Migrants, mobilization, and the making of neo-liberal citizens in contemporary France

in Focaal

This article explores the implications of a neo-liberal transition to political activism among immigrants with small businesses. It focuses specifically on Chinese migrants in Paris who generally pursue livelihoods based on petty capitalism and who eschewed the mobilizations in France in the fall of 2005 and spring of 2006. Drawing on Bourdieu's idea of habitus, the political and economic forces that influence the possibilities for contentiousness and compliance among different classes of French citizens are examined as they confront changes in citizenship regimes that accompany the transition to neo-liberalism. It is suggested that the ideologies of entrepreneurship and its practices are fostered by neo-liberal regimes as a means of integrating and creating model citizens, who accept rather than challenge the prevailing political order.