Citizens in the city (séries générales LV2)

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Unit 1 - | Corpus Sujets - 1 Sujet Citizens in the city  

France métropolitaine 2014 • LV2 séries générales






France métropolitaine • Juin 2014

Séries générales • LV2

Text 1

Why gated communities are becoming a global problem

Thoughts and observations on what makes cities great places to live, ­written by a native of Vancouver.

The prevalence of gated communities has steadily risen across the United States since the 1960s. According to Edward Blakely, author of Fortress America, census figures show that between 6 and 9 million Americans live behind gates. The appeal of gated ­communities lies in their promise of safety, privacy, exclusivity, and ultimately sameness and predictability.

People choose to live in these communities because they want to be around people like them and have freedom from the uncertainty of the outside world – most gated communities have a school, community centre, pool, and other amenities. You rarely have to leave the community, except when commuting to work.

However, that promise of safety and sameness is now proving to be pretty empty. In a recent article on gated communities in The Atlantic Cities, author Sarah Goodyear wrote: “By fostering suspicion and societal divisions, gated communities can paradoxically compromise safety rather than increase it. And because they cut residents off from the larger community, they can shrink1 the notion of civic engagement and allow residents to retreat from civic responsibility.”

When you retreat into a big home in a gated or exclusively high-income community, you aren’t exposed to other cultures, people less fortunate than you, artists, senior citizens, etc. Common knowledge suggests that being exposed to different people and experiences is how we broaden our horizons. It is how we become inspired to do the little daily things that make the world a better place – like volunteering, making art or music, and creating or participating in community projects.

In a gated community, you wouldn’t do any of these things because society’s problems are no longer your problem and all you need for pleasure is there for you to passively enjoy. This might be okay on a vacation, but it does not make for an ideal society. People in gated communities run the risk of being culturally malnourished as they shut out difference and diversity for a predictable fantasyland that has no connection to reality., Aug. 11th, 2012.

1. to shrink: (here) render less important.

Text 2

Well-being in the city

The experience of life in the city comprises the sum total of all encounters, relationships and experiences with other people during the course of the day. Well-being arises from contacts that are satisfying, and enjoyable, that affirm persons as individuals and as members of a community. The city must provide occasions and places for such good experiences to occur. Participation in social interactions makes an essential contribution to personal well-being. Impoverishment in social contact may result in a sense of isolation, meaning­lessness for individuals and in the dissolution of social bonds for the community.

Once we think about cities in terms of this conception, we must consider the nature of public social life, the conditions both architectural and social, under which it flourishes, and how the public and private domains interconnect.

The relation of public and private involves the flow of interest and attention from the private to the public world–to ‘what is happening out there’–as well as from the public to the private world. In the public realm, multiple perspectives and viewpoints prevail that inform and correct the single one-sided perspective of the private world.

The public realm makes possible the exchange of opinion and information that forms the basis of civic dialogue and development of consensus.

It is in the public realm that we learn about each other, through observation and participation, and develop a public conscience that pays heed to the foibles and needs of our fellow citizens.


The public realm facilitates learning about ways of being and relating! We learn how persons relate within and across generational, social class, and experiential difference, and become skilled in making inferences about the fate and biography of our fellow beings. We learn about the humanity and dignity of all persons.

Henry L. Lennard, ‘The Essence of the City’ (1991). (available at


Text 1

1 Choose the right definition. A gated community is

1. a group of houses in a protected area with restricted access.

2. a group of houses in which residents enjoy limited freedom of movement.

3. a group of houses in which rich people live and participate in common projects.

4. a group of houses in which artists come together to create art and music.

2 What are the expectations of the people who want to live in gated communities Answer and explain using your own words.

3 Explain in your own words why “gated communities can paradoxically compromise safety rather increase it” (l. 15-16).

4 “This might be okay on a vacation, but it does not make for an ideal society.” (l. 30-31) What are the implications of this distinction

Text 2

1 Find in the text a synomym for “public realm”.

2 Choose the right sentence to sum up the text.

1. City life restricts social contacts.

2. Limited social contact contributes to citizens’ well-being.

3. People need exchanges with different kinds of people to become full citizens.

4. We learn about ourselves when we live away from the community.

31. Pick out at least 3 elements from the text showing the consequences of living in isolation.

2. Pick out at least 3 elements from the text showing the consequences of being a full member of the “public realm (l. 18 21 24).

Both texts

Les candidats des séries ES, S et L LV2 obligatoire traiteront la question 1. Les candidats de la série L traiteront également la question 2.

1 What are the consequences of isolation as described in both texts Answer in a few sentences using your own words and elements from the texts.

2 The word “civic” is mentioned in both texts (text 1, l. 18 text 2, l. 22). What does it imply in terms of individual freedom and social harmony


> Les candidats des séries ES, S traiteront la question 1. Les candidats de la série L LV2 obligatoire traiteront les questions 1 et 2. Les candidats de la série L LVA traiteront la question 1 et un des deux sujets de la question 3.

1 You want to do some volunteer work. Your parents disagree. Imagine your conversation.

2 Discuss the importance of relating “within and across social […] class” (text 2, l. 29-30)

3 Do you think that “little daily things like volunteering, making art or music, and creating or participating in community projects” (text 1, l. 25-27) can make the world a better place


It is in the public realm that we learn about each other, through observation and participation, and develop a public conscience” (text 2, l. 24-25). Discuss.

Texte 1

L’auteur est un blog tenu par une Canadienne, Jillian Glover, conseillère en communication gouvernementale, qui s’intéresse tout particulièrement aux problèmes urbains et à la façon dont, dans un environnement urbain, les citoyens participent à la vie de la cité.

Pour en savoir plus :

Résumé du texte

L’auteur s’interroge sur le phénomène de quartiers résidentiels clos, dont le nombre ne cesse de croître aux USA. Leurs habitants, d’un milieu social plutôt favorisé, sont attirés par une impression de sécurité et d’appartenance à une communauté qui partage les mêmes goûts et les mêmes valeurs. Elle explique cependant que ce type de communauté n’a que des effets négatifs sur l’ensemble de la société : leurs habitants s’isolent du monde extérieur au point qu’il les indiffère, rétrécissent leur horizon culturel, intellectuel et social et, du coup, ne jouent plus le rôle de citoyens responsables.

Vocabulaire utile à la compréhension

Gated, l. 1 (clos)  gate, l. 4 (portail)  steadily, l. 1 (de manière constante)  census, l. 3 (recensement)  appeal l. 4 (attrait)  amenities, l. 10 (équipements)  to commute to work, l. 11 (faire la navette entre son domicile et son lieu de travail)  pretty, l. 13 (adv. : plutôt)  to foster, l. 14 (encourager, favoriser)  to broaden l. 24 (élargir)  to volunteer, l. 26 (faire du bénévolat).

Texte 2


Le socio-psychologue Henry L. Lennard (1923-2005) a centré ses recherches sur l’interaction sociale – nécessaire pour leur bien-être mental – entre les habitants de la cité et a présenté ses théories sur l’urbanisme dans plusieurs ouvrages et lors de conférences.

Pour en savoir plus :

Résumé du texte

Un lien social fort entre les habitants de la cité est indispensable à leur bien-être. Faciliter la relation pour chacun entre la sphère privée et la sphère publique doit être au centre des préoccupations des architectes et des urbanistes, afin qu’au lieu de s’isoler, les citoyens puissent se connaître, dialoguer et participer à la vie de la cité.

Vocabulaire utile à la compréhension

Encounter, l. 2 (rencontre)  well-being, l. 3 (le bien-être)  to provide, l. 5 (fournir)  impoverishment l. 7-8 (appauvrissement)  bond, l. 9 (lien)  to flourish, l. 13 (se développer)  to involve, l. 15 (impliquer)  flow, l. 15 (flux)  realm, l. 18 (domaine)  to pay heed, l. 26 (être attentif à)  foibles, l. 26 (les travers)  skilled, l. 30 (qualifié, expert)  fate, l. 31 (destin).

Les points de convergence

Les deux textes traitent de la vie en milieu urbain, en particulier de la nécessité de ne pas s’isoler mais au contraire de prendre conscience des autres et participer ensemble à la vie de la cité.

Le sujet d’expression 1 (tous les candidats)

Pistes de recherche

Choisissez d’abord le domaine dans lequel vous seriez bénévole : citez un organisme réel ou inventez-en un. Pour convaincre vos parents réticents, développez autant d’arguments que possible. Ils sont nombreux et variés : donner un sens à votre vie, changer celle des autres, aider à construire une société plus tolérante et solidaire, payer une sorte de dette à la société qui vous donne la chance d’avoir une vie décente. Sur un plan plus personnel, faire partie d’une équipe, rencontrer des gens, vous sentir valorisé par le bien que vous apporteriez, et ainsi acquérir un peu plus de confiance en vous, acquérir une expérience, voire des compétences dans votre domaine d’action, ajouter un élément personnel valorisant à un futur CV…

Vocabulaire utile

Selfish (egoïste)  to support (subvenir aux besoins de)  to make ends meet (joindre les deux bouts)  the least I can do (le moindre que je puisse faire)  self-esteem (estime de soi)  to benefit from (tirer profit de)  to (be of) benefit (être utile).

Le sujet d’expression 2 (LV1 obligatoire)

Pistes de recherche

Faites la distinction entre within social class (à l’intérieur d’une classe sociale) et across social class (d’une classe sociale à l’autre). Les relations sociales sont en effet plus faciles dans la sphère d’une même classe sociale qu’entre membres de classes sociales différentes (énumérez alors ce qui peut rendre les relations difficiles : différences culturelles, de revenus, education, etc.). Dans l’histoire, les classes sociales se sont toujours démarquées les unes par rapport aux autres, certaines se donnant un rôle dominant. Mais, comme le disent les deux textes, il faut dépasser les différences pour se comprendre et arriver ensemble à vivre dans une société harmonieuse.

Vocabulaire utile

To contend (affirmer)  to find it easy to... (trouver facile de…)  the income (le revenu)  prejudice (préjugé)  to smooth things over (arrondir les angles).

Le sujet d’expression 3 (LVA)

Pistes de recherche

Nombreuses sont les actions qui, au niveau simplement local, ou sur une plus grande échelle (donnez des exemples connus ou personnels), permettent d’apporter ces petites choses qui procurent un peu de bien-être, de soulagement ou simplement un peu de joie. Ce que peut apporter le travail bénévole de quelques-uns, un petit projet de quelques autres, une manifestation artistique locale, une association qui permet de se connaître, de parler, d’organiser ensemble, peut paraître modeste mais est pourtant très positif. La somme de ces actions quotidiennes contribue à améliorer quelque peu le sort de la communauté.

Vocabulaire utile

Level (niveau)  to gather (se rassembler)  to fail (échouer)  relief (soulagement)  to hand out (distribuer)  fare (le boire et le manger)  to fulfil needs (répondre à des besoins).



Text 1

11. A gated community is a group of houses in a protected area with ­restricted access.

2 People want to feel safe and have their private lives respected. They expect to live with people from the same social class, who share the same values. They find this life where nothing is unexpected, quite comfortable.

3 In fact, life in gated communities results in a society divided into groups who do not communicate and do not feel involved in it. This brings narrow-mindedness and suspicion between people who do not share the same values as other communities.

4 Vacations are short periods when you may want quiet moments away from other people and the problems of city life. But on a social scale, if you narrow-mindedly cut yourself off from real life all the time, this can be quite harmful for social harmony as you lose any sense of responsibility.

Text 2

1 Public… domain (l. 13-14)

23. People need exchanges with different kinds of people to become full citizens.

31. “a sense of isolation, meaninglessness for individuals, dissolution of social bonds for the community.” (l. 8-10)

2. “personal well-being” (l. 7), “civic dialogue”, “development of consensus” (l. 22-23), “learn about each other and develop public conscience” (l. 24-25).

Both texts

Uniquement pour les candidats de LV2 obligatoire.

1 When you live isolated from the rest of society, you can become narrow-minded and intolerant to other people’s values, as you don’t know about their cultures and habits. Thus you don’t participate in the life of the community and lose all sense of citizenship.

Uniquement pour les candidats de la série L.

2 The word “civic” refers to a collective opinion in society, the idea of being a citizen. In the first text the author talks about “civic dialogue” which means sharing opinions with a common objective. In the second document, the term used is “civic engagement” which implies a notion of responsibility and implication in one’s community. Overall, the term implies the correlation of individual freedoms: through discussion and responsibility in order to reach the mutual goal of social harmony.


1 Guidelines

Dad: John, your Mum tells me you want to do some volunteer work. What’s all this about

John: Yes, Dad. Last week, I surfed the website and decided to volunteer for the Volunteering in Care Homes campaign. That would make my life more meaningful.

Mum: “Make your life more meaningful” Oh come on, do you find your life meaningless

John: Mum, I would help residents in an old people’s home have a better life! Doesn’t that mean anything to you After all, there will come a time when you might be one of those people needing help.

Dad: Now you’re calling us old! Can’t you think of doing something more useful with your life You’d be better off carrying on with your studies, getting a good job and taking care of a wife and children!

John: How selfish you adults want us to be! I’m not saying I mean to drop out of school! I feel I am lucky: I can go to school and have an education, I live in a family who can support me and provide me with everything I need, I have friends, but I know some old people who can’t make ends meet and, most of all, are lonely and feel they’ve been abandoned. The least I can do is to try to help them and give something back to the community.

Mum: Thinking about others is all right, but you should think about yourself first, to be in a position to help.

John: I am thinking about myself! Firstly I would feel valued, being part of a team who acts in making life different for others, and not simply being a student. Then it would be an opportunity for me to make new friends. You keep telling me I lack self-esteem there you are! Isn’t that the best way to gain confidence in myself Besides, it would enhance my CV when I start applying for jobs: people would know I’m caring, dedicated to others, ready to spend my time on serious community projects. I’m sure I would gain new skills and experience that would be great help in the kind of job that I want to have. You see, I can only benefit from doing things that benefit others!

2 Guidelines

Un peu de vocabulaire

Stumbling block : ­obstacle, pierre d’achoppement.

Henry L. Lennard contends that it is capital for the well-being of society to be able to relate within social class (people in your own social class) and across social class (with peoplefrom other social classes). The vast majority of people find it easy to relate with people in their own class. At work with their workmates, and at home, as you generally live in areas where people have roughly the same kind of income and thus belong to the same social class as you do. But it is more difficult when it comes to relating with people from other classes or cultures. Generally in the past, societies were built on the idea of classes that kept themselves apart from each other, with relations based on the principle of who dominates whom. Even these days prejudices can easily spring up against those whose jobs are associated with a lower degree of education, those who earn much more – or less - money than you do, those who enjoy the opera and those who are keen on pop music, those who are considered an elite and those who belong to the so-called lower class, etc. And yet, getting all these people to know and understand each other, to speak and act together, would greatly smooth things over wherever ignorance, intolerance or narrow-mindedness are the main stumbling block on the way to the harmonious and free society we all dream of.

3 Guidelines

The devil is in the details, as people say, but details can also be what make this world a better place. Heads of state and other people with important responsibilities may do what they can or wish but often solutions will come up from everyday ground level. You can’t expect the world to support you if you don’t contribute at your own level. The best way for you to contribute is to gather with other people to create and give. There are lots of causes which states fail to defend but which you can help. Think of Telethons, for example: people not only give money, they form associations to collect it and give some relief to patients and their families. Think of those people who visit hospital patients and clown around for them to make them laugh and forget their diseases for a while. Think of those people who collect and hand out food for those who can’t afford their daily fare, etc. Besides fulfilling basic needs for food and good health, you can also try, at your own level, to help making the world a more beautiful place, by organising local concerts (lots of countries now have their own “Fête de la musique”) or other local artistic events. Where I live, for example, local artists exhibit their works in the villagers’ gardens: a pleasant way of meeting your neighbours, welcoming visitors and enjoying art or simply a good time. A single community project may seem modest on the scale of a country, but can be an efficient way of bringing relief to some of its people, and the sum of all these various projects can contribute to the well-being of a whole country.