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2010 - Seventeenth International Conference of the Council for European Studies Pages: unavailable || Words: 313 words || 
1. Beaman, Jean. "“Liberté, Égalité, et Fraternité”: Marginalization, Identity, and Second-generation North African Immigrants in France" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Seventeenth International Conference of the Council for European Studies, Grand Plaza, Montreal, Canada, Apr 15, 2010 Online <PDF>. 2019-06-18 <>
Publication Type: Individual Paper
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: Republicanism, as understood in France, stresses the individual versus groups and national cohesiveness versus difference among its citizens. However, scholars have long argued that this in fact has made it taboo to discuss existing differences. Despite an official “masking” of difference, the state has an increasingly narrow definition of what “French” is, a definition which often includes or excludes particular populations within French society. One of the excluded and marginalized populations is second-generation North African immigrants - those who were born in France to parents who are immigrants from former French colonies in North Africa. Despite being born in France, second-generation North African immigrants are often perceived as foreigners and therefore have their “Frenchness” contested. Based on fieldwork and interviews in both Paris and its suburbs, or banlieues, my paper investigates the following: How do second-generation North African immigrants understand and respond to their difference from and marginalization in mainstream French society? Secondly, how does this population self-identify in a society where identity politics and group categorization are not allowed? Commonly perceived as resisting integration into French society, many second-generation North African immigrants feel that the French state does not see them as full members of French society. I argue that as a consequence of this, politics based on various identities, including ethnic origin, religion, and place, emerge as respondents negotiate being French with being “something else.” These processes do not prevent integration, but rather arise as a result of problems with integration. This paper therefore complicates the meaning of cultural, ethnic, and national identity in a society that fails to acknowledge its diversity and provides a more holistic discussion of how difference manifests itself and becomes meaningful even when it is not officially recognized.

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