Deconstructing the Nation: Immigration, Racism and by Maxim Silverman

By Maxim Silverman

Deconstructing the country examines the relationship among racism and the advance of the geographical region in smooth France. the writer increases very important questions on the character of citizenship rights in sleek French society and contributes to wider eu debates on citizenship. by means of tough the myths of the trendy French state Maxim Silverman opens up the controversy on questions of immigration, racism, the kingdom and citizenship in France to non-French conversing readers. until eventually relatively lately those issues have mostly been missed by way of researchers in Britain and the united states. despite the fact that, eu integration has made it necessary to glance past nationwide frontiers. the key a part of his research matters the interval from the tip of the Nineteen Sixties to the start of the Nineteen Nineties. but modern advancements are positioned in a historic context: first via a attention of the development of the trendy query of immigration because the moment 1/2 the 19th century, and moment via a survey of political, fiscal and social advancements given that 1945. There are analyses of the key debates on nationality in 1987 and the scarf' affair of 1989. eventually questions of immigration, racism and citizenship are thought of in the framework of ecu integration.

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Extra resources for Deconstructing the Nation: Immigration, Racism and Citizenship in Modern France (Critical Studies in Racism and Migration)

Sample text

Talking of the wave of immigration between the wars, he suggests that if the ‘race’ is not threatened by the new immigrants—because, following Renan’s logic, the purity of the ‘race’ is a myth—it is possible that the nation is threatened (1932:556). Quoting Renan to reinforce the notion of the spiritual nature of the nation—‘a nation is a soul, a spiritual principle’ (1932:557) -he continues: ‘The influence of foreigners from the intellectual point of view, although not clearly discernible, manifests itself especially as the opposite of reason, care, and a sense of balance and finesse which characterises the French people’ (1932:558).

Colonialism established a ‘space of migration’ between the ‘metropole’ and the colonised countries (and vice versa) which was a classic channel for the mobilisation of foreign labour (Talha 1985). At the same time as ‘internationalising the economic system’ (Talha 1985:98), colonialism established, as we know, political, juridical and cultural structures which institutionalised the distinction between nationals and ‘natives’ (‘indigènes’), or citizens and subjects. The institutionalisation of definitions of the national and the foreigner therefore took place within a ‘domestic’ and international context (at home and abroad) during the first decades of the Third Republic.

It is important to underline one of the major problems with any such survey. As already argued, ‘immigration’ cannot be analysed simply through statistical evidence concerning migration flows, on the one hand, and social and economic ‘integration’ of immigrant communities in France, on the other. This statistical evidence is based on nationality and not on ethnic or other criteria. It therefore recognises only the divide between nationals and foreigners. Yet the sociological, political and ideological realities of what goes under the name ‘immigration’ today go far beyond the national/foreigner divide.

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