En avril 2013, au paroxysme des tensions qui entourent l'adoption de la loi Taubira, Frigide Barjot, cheffe de file de la Manif’ pour tous, menace François Hollande de « sang » si la loi pour le mariage homosexuel est adoptée par l'assemblée. Christine Boutin, égérie des catholiques traditionnalistes, parle de « guerre civile » dans des tweets vengeurs. En quelques mois, des centaines de milliers de personnes descendent dans les rues pour manifester et contre-manifester. Moins de quinze ans après l'adoption du Pacs, on invoque à nouveau la République intemporelle et les principes révolutionnaires. On parle, la gorge serrée, de Marianne qu'on trahit. Derrière chaque contrat ou chaque gamète, c'est l'ordre social qui se joue, la République qu'on menace, le symbolique qui tangue… Au début des années 2010, devant les caméras éberluées du monde entier, la France montre à nouveau la place singulière qu'occupent les questions familiales dans le débat public.
Sébastien Roux and Aurélie Fillod-Chabaud
Procédure d'adoption et colorblindness institutionnelle en France
While France is largely considered a “colorblind” society, which hinders any public use of racial categories, this article explores the case of international procedure, arguing that it constitutes an exception to institutional colorblindness in the French context. Racial categories are not only explicitly used on a daily basis by adoption professionals, but their use is also officially encouraged, yet in an ambiguous way. In this regard, adoption procedures operate as a moment of color consciousness for many adoptive parents. By focusing on this particular case study, the article aims more generally to unpack the stakes of the taboo surrounding race in France.
Diplomacy, Ethics, and Competition in the French World of Adoption
The international circulation of children requires a multiplicity of interventions. Adoptive flows must respect the ethical standards defined by the Hague Convention (1993) and be realized in the context of a drastic contraction of the migration of children for adoptive purposes. For a dozen years, the French government has been following a partially contradictory double imperative: the moral respect of universal principles enacted by international treaties, and the political maintenance of France among the adoptive “great nations” that are able to favor its nationals. Based on a multi-site field study, this contribution aims to shed light on the architecture, discourse, and actions of these “adoptive public agents.” Drawing on interviews and observations conducted in France and abroad, this article describes how bureaucrats act in practice to create French adoptive families, at the blurred and troubled intersection between the promotion of universal children's rights and the favoring of French national interests.
Un facteur d'évolution de la morphologie familiale (1945–1985)
In France, international adoption developed in the 1960s and became an important social phenomenon in the 1980s. During this period, successive regulations led to differences in the ways the interest of the French child and the foreign child were treated. This situation also challenged the established norms of the conjugal family. Adopting a foreign child made it possible to “make a family” differently, and gave French society new forms of the family to consider that both shaped and illustrated the evolution of family morphology. Adoptive families also participated in debates on the concepts of family, kinship, and parenthood, and they helped to make disabled children and so-called “children of color” more accepted.
Romanization and the French Colonial Imagination in Nineteenth-Century Tunisia
In 1892, the French resident general in Tunisia launched the first state-sponsored colonization effort in the Tunisian protectorate. Based on Paul Bourde's study of ancient Roman agriculture, the colonization plan explicitly sought to remake Roman prosperity in central Tunisia by fostering the cultivation of olives. Examining Bourde's study of the ancient past and his work as director of agriculture in Tunisia, this article explores the connections between the study of the Roman Empire and the development of colonialism in North Africa. In tracing this history, this article highlights how the study and use of Roman ruins in French Tunisia inspired an appreciation for the role that technology and material development played in supporting the spread of Roman civilization and culture.
The Government of Kafala by the Institutions of Adoption
For several years now, orphaned children have been arriving from Algeria and Morocco for legal collection by families residing on French territory. While most Muslim countries prohibit full adoption, they do allow forms of delegation of parental authority (kafala) that enable abandoned children living in orphanages to be cared for by families. Due to the prohibitive status of adoption in Morocco and Algeria and the fact that France is required to adhere to the regulations of those countries, these children arrive in France without having either the possibility of being naturalized or adopted. This article interrogates the particular reception reserved for these children by French institutions by analyzing the reasons for the kafala system's relative obscurity within the French field of adoption, the measures deployed by departmental councils to assess candidates for kafala, and, finally, the alternative strategies such families use to adapt to French rule.
Blurring Marseille and Brightening Paris in Contested Processes of Boundary Making
The scholarship on French rap has thus far paid too little attention to social boundary making. This is important given the long-standing sociological importance of territorial boundaries in creating and reenforcing marginalization, especially for ethnic and racial minorities, in French cities. This article highlights the process of boundary making by presenting an analysis of 364 rap tracks from the 1990s. The results demonstrate stark contrasts: 94 percent of Marseille rappers depict boundaries at the city level, while 68 percent of Paris rappers use districts (arrondissements and suburban départements) as the key signifiers of boundary making. Paris rap follows an established pattern of brightening existing socioeconomic and territorial boundaries through lyrics that focus on alienation and marginalization. Rap from Marseille follows a countervailing logic of blurring socioeconomic and territorial boundaries through lyrics that strive to capture a lived, inclusive multiculturalism in the city.
Rural Medicine and Colonial Authority in Cameroon
Sarah C. Runcie
This article examines French responses to transnational influences on medical education and rural health in Cameroon in the era of decolonization. As international organizations became increasingly involved in Cameroon in the postwar period, French military doctors claimed authority through specific expertise on medicine in the African “bush.” After Cameroon became independent, however, the building of new medical school became a focus of French anxieties about maintaining power in new African institutions of technical expertise and knowledge production. While scholars have begun to foreground the international context of Franco-African relations after independence, this article reveals how the distinct politics of Cameroon's decolonization, growing out of its history as a United Nations (UN) trust territory, shaped French approaches to medical institutions there. Moreover, negotiations over the future of rural medicine in Cameroon highlighted the ways in which the approaches championed by French doctors relied on colonial authority itself.
Since independence in 1956, Morocco has actively promoted Arabic and Arab culture through successive waves of “Arabization” policies in its educational system. Yet, French educational diplomas continue to be crucial resources in Morocco, while national Moroccan degrees retain little social and economic currency. Relying on ethnographic fieldwork in Morocco carried out in 2018, this article looks at students from various socioeconomic backgrounds, asks how the grip of French education seventy years after Moroccan independence is experienced on the ground, and provides historical context to account for this situation. It argues that Morocco is an extreme but representative example of how former French colonies—and countries in the Global South—have created new forms of dependence due to their attempts to expand access to education on limited budgets.
The Founding of the United Nations and the Limits of Colonial Reform
Jessica Lynne Pearson
This article explores the French delegation's approach to debates about colonial oversight and accountability that took place at the Conference on International Organization in San Francisco in 1945, where delegates from fifty nations gathered to draft the United Nations (UN) Charter. Drawing on documents from the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the UN, and the American press, it argues that while French officials at home and in the empire were eagerly negotiating a new French Union that would put metropolitan France and the colonies on unprecedently equal footing, French delegates to the San Francisco conference were unwilling to take a stand for these reforms-in-progress. Ultimately, French delegates to the conference lacked confidence that the incipient French Union would stand up to international scrutiny as these delegates worked to establish new international standards for what constituted “self-government.”