Contested Citizenship in France: The Republican Politics of Identity and Integration

Patrick Simon, Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED)

The launch of a “national conversation on national identity” in France in December 2009 constituted a major revision of the “grand bargain” that had shaped immigration and integration policies since the late 1980s. That bargain consisted in restricting immigration flows in exchange for opening French society to diversity. This debate thus gave prominence to the question of loyalty, which weighs constantly on immigrants and their descendants. This paper revisits the developments in French immigration and integration policies of the past decade, placing them in the longer history of the construction of the integration model. I assess the legacy of the “Sarkozy period” (2002-2012) in the fields of immigration (Part 1), integration (Part 2), and national belongings (Part 3). In Part 3, I use the findings of the “Trajectories and Origins” Survey to revisit the foundations of national identity as a “performance.”

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Presented in Session 45: European Perspectives on Immigration and Policy