National and Minority Cultures in 21st Century France: North African and Pied-Noir Cultural Associations
AuthorPhaneuf, Victoria M.
AdvisorPark, Thomas K.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractSocial conflict is common in many nations around the world. Tensions often arise from cultural misunderstandings and disagreements over national and group membership in multicultural populations. France offers a particularly clear example of such unrest. As a contemporary multi-ethnic, multicultural nation, France advocates both the belief in universal human rights as well as assimilationist policies designed to create a singular majority culture. North African immigrants and Pied-Noir repatriates are two groups at the center of recent debate in France. Both have historical ties to colonial French North Africa, but now reside within the modern French state. Each offers a unique case study of alternative strategies related to cultural negotiation and social tension as both groups currently demand recognition as French citizens and minorities. This dissertation analyses how North African and Pied-Noir minority communities in France engage discourses of history, culture, and identity to create a hospitable place for themselves in the French nation by redefining themselves both as minorities and as active citizens. One primary mechanism through which these groups achieve these goals is cultural associations, or social clubs. Cultural associations were legalized in 1901 and have not yet found a well-established role in France. Minorities use this institutional fluidity to develop concurrently their national and minority identities. Within such associations, they develop performances for both minority and outside audiences, engage contemporary French understandings of "culture," and acquire attention and resources needed to enact social change. One of the recurring tropes in such performances is the display of minority history and the role minorities play in French history. Through analysis of such activities this dissertation argues that these groups create new conceptions of national membership through their assertion of their right to be members in the French nation while retaining their cultural difference.
Degree ProgramGraduate College