Shifting sociocultural identities: Young people of north african origin in France

Nadia Kiwan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Citation (Scopus)


This chapter will ask to what extent the idea of the construction of a minority identity is pertinent or appropriate to the problématique of young people of North African origin living in stigmatised urban settings in contemporary France. Is there a conscious or collective articulation of a culturally and socially specific experience linking this ‘post-migrant’ generation together? In the last 25 years, many social and political commentators, in both the academic and media worlds, have focused much attention on the descendants of North African immigrants to France. Some have based their analyses on questions of cultural difference and its implications in an ‘indivisible’ republican body politic. Others have paid more attention to more social questions such as education, employment and urban life. Both types of approach have been premised on the notion of integration. However, there has been relatively little work which has simultaneously incorporated a cultural and social approach to the discussions of the life trajectories and experiences of the young post-migrants of North African descent in France. The empirical research on which this chapter is based arises out of an attempt to rearticulate social and cultural perspectives with regard to this population. In this chapter we will look at how collective experience among young people of North African origin is constantly sliding between cultural and social poles of identification. The ‘cultural’ refers to how one might define oneself in relation to one’s national/regional, linguistic or ‘ethnic’ origins.1 The ‘social’ can be understood as how actors define themselves in relation to their social origins, i.e. in terms of economic status, spatial identity (where they live, such as a cité HLM/social housing estate or pavillon/detached house for example) or ‘class’ background.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Construction of Minority Identities in France and Britain
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9780230590960
ISBN (Print)9780230522183
Publication statusPublished - 9 Nov 2007


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