assume English speakers and readers will have.

    I don't believe that there are ideas that can only be thought or expressed in a particular language, but languages do package thoughts differently. So it's unlikely we'll find a noun equivalent of 'le vivre-ensemble' in English, but you can always turn ideas round and use a verb phrase instead.
     

    gibouille

    Member
    France French
    To me "le vivre ensemble " is not so much the way people interact, but the set of abilities that people need to obtain before they can interact in a way that is sufficiently acceptable in a certain society.

    It's not interaction itself but the standards of interaction expected from a sane and educated person. It's a skill that needs to be trained.
     

    Wodwo

    Senior Member
    UK English
    It's not interaction itself but the standards of interaction expected from a sane and educated person. It's a skill that needs to be trained.
    Sure, but if you're regulating it, doesn't that imply that it doesn't always happen as it should - so you are regulating the interaction between people, which may or may not manifest the qualities of 'vivre-ensemble'?

    I think we can get a bit hung up on particular words to the exclusion of the overall meaning.
     

    delaterre

    Member
    us english (west coast)
    Oooo, this phrase!

    Its meaning today flows from particular contemporary debates about French nationality. When politicians use the phrase "vivre ensemble," they are referring to a concept that is often spoken of alongside fraternity and "mixité," another buzzword that means something like diversity but that does NOT carry with it the multicultural connotations an American or Canadian might assume (mixité is less about embracing difference and more about seeing the Frenchness in everyone regardless of differences).

    Remember, "peaceful coexistence" (a possible translation someone mentioned) in the French republican model is NOT multicultural. It is premised on the ideal of a SINGLE national community that is, in theory, universal and open to all who embrace French republican and enlightenment ideals. The acknowledgement of differences is seen as dangerous and balkanizing.

    When the 2010 ban on facial coverings was passed, the ultimate legal justification was that covering the face in public is a rejection of "vivre ensemble," and hence a rejection of the very social glue that binds French society (and, therefore, a threat to public order; and even individual freedoms can be violated if they pose a threat to public order). Folks can argue about the truthfulness of that claim, but I'm just explaining a contemporary usage of the expression. As you can see in this particular use, vivre ensemble means living together with others in French society while also embracing core French ideological commitments. That's where the "harmony" connotation comes from - French Muslims in burqas were assumed by many politicians to be rejecting French values (that's disharmonious). That's ALSO where the connotation of "standards" gbiouille talks about comes from - it is a standard expectation that in France, your face is uncovered for the world to see.

    Basically, it is an expression with a lot of meaning. Imagine if you had to translate the US usage of "ghetto" before it became globally familiar. You'd have to specify it doesn't refer in that context to the historical expression for a Jewish neighborhood; you'd have to explain that it can be derogatory but can also be a badge of pride in complicated ways; you'd have to explain it is related to economics but is also racialized, and that it has to do with the US history of racism, housing segregation, white flight... you wouldn't translate it in one word. You just couldn't.

    When I have to "translate" vivre ensemble into english, I give a literal translation then explain the social significance of the phrase. I do not want to cheat readers out of its full meaning. Especially since it is such a political buzzword!
     

    Mauricet

    Senior Member
    French - France
    C'est une excellente explication de le vivre ensemble au sens politique dans le contexte français.

    Mais le vivre ensemble, au sens plus général (cf Gibouille), c'est tout ce qui permet la vie collective sans violence. Et ça n'a à peu près rien à voir, dans cet emploi du mot, avec la cohabitation entre groupes d'origines différentes : même entre Dupont et Dupond et Tintin, Tournesol et le capitaine Haddock, pour ne pas en venir aux mains quand on n'est pas d'accord, il faut tout un arsenal de savoir-faire, de savoir-être, de techniques de communication et de gestion des conflits, qui peuvent faire l'objet d'un apprentissage.

    On parle dans ce cas d'une formation au vivre ensemble. Quand on parle de l'école, c'est probablement de ça qu'il s'agit ...
     
    Mais alors selon la dernière définition de Mauricet, on en revient aux 'social skills', non ?
    Je ne suis pas sûre que ce soit suffisant, étant donné que la formation au 'vivre ensemble' dans le contexte scolaire s'incrit dans l'apprentissage de la citoyenneté et tout le jargon qui va avec.

    Plus précisément, dans mon cas, je dois traduire le 'vivre ensemble' dans la phrase suivante :

    De manière générale, la finalité est de préparer les enfants à participer le mieux possible à la vie démocratique, en assumant et en exerçant leurs droits et leurs devoirs de citoyen et en les préparant au « vivre ensemble ».

    Je suis allée pêcher tous les termes proposés dans cette dicussion, les voici. Je vais en choisir un, ajouter "le vivre ensemble" en français entre parenthèses, et peut-être même mettre une petite 'note de la traductrice' en plus.

    coexistence of people, live together, community life, live together in harmony, community harmony, good cohabitation, harmony in diversity, peaceful coexistence, sharing the space, cultural diversity, Togetherness, Group interaction, Social harmony, respectful interaction, social skills, ...

    However, any useful suggestion would be welcome :rolleyes:
     
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    I like it in my context, thanks!
    After getting away from my work for a little while, I have come to the conclusion that this is exactly what the author meant, and 'le vivre ensemble' just sounded more in fashion than 'la vie en société'...
     

    gibouille

    Member
    France French
    Le vivre ensemble ca peut être aussi varié que :

    Dire bonjour, laisser parler l'autre, savoir faire la queue, ne pas bousculer, ne pas laisser son chien faire ses besoins n'importe ou, ne pas faire de tapage nocturne mais ne pas forcément non plus appeler la police directement dés que le voisin fait un peu de bruit, ne pas fumer dans des lieux publics y compris quand ca n'est pas expressément interdit... finalement c'est faire attention à l'autre.

    Simplement en français c'est quelque chose qu'on considère comme une compétence qu'il faut acquérir et qu'on peut éventuellement devoir évaluer, par exemple à l'école (vie scolaire).

    C'est "social skills" mais avec l'idée que ca n'est pas inné, ca s'apprend, ca peut nécessiter un dressage.

    Après c'est vrai que la dimension interculturelle est plus ou moins sous entendue.
     
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    Wodwo

    Senior Member
    UK English
    C'est "social skills" mais avec l'idée que ca n'est pas inné, ca s'apprend.
    The term "social skills" also implies something learned, to my ear anyway.

    It seems like "le vivre-ensemble" translates differently in different contexts, just as the English word "chair" must be either a chaise or a fauteuil.
     

    auptitgallo

    Senior Member
    English
    I'm probably being hopelessly simplistic (or just downright wrong), but I thought that in most circumstances you could translate the concept of "le vivre-ensemble" into English as 'social cohesion'.
     

    gibouille

    Member
    France French
    I'm probably being hopelessly simplistic (or just downright wrong), but I thought that in most circumstances you could translate the concept of "le vivre-ensemble" into English as 'social cohesion'.
    Social cohesion is a result of people exercising their "vivre ensemble" .
    "Vivre ensemble" is something that you learn and practice, social cohesion is the long-term benefit.
     

    Aristide

    Senior Member
    france, french
    I think the best translation of "le vivre ensemble" is "the living together", whether it's good English or not.
    You have to realize that "le vivre ensemble" is not proper French either.

    That phrase is aggressively pushed by the government and the media. It makes me think of the words invented by Orwell in his novel 1984: goodthink, crimethink, doublethink.

    It is coded language. What it means is living together with non-whites, whether you like it or not. It's the same as the word diversity. But "le vivre ensemble" sounds even more threatening to me than diversity.
     

    Chimel

    Senior Member
    Français
    Il n'y a aucune raison de donner à cette expression une connotation politique (et péjorative) aussi marquée. Le vivre ensemble peut aussi désigner la cohabitation harmonieuse entre les générations, par exemple. C'est le cas de projets d'habitat groupé et intergénérationnel (des personnes vieillissantes rendent service à de jeunes familles et vice-versa): on parle là aussi de favoriser le "vivre ensemble", de même que pour des projets d'intégration de personnes handicapées dans le milieu scolaire ou professionnel.

    Quant à dire que ce n'est pas du "proper French"... Si: c'est du français contemporain, formé sur le même modèle que des expressions passées dans l'usage comme: le savoir-vivre, le savoir-faire, le mieux-être...
     

    Aristide

    Senior Member
    france, french
    Le vivre ensemble peut aussi désigner la cohabitation harmonieuse entre les générations, par exemple.
    Exactement. Ça peut aussi désigner la cohabitation entre poissons dans un aquarium. Dans le même ordre d'idées, on pourrait dire, sans aucune arrière-pensée politique, que la diversité est la plus grande force d'un aquarium. Par contre, je n'ai jamais entendu l'expression "mieux-être" (ni pire-être).
     

    Hildy1

    Senior Member
    English - US and Canada
    Le vivre ensemble ca peut être aussi varié que :

    Dire bonjour, laisser parler l'autre, savoir faire la queue, ne pas bousculer, ne pas laisser son chien faire ses besoins n'importe ou, ne pas faire de tapage nocturne mais ne pas forcément non plus appeler la police directement dés que le voisin fait un peu de bruit, ne pas fumer dans des lieux publics y compris quand ca n'est pas expressément interdit... finalement c'est faire attention à l'autre.
    That sounds like plain old "good manners", which indeed children learn, or should learn, at home and at school.
     

    Chimel

    Senior Member
    Français
    To me, le vivre ensemble is pretty close to la cohabitation harmonieuse. The "good manners" you are referring to are one of the elements of it, but it is way broader.
     

    joelooc

    Senior Member
    French (Provence)
    Si je ne craignais pas (et en fait je ne le crains pas) d'être accusé de stigmatiser quelque communauté que ce soit, je parlerais de mauvaise foi.
    Il est clair que dans l'introduction de l'expression consensuelle du vivre ensemble il y a, de manière sous-jacente, la notion d'évitement de conflit (à savoir le déni de la forme primitive de la nature humaine). Le fait que ce soit dans l'espace relativement clos d'un aquarium ou relativement illimité d'un univers globalisé ne change rien à la réalité.

    Donner la priorité à togetherness (la très judéo-chrétienne convivialité) équivaut à occulter la notion de territorialité comme si vivre ensemble ne signifiait pas vivre quelque part. Si je voulais faire de la provocation je soufflerais le très international lebensraum (talk about avoiding conflicts:rolleyes:).

    Je pense que progresser dans cette défintion passe par une réflexion qui n'exclut pas les composantes: share/social/space/territory.
     

    wildan1

    Moderando ma non troppo (French-English, CC Mod)
    English - USA
    The live-together rings no bells in my English-speaking ear, Aristide, sorry. Grammatically, it is not something we would say.

    One big, happy family might work here, with a touch of sarcasm it would suggest in the context of a political campaign.
     
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