Handout

L’Immigrant: How have social and cultural narratives changed around migrant integration issues in Paris between 1990s-2010s?


Structure

  1. Introduction
  • Why should we discuss this issue?
  • Defining key terms
  • Introduce research methodologies
  1. Conext
  • 1940s – 1980s economic and political context
  1. Socio-political narratives
  • Subaltern geopolitics
  • Government’s policies
  1. Link socio-political and cultural narratives
  • Socio-political narratives on immigration in France have considerably changed between 1995 and 2010
  • However, simply considering geographical and political aspects to explain the change in narratives towards immigration is reductive:
    • Both socio-political and cultural narratives are interrelated and inform one another
  1. Cultural narratives
  • Media – Newspaper reports, interview with African immigrants
  • Film – Banlieue films in the 90’s vs 2010’s
  1. Conclusion
  • From all methodological approaches, it is clear that the construction of narratives have changed between 1990’s and 2010’s, however the subject of these narratives, and the migrant experience as a whole has largely remained unchanged and is still in need of reform.
  1. Benefits of interdisciplinary research

 

Bibliography

Primary Sources:

Alexander, Livia, “French-Algerian: A Story of Immigrants and Identity”, Available online: http://www.satyamag.com/may02/alexander.html, (May 2002).

Alexander, M.S., Evans, M., Keiger, J.F., The Algerian War and the French Army, 1954-62 Experiences, Images, Testimonies, New York 2002. (Personal testimonies from this text)

Bleich, E. (2017). Our France: Muslims tell their stories. [online] Available at: https://www.ft.com/content/02998426-a1be-11e4-bd03-00144feab7de [Accessed 24 Mar. 2017].

Chou, Baygert, (2007) The 2006 French Immigration and Integration Law: Europeanisation or Nicolas Sarkozy’s Presidential Keystone.

Couret, F. (2017). Mémoire et espoirs des Noirs en France. [online] Available at: http://www.la-croix.com/Actualite/France/Memoire-et-espoirs-des-Noirs-en-France-_NG_-2006-01-30-589720 [Accessed 24 Mar. 2017].

De Royer, S. (2017). L’immigration choisie, un choix discuté. [online] Available at: http://www.la-croix.com/Actualite/France/L-immigration-choisie-un-choix-discute-_NG_-2006-05-01-589984 [Accessed 24 Mar. 2017].

Dheepan. (2015). [film] France: Jacques Audiard.

Dubessay. (2017). Alain Bertho « Quelle perspective de vie et de paix pouvons-nous construire avec nos enfants révoltés ? ». [online] Available at: http://www.humanite.fr/alain-bertho-quelle-perspective-de-vie-et-de-paix-pouvons-nous-construire-avec-nos-enfants-revoltes [Accessed 24 Mar. 2017].

Fourest, C. (2017). “Charlie Hebdo” : “islamophobe”, l’injure qui tue. [online] Available at: https://www.marianne.net/debattons/editos/charlie-hebdo-islamophobe-l-injure-qui-tue [Accessed 24 Mar. 2017].

La Haine. (1995). [film] France: Mathieu Kassovitz.

L’Humanité. (2017). 2017 devra être décoloniale !. [online] Available at: http://www.humanite.fr/2017-devra-etre-decoloniale-632341 [Accessed 24 Mar. 2017].

L’Humanité. (2017). Après les attentats. Après la stupeur et l’émotion, la solidarité et la réflexion s’expriment. [online] Available at: http://www.humanite.fr/apres-la-stupeur-et-lemotion-la-solidarite-et-la-reflexion-sexpriment-589991 [Accessed 24 Mar. 2017].

Legifrance.gouv.fr. (1998). LOI no 98-349 du 11 mai 1998 relative à l’entrée et au séjour des étrangers en France et au droit d’asile | Legifrance. [online] Available at: https://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/affichTexte.do?cidTexte=JORFTEXT000000191302&categorieLien=id [Accessed 25 Mar. 2017].

Francais, S. (2011). Immigration, integration et nationalite – Senat. [online] Senat.fr. Available at: http://www.senat.fr/dossier-legislatif/pjl10-027.html [Accessed 25 Mar. 2017].

lunion.fr. (2017). France: Holland tries to calm the game in the suburbs . [Online] Available at: http://www.lunion.fr/archive/d-20170214-GDYRP4?referer=%2Farchives%2Frecherche%3Fdatefilter%3Danytime%26sort%3Ddate%2520desc%26word%3Dle%2520pen%2520immigration [Accessed 24 Mar. 2017].

Moïsi, D. (2017). Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité… Sécurité ?. [online] lesechos.fr. Available at: https://www.lesechos.fr/19/01/2015/LesEchos/21858-041-ECH_liberte–egalite–fraternite—-securite–.htm?texte=immigrant%20paris [Accessed 24 Mar. 2017].

Ossebi, R. (2017). Unfriendly Shores: African Immigrants in France (Part 1). [online] Available at: http://pulitzercenter.org/reporting/unfriendly-shores-african-immigrants-france-part-1 [Accessed 24 Mar. 2017].

Report of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) (2000): http://www.coe.int/t/dghl/monitoring/ecri/default_en.asp

Seelow, S. (2017). « You are going to pay for insulting the Prophet ». [online] Available at: http://www.lemonde.fr/police-justice/article/2015/01/09/you-are-going-to-pay-for-insulting-the-prophet_4552927_1653578.html [Accessed 24 Mar. 2017].

Secondary Sources:

Anderson, B. (1983). Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. 1st ed.

Annika Murov (2014) Immigration and Integration Policy in France: relationship between policy research and political decision-making

Austin, J. (2009). Destroying the banlieue: Reconfigurations of Suburban Space in French Film. Yale French Studies, 115, pp.80-92.

Ayoob, M. (2002). Inequality and Theorizing in International Relations: The Case for Subaltern Realism. International Studies Review, 4(3), pp.27-48.

Bancel, N., Blanchard, P., Thomas, D., The Colonial Legacy in France; Fracture, Rupture, and Apartheid, (March 2017).

Baxter, P. (2012). AN ICONOGRAPHY OF EXCLUSION: FILM IN FRANCE, 1995. Canadian Journal of Film Studies, 21(1), pp.122-133.

Bertossi, Christophe (2011), “National Models of Integration in Europe: A Comparative and Critical Analysis”, American Behavioral Scientist, Vol. 55, No. 12

Brun, C. and Fabos, A. (2015). Making homes in limbo? a conceptual framework. Refuge, 31(1), pp.5-13.

Coutin, S. (2010). Confined within: National territories as zones of confinement. Political Geography, 29(4), pp.200-208.

Ehrkamp, P. (2016). Geographies of migration I. Progress in Human Geography, p.030913251666306.

Fassin, D. (2011). Policing Borders, Producing Boundaries. The Governmentality of Immigration in Dark Times. Annual Review of Anthropology, 40(1), pp.213-226.

Federal Agency of Civic Education, “Focus Migration Article”, Available Online at: http://focus-migration.hwwi.de/France.1231.0.html?&L=1, (2008)

Feldblum, Miriam, Reconstructing Citizenship: the Politics of Nationality Reform and Immigration in Contemporary France, New York 1999.

Fuga, Artan, “Multiculturalism in France: Evolutions and Challenges”, Eurosphere Working Paper Series, Working Paper No. 12, (December 2008).

Heckmann, Friedrich & Schnapper, Dominique (2003), “The Integration of Immigrants in European Societies. National Differences and Trends of Convergence”, Lucius & Lucius: Stuttgart.

Higbee, W. (2007). Re-Presenting the Urban Periphery: Maghrebi-French Filmmaking and the “Banlieue” Film. Cinéaste, 33(1), pp.38-43.

House, J., MacMaster, N., Paris 1961: Algerians, State Terror, and Memory, (November 2006).

Hussey, A. (2015). La Haine 20 years on: what has changed?. The Guardian. [online] Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/film/2015/may/03/la-haine-film-sequel-20-years-on-france [Accessed 26 Mar. 2017].

Jennings, Jeremy (2000), “Citizenship, Republicanism and Multiculturalism in Contemporary France”, British Journal of Political Science, Vol. 30, No. 4

Kushner, T., Remembering the World’s Refugees: Then and Now, (March 2008).

Loughrey, C. (2016). Dheepan: the Parisian banlieue on film and the bonds of isolation. The Independent. [online] Available at: http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/news/dheepan-the-parisian-banlieue-on-film-and-the-bonds-of-isolation-a6973406.html [Accessed 26 Mar. 2017].

Martin, P., Abella, M., Kuptsch, C., Managing Labor Migration in the Twenty-First Century, (May 2014).

McFadden, P. (1998). Examining myths of a democratic media. Review of African Political Economy, 25(78), pp.653-657.

Programme politique Jean Marie Le Pen, Section Economie, (2007)

Rose, S. (2016). From to La Haine to Dheepan, French cinema isn’t afraid to discuss immigration – but does it get it right?. The Guardian. [online] Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/film/2016/mar/31/from-la-haine-to-dhapeen-french-cinema-immigration-does-it-get-it-right [Accessed 26 Mar. 2017].

Salmon, C. (2016). Why Dheepan’s take on immigration isn’t helpful. The Guardian. [online] Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/film/filmblog/2016/apr/20/dheepan-immigration-depiction-selective-jacques-audiard-multiracial-france [Accessed 26 Mar. 2017].Schain, Martin A., The Politics of Immigration in France, Britain, and the United States; A Comparative Study, New York 2012.

Sharp, J. (2011). A subaltern critical geopolitics of the war on terror: Postcolonial security in Tanzania. Geoforum, 42(3), pp.297-305.

Sharp, J. (2011). Subaltern geopolitics: Introduction. Geoforum, 42(3), pp.271-273.

Shepard, Todd, The Invention of Decolonization: The Algerian War and the Remaking of France, 2008.

Silverman, Maxim, Deconstructing the Nation; Immigration, Racism, and Citizenship in Modern France, Abingdon 2002.

STEDMAN, R. (2003). Is It Really Just a Social Construction?: The Contribution of the Physical Environment to Sense of Place. Society & Natural Resources, 16(8), pp.671-68

Meeting 27/03/2017

Today we met and ran through our presentation a few times and are confident with our timings, we made sure our arguments and conclusions are cohesive throughout and that the powerpoint is clear and concise. We discussed what questions we might be asked in the Q & A and will meet before the presentation again for a final run through.

Transition between political and cultural narratives

As a result, we analysed that political and social narratives on immigration in France have considerably changed between 1995 and 2005. Indeed, immigrants are geographically both at the margin of the common discourse and of the city (which clearly depicted in Dheepan and La Haine). This lack of integration is translated into french government’s discourse through different legislations: as governments tried to protect asylum rights in 1995, narratives on immigration were rapidly framed into security concerns with Sarkozy, then causing the rise of an extremist discourse on the topic. However, simply considering geographical and political aspects to explain the change in narratives towards immigration is not enough. To fully answer the question, we need a clear fully interdisciplinary approach where cultural aspects must also be added as both political and cultural narratives are interrelated and can’t be separated from one another.

Meeting 21 March 2017

Today we spent time consolidating our research and making sure our points are coherent, and argue our thesis effectively. We looked through our content to see if we were clearly presenting our research outcomes as well as showing the methodologies we had used. We found that the context part of our presentation needed to be re-organised. We also decided on how we will time ourselves for the presentation.

Tomorrow (Wed 22 March) we will be putting all the information together into the slides and then going through it. During the meeting we will decide if anything should be amended or deleted/added. Our aim is to have our presentation finalised by the end of the day, so that we can practice when we meet again on Friday.

Tasks to complete before the meeting tomorrow:

– finalise any last pieces of research necessary

– upload research information onto the shared powerpoint slides

– upload bibliography on the shared document

Tentative Presentation Structure (Draft 2)

Structure

Introduction

      Present question: How have social and cultural narratives changed around the issue of migrant integration in Paris between 1995 through mid late-2010’s?

A Case study in policy, media, and film

      Structure, approach to question

      This is how we conducted our research

Context (Ani Mirilashvili)

  • Define terms:
    • Immigrants: Problematic to over generalize, each subgroup has different historical backgrounds, but for conservative, right wing French people the important thing is that they are not French
    • 2nd generation immigrants
    • assimilation vs integration

 

  • Present history: (the notes that will be talked about)

 

(1995)

–       Not until 2004 that France adopts the/ law banning religious symbols in public

–       This however was a result of sentiments and highly secular nature of French society from the beginning

–       Very focused on by the rest of the world; home to the largest Muslim population, so their actions would set a lot of precedent

–       Since mid-1800’s, French immigration policy has had two aims; meet needs of labour market by introducing migrant workers + compensate French demographic deficits by giving favour to installation of foreign families

–       First attempts to regulate immigration began post WWII

–       1993 – goal of zero immigration which means zero illegal immigration (Pasqua Laws)

o   forbids foreign graduates from accepting in-country employment

o   increased wait time for family reunification – now 2 years

o   denies residence permits to foreign spouses that had been in France illegally before getting married

o   enhances power of police to deport foreigners

o   eliminates opportunities for appeal to asylum rejections

–       1995 – conservative president is elected, which continues on the path of limitations on immigrant channels

–       1995-1997 decline in permanent entries; in Dheepan had to go to great lengths in order to be allowed in France to live

–       fundamentalists recruit jobless immigrant youth in suburban housing developments–vast blocks of apartment buildings that pick up television shows from Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia allegedly inspire youth to support fundamentalist regimes in North Africa

–       popular sentiment is that it is the new generation of French Muslims who feel that France does not want them so they rejected France

–       For those isolated by or excluded by society, Islam gives a centre of reference

–       Some immigrants live in France for over 30 years, but leave traces in their culture current in their lives (which should be completely understandable)

o   many French officials believe that integration into French society means adopting French language and culture

–       Recent immigrants often stranded in housing developments in Paris suburbs such as Montfermeil, with no direct transportation to Paris, little industry, and few jobs (idea of being trapped, unaccepted, outskirts of society; what is the right answer? This doesn’t appeal to immigrant or host country.)

o   Ex.) Los Bosquets

–       President Chirac on September 5 threatened to suspend France’s participation in the Schengen agreement:

eliminates border controls between seven EU countries if neighbors such as Germany do not step up their efforts to stop terrorists from entering their countries, and thus gaining free entry to France

–       Belgium and the Netherlands criticized France for threatening to delay the abolition of border controls – criminals from there cross the border to commit crimes in Belgium

–       natural process by which a variety of ethnic groups come to share a culture; gradual loss of the former culture in favour of the new one; once this process begins it leads to assimilation – become increasingly similar to host country natives (classic assimilation theory)

o   immigrants are attracted to host culture, but their original culture holds them back

o   ethnic qualities such as behavioural norms are drawbacks; immigrants must “free themselves” from their former culture

o   immigrant behaviour is always understood as failing and lacking with regards to host society norms

o   in France, this theory has undergone a lot of change (assimilation has disappeared from French scholarly vocabulary, instead they prefer the word integration à allows for persistence of immigration population cultural specificities)

 

 

Mini Conclusion: (*** Guys, should this be included? Should I be much more general, and this idea said in conclusion instead?)

 

  • The issue started to be talked about, and the government was also responding with harsher regulations; the beginning of the “push and pull” between political opinions (which will be talked about in the following section)

 

  1. Socio-political Narratives (Victoria and Eleonore)

    Victoria

Beginning with Geography part

      Move into politics (gov’t narratives) – Eleonore Laurent

Quick transitions: As Victoria analysed geography explain how immigrants by their position at the suburbs (way out from society) reflect immigrant’s position at the margins in the common discourse as well (media & film). This geographical lack of integration is also translated into the political lack of integration. Indeed, the French model of integration is very controversial.

 

  • Crisis of the French integration model

 

The controversy comes from contrasting the republican universalism and the assimilation model: belief in integration based in values such as freedom, equality and fraternity on the one hand and seeing integration as a one-sided process in which immigration and their descendants must completely give up their culture and adapt to French society [Heckman, Schnapper (2003), p.4]. Moreover, according to Bertossi, the “the Republic organizes the separation between public and private realms through a strict colour-blind approach to ethnicity and race, and between the state and the church (the concept of laïcité)[Bertossi (2011), p.1562]”. As a result, any differenciation such as ethnic background, religion or culture should strictly remain in the private sphere.

 

Multiculturalism is associated with the British or the US, rather than with the French system which is perceived as being in the direct opposite with the French republican model of integration. In 2005, during three weeks, important riots happened in more than 250 towns because of an accidental electrocution of immigrants origin teenagers as they tried to escape police control. However, the governments associated the rioting with illegal immigration, muslim separatism or polygamous practices although most of the riots where teenagers and the second generations immigrants. Indeed, the essence of the riots lied in the controversy of maintaining universalits integration model instead of differenciating individual’s colour or religion. The riots show the clear crisis of the French model of integration.

Indeed, minority-oriented policies are often perceived as a threat to social cohesion and common national identity. The crisis has deepened because of actual cases of discrimination and violations against universalist principles. The strongest examples are the law on laïcité and several cases of Muslim discrimination regarding building of mosques or opening schools. The faith of the model as well as the crisis itself depends on the actions taken by the state to acknowledge the growing diversity of French society.

 

  • Different legislatives has been set up in the early 90s.

 

The debate on integration was accompanied by a serie of reforms of the statut of foreigners. This reforms reflected a struggle between left and right wing positions, but at the same time, progressively tended towards a tightening of immigration control, despite temporary returns to a more pluralist legislation.

→  The loi Bonnet of 10 January 1980, voted under a right-wing government, gave the French administration powers to expel illegal migrants

→  The left, once in power, counterbalanced the loi Bonnet by the law of 29 October 1981.

→ The left government also passed the law of 17 July 1984 which conferred a certain protection against expulsion by granting ten-years renewable residence permits to all foreigners who legally resided in France at least three years before the law was passed.

→ Yet, on 9 September 1986, the loi Pasqua (voted by a right wing majority) reversed the socialist laws and re-established expulsion regulations as they were before 1981.

→  After the return of the left, the loi Joxe of 2 August 1989 re-implemented several dispositions of the 29 October 1981 law.

→  Yet, in 2003, under a right wing government, Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy announced a drastic reform of the nationality code aimed at improving control over immigration.

 

o   Narrative in early 90’s vs mid-late 2010’s (to do)

o   Differences in policies

o   Change in how the gov’t has framed the issue

 

→ This series of legislation particularly show the French impossibility of integration and their impossibility to find a clear position on the issue.

 

  • The impossibility to find clear position on immigration favoured the rise of extremists parties.

 

This impossibility to find a clear position favoured the rise of extremist vision on immigration and especially the Front National. In 2002, the presidential elections saw the spectacular electoral success of the far-right. Le Pen was passed to the second election round, beating Socialist candidate Jospin and claimed “the time of the nation is back”.

In her manifesto, she clearly establishes a link between immigration and terrorism. As she wants to close mosque and prohibit any public funding (state, local authorities …) of places of worship and religious activities. According to her, migrants bring filth, crime, poverty and Islamic terrorism, Ms. Le Pen has suggested in recent weeks; a dead migrant child’s photo (Syrian child) was simply a ploy to manipulate European feelings of guilt. France is about to be “submerged” in a “terrifying” wave of migrants who represent only a “burden.”

As a result, she clearly shows a nationalist perspective where immigration doesn’t fit with the idea of nation. The nationalist claim is that deep European integration is by definition illegitimate, because it attaches political power to something other than the national unit. More concretely, this will take the form of arguments that focus on conflict between states and the European institutions, generally taking for granted the normative preference for the former (e.g., that states will naturally be best placed to respond to the lingering economic crisis, if only allowed a free hand in their policies).

 

      Mini conclusion: What has changed since 1995 and 2005 in terms of policies. How the government’s response has changed?

 

Transition (Multiple speakers/undecided)

      Cannot have socio-political separate from cultural. They are interrelated.

  1. Cultural (Hannah and Josephine)

 

      Media straight after transition – straddles both social and cultural narratives, depending on who is writing the article and who the audience is; initiate this as a link to talk about the rest

    show selection  of headlines from 1995 – 2015 from both left and right wing newspapers, point out any changes in trends, in language

 

Charlie Hebdo and other terror attacks changed the narrative for immigrants living in France, particularly for Muslim people, sparked new fear of immigrants, and islamaphobia became much more mainstream. Media should shed light on all sides of the story, but does it do this effectively?

 

Talk about specific news reports e.g

http://mondediplo.com/1997/11/imm1 (1997), even though its from a liberal perspective the intricacies of the language limit the effect it can have on changing perceptions of immigrants in France, it does not humanise these people who are fleeing war torn countries and searching for a better quality of life. More recent news reports do this more effectively and give a voice to immigrants.

Although this article argues that nothing has changed in the banlieues https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/oct/22/nothings-changed-10-years-after-french-riots-banlieues-remain-in-crisis , it exemplifies how the media has changed its approach and presentation of the issue

Personal stories help bridge the gap between groups of people and invoke empathy in readers.

 

      transition to interviews from migrants perspectives

Cultural narratives shed light on migrant perspectives, which had not emerged previously in other spheres

 

Migrant Interviews

  • Two sets of interviews giving voice to different minority groups (African immigrants and French Muslims) – show that there is not one ‘immigrant experience’, and each group faces different kinds of discrimination
  • African immigrants have faced a long history of racism in France, and Obessi’s interviews show that this is still very much a reality in today’s culture:
    • Nzalanki: ‘In this country, if a person is black, there is no chance for humane treatment. Even if the person is a French citizen, if he is black, he is regarded as an “idiot,” a very stupid person, and no one will employ him. Most African countries colonized by the French suffer similar treatment.’
    • Tin: ‘Police brutality against blacks goes largely unreported. France often drops cases concerning racially motivated police violence. Black youth die almost every day in police stations. Many young black men I knew died under suspicious circumstances in a police station, but the media rarely mentions such matters.’
    • ‘jobs are given by the color of your skin, not your skills or brain quality; even though a person is smart, skin color is still the biggest issue in getting jobs in this country.’
    • ‘In France, millions of African immigrants are unemployed—even those who are citizens and residents. We live in real poverty, and no one cares for us, especially if you are colored. The African immigrant unemployment rate stems from racial discrimination, even in government jobs. The darker you are, the poorer you will be.’
  • These immigrants fled from war torn and corrupt countries once controlled by France, they have risked their lives to reach France, and may not intend to be there for long, just looking for education, employment and a better quality of life
  • Muslim immigrants / citizens have faced more racism / islamaphobia since recent terror attacks in Paris
    • Camille Hamidi

    • People have been saying it would be good for the Muslims to come out on the street to say they were against the [terrorist] attacks. In fact, that made me feel more immigrant than in normal times, and I find that pretty violent as a form of summons. It’s like asking all men every time there is a rape to pronounce themselves against rape. I never feel North African but that made me feel it, maybe. In fact, it’s that that brought me back to this identity.”
    • Fatima Hallami
    • What happened with Charlie Hebdo will free up what people say. What people didn’t say before, they will say it to you uninhibitedly. France is making jihadists, and that is going to turn against them; they have not done their work in the suburbs. It is a vicious circle. Society says, ‘We don’t want them,’ so they say, ‘They don’t want us, so we’ll be like this.’ They’ll make a Beirut here in France if it continues like this. Thankfully, I have my head on straight, but look at how they treat us: we are animals, we have to be cleaned up. I am a practising Muslim but imagine if I said I’m not a Muslim; I would still be pushed away because of my origins.
    • ‘it’s not the same as before’
    • Mohammed Belarbi
    • 
Both my parents are retired now. They used to work in a hotel — my father did maintenance and my mother did the cleaning. In the 1980s, they arrived here with nothing. They didn’t even know how to read or write. By comparison, I have been given everything — I got an education, I’m literate. I’m also French, unlike them. I was born here. I grew up here and I went to school here. All my friends are French. It’s a totally different life from the ones they had. At first, my parents sympathised about the job situation but after a time they’re getting impatient. It makes it hard to stay home during the day. So I go out into the 20th arrondissement, where I live. It’s really mixed. You have every religion you can think of, and people from Africa, China, everywhere. Being religious is normal. It’s like the whole world, right there in my arrondissement. Everyone gets along pretty well, too.
    • ⁃more positive view of different groups coming together, but all immigrant groups, people considered ‘outsiders’

 

 

Film

La Haine (1995) and Dheepan (2015)

History of the “banlieue film” — films that deal with the migrant experience in Paris’ housing projects

Discussion of the emergence of this term with the release of La Haine in 1995

Geographical analysis

These films emphasise the issues of geography and urban space in the immigrant experience. Space therefore is a major component of how narratives are structured in these films.

Visual analysis of the two films

Both films argue that there is an oppression of immigrants in Paris, but in different ways.

Colour palette

Depiction of space in the films, compare

How the characters interact with the space

The character’s agency in the film

Source of antagonism is different: clashing with French authorities vs clashing with other immigrants

There has been a change in narratives in film where the tone with which immigrant experience has been dealt with has become much more optimistic in recent years.

 

Conclusion

      Clear statement/answer the question

      Reflection of research/limitations and difficulties we encountered

 

Update politics part

  • Transition

As a result, the study of politics may contribute to a broad understanding of the change in narratives on immigration: geography can’t be fully dissociating from political sciences.

As Victoria analysed geography explain how immigrants by their position at the suburbs (way out from society) reflect immigrant’s position at the margins in the common discourse as well (media & film).

This geographical lack of integration is also translated into the political lack of integration. Indeed, the French model of integration is very controversial.

 

  • Problem in French model

The controversy comes from contrasting the republican universalism and the assimilation model: belief in integration based in values such as freedom, equality and fraternity on the one hand and seeing integration as a one-sided process in which immigration and their descendants must completely give up their culture and adapt to French society[1]. Moreover, according to Bertossi, the “the Republic organizes the separation between public and private realms through a strict colour-blind approach to ethnicity and race, and between the state and the church (the concept of laïcité)[2]”. As a result, any differentiation such as ethnic background, religion or culture should strictly remain in the private sphere.

Multiculturalism is associated with the British or the US, rather than with the French system which is perceived as being in the direct opposite with the French republican model of integration. In 2005, during three weeks, important riots happened in more than 250 towns because of an accidental electrocution of immigrants origin teenagers as they tried to escape police control. However, the governments associated the rioting with illegal immigration, muslim separatism or polygamous practices although most of the riots where teenagers and the second generations immigrants. Indeed, the essence of the riots lied in the controversy of maintaining universalits integration model instead of differenciating individual’s colour or religion. The riots show the clear crisis of the French model of integration.

Indeed, minority-oriented policies are often perceived as a threat to social cohesion and common national identity. The crisis has deepened because of actual cases of discrimination and violations against universalist principles. The strongest examples are the law on laïcité and several cases of Muslim discrimination regarding building of mosques or opening schools. The faith of the model as well as the crisis itself depends on the actions taken by the state to acknowledge the growing diversity of French society.

  • Impossibility to find a solution

The debate on integration was accompanied by a serie of reforms of the statut of foreigners. This reforms reflected a struggle between left and right wing positions, but at the same time, progressively tended towards a tightening of immigration control, despite temporary returns to a more pluralist legislation. The impossibility to find a clear position already stemed since 1980:

-> The loi Bonnet of 10 January 1980, voted under a right-wing government, gave the French administration powers to expel illegal migrants

-> The left, once in power, counterbalanced the loi Bonnet by the law of 29 October 1981.

-> The left government also passed the law of 17 July 1984 which conferred a certain protection against expulsion by granting ten-years renewable residence permits to all foreigners who legally resided in France at least three years before the law was passed.

-> Yet, on 9 September 1986, the loi Pasqua (voted by a right wing majority) reversed the socialist laws and re-established expulsion regulations as they were before 1981.

-> After the return of the left, the loi Joxe of 2 August 1989 re-implemented several dispositions of the 29 October 1981 law.

-> Yet, in 2003, under a right wing government, Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy announced a drastic reform of the nationality code aimed at improving control over immigration.

 

  • This series of legislation particularly show the French impossibility of integration and their impossibility to find a clear position on the issue.

However, since 1995, people have opposed the impossibility of finding a “compromis” towards immigrants and different kinds of legislation have been passed to protect asylum rights:

-> 1998: Loi Chevenement -> re-assertion of the right of asylum. The legislation proposes the entry and residence of foreigners in France and the right of asylum.

-> 1999: the Establishment of departmental access commissions for citizenship (CODAC) to identify cases of discrimination in the fields of employment, housing, access to public services and leisure and formulate proposals to promote the integration of young people from non-native backgrounds.

-> 2001: Report of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance, an organ of the Council of Europe, which calls on France to revise its “republican egalitarian model” on account of discrimination faced by young people of immigrant origin (access to Employment, housing and public places, behaviour of the police).

-> à touche pas a mon pote?

Sarkozy’s turn:

-> 2005: At a UMP convention on immigration, Nicolas Sarkozy, Minister of the Interior, wanted a “chosen immigration rather than a suffered one” and asked the government and Parliament to set annually, “category by category”, the number of people admitted to settle in France.

-> 2006: Promulgation of the law on immigration and integration to “move to a chosen immigration”. In order to achieve this objective, the draft law tightens the conditions for family reunification, the main source of immigration considered as “suffered”, as well as the control of mixed marriages and conditions for obtaining an “employee” residence permit (i.e. the existence of an employment contract and the prior obtaining of a long-stay visa).

 

  • Since Sarkozy, as 2005 coincides also with the immigration riots that appears in Saint Denis, immigration is perceived as a threat to national security. As a result, since 2005, immigration is more framed in term of national security.

This impossibility to find a clear position and the growing perception of immigration as a security threat favoured the rise of extremist vision on immigration and especially the Front National. Presidential elections 2017.

  • The emergence of Marine Le Pen

In her manifesto, she clearly establishes a link between immigration and terrorism. As she wants to close mosque and prohibit any public funding (state, local authorities …) of places of worship and religious activities. According to her, migrants bring filth, crime, poverty and Islamic terrorism, Ms. Le Pen has suggested in recent weeks; a dead migrant child’s photo (Syrian child) was simply a ploy to manipulate European feelings of guilt. France is about to be “submerged” in a “terrifying” wave of migrants who represent only a “burden.”

As a result, she clearly shows a nationalist perspective where immigration doesn’t fit with the idea of nation. The nationalist claim is that deep European integration is by definition illegitimate, because it attaches political power to something other than the national unit. More concretely, this will take the form of arguments that focus on conflict between states and the European institutions, generally taking for granted the normative preference for the former (e.g., that states will naturally be best placed to respond to the lingering economic crisis, if only allowed a free hand in their policies).

Conclusion: Therefore, it is clear that French political narratives and legislations on immigration have considerably evolved between 1995 and 2005. Indeed, the essence of the French model of republicanism, which pushes for a full integration of immigrants and their beliefs, customs and traditions to French society, may be problematic. Moreover, since 1980, there has also been a clear impossibility of French government to find a position on immigration. As governments tried to protect asylum rights in 1995, narratives on immigration were rapidly framed into security concerns with Sarkozy. As a result, the equation of immigration to a national security threat caused the rise of different extremists ideas such as that of Marine Le Pen’s Front National.

 

[1] Heckmann, Schnapper (2003), p.4

[2] Bertossi (2011), p.1562

Victoria Notes (tbc)

Structure Notes:

Subaltern Geopolitics – people at the margin in common discourse. use samples from interviews to exemplify how migrants are excluded/included from everyday discourse; (Focus on dominant discourse creates simplistic, inaccurate perpetuations of subjects and communities)

  • (if enough time) Sense of Place/Place Identity – apply ‘place’ lens to exemplify how migrants develop a sense of place away from home/ home / as migrants; or not; use movie quotes/ shot of Banlieues
  • Transition to Politics: Geographers are interested in change, which is why they often exercise this in policy recommendations à Eleonore

 Subaltern Geopolitics:

  • Representation of Banlieues vs. Paris:
    • Moving away from dominant inside/outside perception:
      • Neither focusing on dominant state-centric perspectives nor resistant ‘otherness’ (Sharp, 2011)
    • Moving away from purely hegemonic perspectives (shift in dominant states) that do not represent the majority
    • Creating alternative views to simplistic, inaccurate perpetuations of migrants –> perception and depiction in media/film
    • As ‘security threats’ / ‘subjects of security’  in state discourse (Ehrkamp, 2016)
    • Internal Bordering (Fassin, 2011)
    • Subaltern geopolitics: Importance and Intentions
      • Focus on dominant discourse creates simplistic, inaccurate perpetuations of subjects and communities
        • Migrants as ‘security threats’ / ‘subjects of security’ and passive victims in state discourse (Ehrkamp, 2016)
        • State situates migrants as security threats to their territories and citizens, in this case, Paris vs. Banlieues (Ehrkamp, 2016)
        • Further, migrants are reduced to a helpless and passive status of victims
      • If theories revolved around only hegemonic perspectives, only these views would be represented and reproduced (Ayoob, 2002) –> Importance of media, what it reports and depicts
      • But, ‘it is people in subaltern societies who make up the majority of global society, and thus it is their experience which should count most’ (Sharp, 2011)
    • Migrants’ Individual Realities
      • Focus ‘Every day and embodied experiences of displacement’ (Ehrkamp, 2016)
        • Main experiences of Migrants: being excluded from certain aspects of society, being placed at the margins of cities etc. -> detaches from a semblance of belonging; possibility to change?
        • Goal: Recreating familiarity and a home away from home (Brun and Fabos, 2015)
        • Allowing migrants for redefining their ‘displacement’
        • ‘Homemaking continues to occur as refugees work towards better material conditions and futures (Brun and Fabos, 2015)
        • Sense of Place (Massey, 1991; Tuan, 1977)
        • Place Identity (Adams, 2015)
      • How have narratives about migrant integration changed between 1995 and 2015?
        • Continues to be hotly debated; sources assert people at the margin in common discourse are still perceived as problematic, and separate to ‘ordinary society’; internal bordering thus occurring

Primary Sources possible intakes for presentation to choose from (tbd):

La Haine:

  • Shot showing Banlieues – for subaltern geopolitics – marginalization
  • ‘Don’t talk shit – were in France’ (alienation from Country)
  • Timeline (movie progresses in only one day) shows rarely leaving outskirts where they live
  • Scene at hospital- helpless, only weapon is their voice (which does not prove sufficient either) which they sue but get beaten down, seem to not belong in sterile environment
  • Refer to home as towers (he lives in Tower D), ‘live in rat holes’
  • Go to another district and surprised cops are polite ‘called me sir’
  • Not getting into nightclub – shooting –not further commented on – daily reality?
  • Wonder about their future, what will happen to them. ‘so far so good. But what when we land?’ ‘About a society falling, how you fall doesn’t matter, but how you land’

Dheepan:

  • Shot showing Banlieues – for Subaltern geopolitics
  • Works in building blocks; neutrality, no sense of home, ‘You take care of buildings A, B, C, D)
  • Intermediate flash of elephant (Sri Lankan?) to depict where his home is and what his heart feels
  • Stranger to his new ‘family’, and stranger to French speaker by which they are surrounded (who are, at least partially, also of migration background)
  • Snapshot of immigrant life –also La Heine (pictures one day in the life)
  • As in La Heine, violence predominant – as if only way of communicating
  • Most scenes take place in Paris suburbs, as in La Heine
  • Director Jacques Audiard concentrates on the marginalized and forgotten, the displaced and the criminals who try to escape the underclass life they are living in the banlieues into an ‘alienating’ ordinary French life à try to integrate but forgotten by society as a whole
  • Dheepan empathetic, showed in the beginning when they arrive with traumatic experience and not understand language
  • Live in rundown housing block of Le Pre-Saint-Gervais
  • Beginning: living in Paris could be compared to survivalism, no sense of ‘living’
  • Marginalized also in which class the girl goes to – integration class (‘special’ class)

Immigrant Interviews:

  • One migrant (Okoueré) when being asked why she came to France:
  • ‘Africans come here not because they’re in love with France but simply because they are in danger in their native countries. I would say there is no place like home but we cannot go where the fire is on.’
  • When being asked about the treatment received by French people:
  • Bongowa: ‘I know that African immigrants are objects of insults by the French and I also know that French people throw them bananas when they walk on the streets and no one in the media reports about that—even the government. I never see this on TV or other types of media’
  • Tin: ‘It is not unheard of to see people throw bananas at black people. We can expect no success from kids who grow up under these circumstances. Further, our foundation works on many cases in which black children are found dead suspiciously in police stations, unreported by the media. Police brutality against blacks goes largely unreported. France often drops cases concerning racially motivated police violence.’
  • On being asked about immigrant life:
  • ‘These immigrants never saw themselves as becoming a permanent part of French society; they were always there for a finite period of time and would go back to Algeria. So children weren’t supposed to integrate; they were supposed to leave, but in fact they never did.’
  • ‚When people say to my kids, ‘Go back to your country,’ where will they go? They don’t have another country.’
  • ‘It is a vicious circle. Society says, ‘We don’t want them,’ so they say, ‘They don’t want us, so we’ll be like this.’’

 

 

Meeting 17 March 2017

Today we met up to compile our research and consolidate the structure of the presentation.

From sharing our research, we found that narratives from different spheres did indeed change during the time period, but in different ways. We found that the voices of immigrant groups had generally become more prominent, albeit this differed in each of the fields that we examined. Our research showed that approaching this question requires a multi-faceted and interdisciplinary approach, in order to answer this question holistically and get a comprehensive picture.

We decided on the tasks we would do before we meet again early next week, which include: finalising our research, finalising exactly what we want to include and how to present our material.

Our plan for the next meeting is: compile everything together to finalise what we are including in our presentation, solidify our thesis/argument, connect our ideas so that the presentation flows, make sure our research is presented in a clear and persuasive manner, and practice giving our presentation.

Film Research

How have cultural narratives (with a specific focus in film) changed between the early 90’s and mi-late-2010’s?

La Haine (1995) marked a “new” category of film–the banlieue film– that was marked by issues of geographical location (Will Higbee, Re-presenting the Urban Periphery: Maghrebi-French Filmmaking and the Banlieue Film, 38). According to Higbee, this term, which denotes films that deal with the migrant experience in the Parisian banlieues, first appeared in 1995 with the release of La Haine.

The films released in the mid 90’s dealt with issues of immigrant integration in the banlieues “with a realist esthetic that employed the alienating architechture of the housing estates to reflect the exclusion felt by the films’ youthful protagonists” (Higbee, 39).  As Higbee writes, the films presented a brutally honest and very critical and pessimistic presentation of the conditions and circumstances of immigrants in the Parisian banlieues. This is visible indeed in La Haine: according to Peter Baxter, La Haine, at the visual level “consistently reiterates the idea of exclusion implicit in its characters’ narrative encounters with representative members of French society” (Baxter, An Iconography of Exclusion: Film in France 1995, 124).

With the surgence of the banlieue film in 1995, issues of immigration has been increasingly dealt with in French cinema. If the narratives around immigrant issues in 1995 have largely been pessimistic, the films in the mid and late 2010’s seem to offer a more optimistic outlook. Dheepan (2015), which won the Palme D’Or at Cannes in 2015, is a film about Sri Lankan immigrants who come to the Parisian banlieue under the pretense of being a family and struggle to begin a new life. Critics have pointed out that this film, as well as others released around the same time, provide an empathetic narrative that perhaps may not be a realistic representation; critic Steve Rose from The Guardian writes that many of the recent banlieue films do not show social realism but instead “mythologise France’s migrant sympathy.”

 

Primary sources:

La Haine (1995)

Dheepan (2015)

 

Secondary materials:

Scholarly literature

http://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/24411740.pdf

http://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/25679756.pdf

http://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/41690590.pdf

http://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/10.7312/ande17746.14.pdf

Film reviews

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/news/dheepan-the-parisian-banlieue-on-film-and-the-bonds-of-isolation-a6973406.html

https://www.theguardian.com/film/2015/may/03/la-haine-film-sequel-20-years-on-france

https://www.theguardian.com/film/filmblog/2016/apr/20/dheepan-immigration-depiction-selective-jacques-audiard-multiracial-france

https://www.theguardian.com/film/2016/mar/31/from-la-haine-to-dhapeen-french-cinema-immigration-does-it-get-it-right

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/film/dheepan/review/

https://www.theguardian.com/film/2016/apr/07/dheepan-review-jacques-audiard-palme-d-or

Interviews with French Immigrants


Key points from Rodrigue Ossebi interviews with African immigrants in France (2015)

participants acutely aware that French imperialism and foreign policy is the root of their problems at home
Dramé: ‘France has set up enormous networks of corruption with African leaders. Today in Africa most leaders accept the tradition of corruption as a birthright.’

Travelling to France puts their lives at risk and they often don’t intend to stay, just want an education / better living, escaping war at home.
Okoueré: ‘Africans come here not because they are in love with France but simply because they are in danger in their native countries. I would say there is no place like home but we cannot go where the fire is on’.

African immigrants receive verbal abuse on the streets, have bananas thrown at them,
Bongowa: ‘no one in the media reports about that – even the government’. ‘no reports bring the racial topic to the table’.

Nzalanki: ‘In this country, if a person is black, there is no chance for humane treatment. Even if the person is a French citizen, if he is black, he is regarded as an “idiot,” a very stupid person, and no one will employ him. Most African countries colonized by the French suffer similar treatment.’

Tin: ‘Police brutality against blacks goes largely unreported. France often drops cases concerning racially motivated police violence. Black youth die almost every day in police stations. Many young black men I knew died under suspicious circumstances in a police station, but the media rarely mentions such matters.’ (Tin)

food from charities / aid intended to support immigrants / the unemployed is rotten
state supported racism, racial profiling, prefecture
Interviewees have been denied access to education directly and openly because of their skin colour
‘jobs are given by the color of your skin, not your skills or brain quality; even though a person is smart, skin color is still the biggest issue in getting jobs in this country.’

‘In France, millions of African immigrants are unemployed—even those who are citizens and residents. We live in real poverty, and no one cares for us, especially if you are colored. The African immigrant unemployment rate stems from racial discrimination, even in government jobs. The darker you are, the poorer you will be.’

Interviews with Muslim immigrants in France, By Erik Bleich and Adam Thomson, (January 2015)

Fatima Hallami
What happened with Charlie Hebdo will free up what people say. What people didn’t say before, they will say it to you uninhibitedly. France is making jihadists, and that is going to turn against them; they have not done their work in the suburbs. It is a vicious circle. Society says, ‘We don’t want them,’ so they say, ‘They don’t want us, so we’ll be like this.’ They’ll make a Beirut here in France if it continues like this. Thankfully, I have my head on straight, but look at how they treat us: we are animals, we have to be cleaned up. I am a practising Muslim but imagine if I said I’m not a Muslim; I would still be pushed away because of my origins.
‘it’s not the same as before’

Camille Hamidi

People have been saying it would be good for the Muslims to come out on the street to say they were against the [terrorist] attacks. In fact, that made me feel more immigrant than in normal times, and I find that pretty violent as a form of summons. It’s like asking all men every time there is a rape to pronounce themselves against rape. I never feel North African but that made me feel it, maybe. In fact, it’s that that brought me back to this identity.”
• – immigrants / people with foreign sounding names / people of non-Christian religions / different races continue to be seen as one group, defined by ‘otherness’ and what they aren’t, rather than who they are individually

Mohammed Belarbi

Both my parents are retired now. They used to work in a hotel — my father did maintenance and my mother did the cleaning. In the 1980s, they arrived here with nothing. They didn’t even know how to read or write. By comparison, I have been given everything — I got an education, I’m literate. I’m also French, unlike them. I was born here. I grew up here and I went to school here. All my friends are French. It’s a totally different life from the ones they had. At first, my parents sympathised about the job situation but after a time they’re getting impatient. It makes it hard to stay home during the day. So I go out into the 20th arrondissement, where I live. It’s really mixed. You have every religion you can think of, and people from Africa, China, everywhere. Being religious is normal. It’s like the whole world, right there in my arrondissement. Everyone gets along pretty well, too.

⁃ more positive view of different groups coming together, but all immigrant groups, people considered ‘outsiders’