Thursday, August 31, 2006

Learning from the Best

Something to add to the question of the integration of French Muslims:
Despite considerable literature on the growth of identitarian consciousness based around Islam and its impact on French society ... such literature has not considered this migration as the colonial paradigm inverted by the former colonial subject’s relocation to the metropole.

[Homi] Bhabha argues that the colonial legacy involves more than migration: it is instead something that is deeply embedded within the social and cultural norms of the metropole itself. Viewed from this perspective, the assignment of a significant role in contemporary anti-Semitism to young people of Maghrebin origin can be read as a 21st century manifestation of a triadic relationship that took shape at the end of the 19th century when the politics of French colonial Algeria intersected with development of French anti-Semitism.

The implications for understanding the interplay between contemporary and colonial racisms and contemporary and historical anti-Semitism then take on new forms of meaning. Principal among these is a conceptualization of identity, whereby ‘the individual and the system reciprocally constitute each other”, but located within ... “the republican vision of the self-determination of civil society” and mediated by “the Jacobin idea that modernity can endlessly transform itself through the actions of political elites.”

--From Kay Adamson, "Issues of Culture and Identity in Contemporary France", in the current issue (August 2006) of Sociology

Not the benchmark I would want for measuring integration (if I would want to). Despite celebrating its victories against anti-Semitism (like the anniversaries of the Dreyfus Affair), the impulse to expel Jewish characteristics from public life has remained strong--even strengthening since DeGaulle's unfortunate comments.


At 2:28 PM, Blogger Borderline said...

Interesting post. I imagine a person could write a thesis on the origin and development of French anti-semitism, and the influence of the growing Muslim population. Great blog!


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