Podcast: French police go back to school, eating insects, deciphering hieroglyphics

Police officers join a sociology degree programme and are asked to reflect on their role in society. A French start-up banks on insect protein to feed livestock and pets more sustainably. And the Frenchman whose claim to have cracked the code of hieroglyphics in the 19th century allowed him to decipher the Rosetta Stone.

After the riots in June and July, following the fatal police shooting of a young man at a traffic stop, the role of the police in France came under scrutiny. Issues of racism come to the fore with observers lamenting that relations with the public –- notably with young residents of disadvantaged city suburbs, or banlieues – have not improved in the two decades since the 2005 riots. A handful of police officers have been offered the opportunity to reflect on their role in society in a new degree programme offered by the University of Amiens. Sociologist Elodie Lemaire talks about giving police new intellectual ‘weapons’ to confront a changing world, and the police officer students talk about their motivations for wanting to question their profession in a university setting. (Listen @3’00”)

French start-up Ÿnsect is preparing to open the world’s largest vertical insect farm in the north of France, breeding mealworms to provide insect protein ingredients for pet food, animal feed and fertiliser, to help ease environmental strain on global food production. We visit the company’s first farm, launched in 2016, to look at their model for reinventing the food chain, and Ynsect’s co-founder Antoine Hubert talks about how developing the pet food market could make the French less reticent about eating insect-based foods. (Listen @20′)

On 27 September 1822, French linguist Jean-François Champollion announced that he had cracked the code of hieroglyphics, the Ancient Egyptian writing system that had puzzled scholars for centuries. The breakthrough revolutionised our understanding of one of the world’s oldest civilisations. (Listen @14’20”)

Episode mixed by Cecile Pompeani.

Spotlight on France is a podcast from Radio France International. Find us on, Apple podcasts (link here), Spotify (link here) or your favourite podcast app ( Podcast: French police go back to school, eating insects, deciphering hieroglyphics

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