FRANCE National Identity & Immigration



National Identity

& Immigration


Immigration not just sensitive political issue opportunity to examine social ties, national integration and citizenship

Foreigner? Immigrant?

France: country of immigration

From early history, waves of settlers: Celts, Romans,

Germanic tribes, Vikings,

FRANCE country of political asylum: movement of populations following European wars…

Economic need for workers after WWII who escape misery in Italy and Poland, Russia...

National origins of



(socio-economic and political refugees from Italy, Spain, Russia, Greece political, Eastern European countries

Poland, Roumania, former Yougoslavia)

Former colonies:

North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa and former Indochina

(Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia…)




Usually ADULT MALE single workers

 family reunion: arrival of families and issues of integration

Integration: political framework

-German or “ethnic” model: nationality linked to descent (right of blood line)

French or “political” model: derived from republican principles.

Aim is to assimilate/integrate

Nationality=citizenship=right of soil

British/US model: recognition of minorities with issues of ghettoisation/ segregation


Constitutionally (republican principles) France does not discriminate either negatively or positively on account of race/nationality

FAS (social action fund for immigrant workers and families)



Marriage to a French national

(for 1 year)

 granting of nationality to people who have reached their majority (18 years) and have lived in France for at least five years

 acquisition by Right of soil in the case of 18-year-old children of foreigners born in France, and resident there for at least five years between the ages of 11 and 18

(under Article44).

Integration problems

The causes

Socio-economic= schooling housing/unemployment (lack of education and qualifications, language issues, few financial resources, social problems..)

Concentration in large urban centers, HLM suburban housing

( Paris, Lyon, Lille, Marseilles,


Also: mutual cultural perceptions.

Xenophobia is often linked to periods of economic depression

Discrimination for jobs

Racism linked to colonial past and Islam (fuelled by customs clashing with secular & gender equality principles of French civilization).

=sensitive arguments used for political ends (the National

Front/Le Pen)

Prospects for the integration of immigrants in France

Integration paths of European and non-European immigrants are diverging

•Integration of E. U citizens is of a different nature

• Fighting exclusion and marginalization of non-E.U citizens

Integration =EU member states matter





-measures for regulating entry and residence, short and long term.

--illegal immigration and residence ->Big problem today!