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Experiencing Ethnicity in a Colour-Blind System: Minority Students in France

Claire Schiff 1
1 UMR5116
IEP Bordeaux - Sciences Po Bordeaux - Institut d'études politiques de Bordeaux, Université Bordeaux Segalen - Bordeaux 2, CED - Centre Émile Durkheim
Abstract : Since the turn of the twenty-first century, French society has witnessed both an increase in residential socioethnic segregation and the rebirth of an assimilationist political discourse which condemns even relatively mild public expressions of cultural difference or of ethnic or religious group identification, especially when they emanate from post-colonial or Muslim minorities. Although France is one of the European countries with the largest proportion of students from non-European backgrounds (INSEE 2010), its citizenship model and its secular republican school system have traditionally avoided the recognition of racial or ethnic differences (Jennings 2000, Simon 2003, Simon and Amiraux 2006). This potential discrepancy between the dominant political discourse, which reaffirms the importance of colour-blind republican universalism, and an increasingly multiethnic society is particularly salient in lower-class urban public schools receiving numerous students of migrant origin. Indeed, young people attending these schools must navigate between the pervasive influences of a national ideology that regards ethnicity as irrelevant, and local contexts in which diversity has become an integral part of everyday life.
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https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-01868222
Contributor : Karine Jenart <>
Submitted on : Wednesday, September 5, 2018 - 11:27:28 AM
Last modification on : Wednesday, February 5, 2020 - 3:00:08 PM

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Claire Schiff. Experiencing Ethnicity in a Colour-Blind System: Minority Students in France. Szalai, Julia; Schiff, Claire (eds.). Migrant, Roma and Post-Colonial Youth in Education across Europe. Being 'Visibly Different, Palgrave Macmillan, pp.167-183, 2014, ⟨10.1057/9781137308634_11⟩. ⟨halshs-01868222⟩

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