Equal Opportunities and Republican Revival: Post-Migrant Politics in Contemporary France (2002-2005)

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This article explores two contradictory developments in government approaches to the socio-economic and cultural incorporation of France's post-migrant generations. It focuses on the emergence at the heart of government, of equal opportunity discourses and contrasts this with the recent reassertion of more traditionally republican values, as demonstrated by the 2004 law banning conspicuous religious symbols in public schools. In June 2004, Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin announced the launch of a Stratgie nationale pour l'galit des chances. This initiative to encourage the recruitment of French nationals of foreign origin or individuals from the overseas DOM-TOM territories into high-profile jobs would appear to signal a significant change in approach to the issue of minority politics. However, this apparent readiness to enhance the Republic's egalitarian project could be undermined by the recent debates over the Islamic headscarf and the subsequent legislation in March 2004. For while the new discourses of equal opportunities imply a readiness to publicly recognize ethnic difference in the name of greater socio-economic equality, the recent banning of conspicuous religious symbols in schools points to a wider reluctance regarding the recognition of the cultural and religious complexity of contemporary France.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-172
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Francophone Studies
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 7 Mar 2007


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