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Riots and Protest Cycles: Immigrant Mobilisation in France, 1968-2008 (From Rioting in the UK and France: A Comparative Analysis, P 135-146, 2009, David Waddington, Fabien Jobard, and Mike King, eds. - See NCJ-229457)

NCJ Number
Camille Hamidi
Date Published
12 pages
This chapter examines whether the historically poor political representation of migrant workers in French society was a factor in the 2005 riots in disadvantaged neighborhoods throughout the country.
The riots in France in 2005 mostly affected neighborhoods in towns where there was a large percentage of recent immigrants, mainly from Sub-Saharan Africa. This chapter places these riots in the historic context of immigrant mobilizations in France. The author first outlines three major analytical strands in the literature on immigrant mobilization: sociological analyses, assimilation issues, and the transmission of immigrant aspirations from one generation to the next. With reference to these different analytical traditions, the chapter reviews the history of immigrant mobilizations in France. These mobilizations are placed in three sequences by characterization: from the late 1960s to the late 1970s ("primo-migrant mobilizations"); the 1980s ("failure of attempts to impose a hegemonic mobilization"); and mobilization since the 1990s ("sociological and cultural actions at the local level"). The chapter concludes that this history of immigrant mobilizations shows the frailty and poor institutionalization of the immigrant movements. Although recent immigrants involved in the 2005 riots had no direct knowledge of the history of immigrant mobilizations in France, they might have sensed that older immigrants had resigned themselves to their powerless political and socioeconomic status in French society, a destiny the young immigrants were unwilling to accept. The generational cycle of riots among immigrants in France continued, based largely in the dominant population's belief that immigrants constitute a temporary import/export of laborers, not a long-term relocation of citizens. 18 notes


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