The quest for identity is becoming one of the most politically charged issues at the start of the third millennium. The transformative processes that are occurring as a result of globalization, as well as the mass population migrations that took place in the twentieth century, explain why the question of identity has become so central a political driving force to both the well-established democracies of the West and the post-colonial societies as they evolve in their quest toward modernization. In reaction to the dehumanization and alienation brought about by the post-industrial economies, new dissident and "deviant" identities are being forged. The concept of French citizenship, a universal abstraction as conceived by the Enlightenment, is being challenged by specific forces relating to gender, culture, sexual orientation but especially those tied to ethnicity and religion, once considered as belonging to the past.
New identities are being forged around sub-cultures associated with consumer habits and leisure time activities such as soccer and Rai music. Others seek refuge and legitimacy searching for roots in mythical pasts and imaginary ancestry, or in transnational movements and causes. Facing simultaneously the pressures of assimilation and exclusion within the society, ethnicity and religion become alternative choices to new immigrants who also become victims of the socio-economic vagaries of globalization. The struggle for the recognition of a dissident identity is a fight for power. Representative democracies gradually absorb dissident currents into their mainstream, Islam, however, represents a particular challenge as it has become an ideological opponent to the Western rationalism. The sheer number of followers and the size of its territory appear menacing to the West, making the migrants of Muslim descent doubly undesirable, both as poor neighbors and as suspected radicals.
The uprisings of the marginalized suburbs are a symptom of this crisis. The 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center only amplified these fears. This study seeks to analyze the efforts undertaken by the French government since the 1990s, to ease the social integration of its divers minorities without sacrificing the norms and principles that make the singularity of the French national identity.
|Commitee:||Marx-Scouras, Danielle, Willging, Jennifer|
|School:||The Ohio State University|
|Department:||French and Italian|
|School Location:||United States -- Ohio|
|Source:||DAI-A 78/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||European Studies, Foreign language education|
|Keywords:||Cutltural integration, Ethnic, France, Immigration, Laws, Minorities, Multiculturalism, National identity, Political organization, Religious communities|
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