This article deals with two debates at two different moments in history: the recent 2004 debate on a law proposed by the Chirac government that aimed at forbidding any religious signs (including the Islamic headscarf) worn in an ostensible way at school; and the 1892 debate on native education in Algeria and the opportunity to have a Koran teacher at school. At stake in both debates were two conceptions of Republican laïcité (secularism), one assimilationist, the other more pragmatic.
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French Secularism in Debate
Old Wine in New Bottles
The 2011 Libya campaign highlighted the divergence of interests between France and Germany within the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in matters of Middle East and global security. This divergence calls for a reassessment of the meaning of their bilateral cooperation, as defined in the Treaty of Friendship between France and Germany, otherwise known as the Élysée Treaty, signed on 22 January 1963 by Chancellor Konrad Adenauer and President Charles de Gaulle. This article focuses on France, which engaged militarily in Libya cooperating with the United Kingdom as its principal European partner. Germany, for reasons explained by its history, political culture, and the nature of its federal system, chose to abstain in the United Nations vote to authorize the campaign. These differences between France and Germany suggest a contrast in their respective security and, particularly defense, policy objectives on the fiftieth anniversary of the Élysée Treaty.
From Measuring Integration to Fighting Discrimination
The Illusion of "Ethnic Statistics"
Alain Blum and France Guérin-Pace
In this article, we engage in a debate that first took place in France ten years ago, but that has revived today. This debate concerns the question of whether to introduce ethnic categories in statistical surveys in France. There is strong opposition between those who argue for statistical categories to measure ethnic or racial populations as part of an effort to fight against discrimination, and those who argue against such statistics. The latter, including the authors of the present article, discuss the impossibility of building such categories, their inadequacies, and the political and social consequences they could have because of the way they represent society. They also argue that there are better, more efficient ways to measure discrimination and to fight against it. After describing the history of this debate, the authors present the different positions and explore the larger implications of the debate for French public life.
une géographie à inventer
This article argues that the way French society comprehends its territory is not only an aspect of a more general identity crisis, but also an acting component of an overall political model. France can be characterized as a "state-fatigued" society. Centralism has had an important spatial consequence: an alliance of the nation-state and provincial "notables" against the city. The major cities, especially Paris, produce for the rest of the country but continue to be denied effective local and regional political power. In this context, the peculiar tradition of aménagement du territoire can be analyzed as a discourse based on the myth of a demiurge, the state, which would be the only legitimate actor able to restore France's grandeur by reconquering the deprived parts of its territory. Correlative public polices target moral compensation for a supposed injustice: a partial reimbursement of the debt France once contracted by incorporating the provinces into the national territory. After reviewing disappointing recent changes in the geographical architecture of political power, the article makes some proposals. They are based on the dual framework that an empowerment of relevant spatial units will be necessary and that only a profound and massive debate involving ordinary citizens can overcome the current institutional gridlock.
For decades, the influential Franco-American scholar Stanley Hoffmann saw his role at Harvard as “explainer and defender of France.” * 1 France was an indispensable country—from culture to architecture, from education to bureaucracy. Analyzing the
Introduction As a major centre of the Enlightenment and the first European country to emancipate the Jews, France accompanied the Jewish people into modernity and created conditions that were favourable for the emergence of a Reform movement
A French Paradox?
Toward an Explanation of Inconsistencies between Framing and Policies
Henri Bergeron, Patrick Castel, and Abigail C. Saguy
In much of the world, obesity is represented as an issue of personal responsibility. * By contrast, in France, which has a tradition of social solidarity through state-funded social programs, obesity is framed largely as an issue of corporate
Maneuvering Whiteness in France
Muslim Converts’ Ambivalent Encounters with Race
racial consciousness.” 10 This article proposes to explore such contradictions, inconsistencies, and ambivalences by focusing on the very specific case of White converts to Islam in France. Since the early 2010s, literature about Whiteness has been
Black and White on the Silver Screen
Views of Interracial Romance in French Films and Reviews since the 1980s
This article explores French attitudes about race during and after the years of the National Front's breakthrough by looking at French films and film reviews on the topic of interracial couples. In a country in which antiracists have been reluctant to legitimize the concept of race by talking about it, but in which the far Right has made gains by proclaiming its own views on race, French film-makers in the 1980s and after broached the topic in numerous films, but they often did so in ways that avoided controversy or serious reflection on current French racism. French critics of both French and American films featuring interracial couples also sidestepped the most explosive issues, revealing a disinclination to discuss a troubling and divisive concept, but also a persistent belief that racism remained an American problem and obsession.
Freedom Papers Hidden in His Shoe
Navigating Emancipation across Imperial Boundaries
A microhistorical inquiry into the life of Furcy, a man held in slavery in the French Indian Ocean colony of Île Bourbon (today Réunion), sheds light on shifting French policies and practices regarding race and slavery from the Old Regime to the general emancipation of 1848. The mobility of two enslaved domestic servants, Furcy and his mother Madeleine, who traveled between Bengal, Île Bourbon, Mauritius, and continental France, challenged French and British understandings of who could be legitimately held as slaves. Furcy's tenacious battle to win recognition of his freedom in multiple jurisdictions is a forgotten precursor to many international disputes over the juridical principle of Free Soil in the age of Emancipation.