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Patrick Simon: ‘The Asymmetrical Integration: Ethnic Minorities and French Conformity’

March 24, 2016 @ 4:30 pm - 6:30 pm

ARC Seminar: Patrick Simon: The Asymmetrical Integration: Ethnic Minorities and French Conformity

The French model of integration claims that immigrants will become full member of the national community when they will get assimilated into the mainstream. In compensation to their loss of any ethno-cultural distinctiveness, immigrants, and more probably their children, will be granted equality and full membership. This fiction has entered into a deep crisis since the beginning of the 1980s. There are different competitive explanations for this crisis, and I’ll try to address them in this presentation by contrasting the economic and residential integration with the relational and identificationnal integration. The main argument of the presentation is that experiences of discrimination shape the salience of ethnicity and race for immigrants and second generations in France. The rise of ethnic and racial minorities in France can be explained by the impact of the racialization of post-colonial migrants and their descendents. I will argue that discrimination has a devastating impact on the political strategy of colorblindness and challenge the republican model of equality through uniformity.

Data come from a new survey Trajectories and Origins: a survey on population diversity in France, which is the largest survey ever done in France on immigrants and second generation. Promoted by INED and the French National Statistical Institute (INSEE), the survey gathered information via a long questionnaire administered in face-to-face interviews to 22 000 respondents from 5 specific sub-samples: Immigrants (8300), descendants of Immigrants (8200), French from Overseas departments (700), their descendants (700) and “mainstream population” (3900). The questionnaire covers wide-ranging areas of social experience (education, employment, housing, family formation, language, religion, transnational ties, political participation and citizenship…) and focuses on experiences of discrimination and identity. Findings on religion, employment, neighborhoods and discrimination will be presented to support the thesis of an ongoing process of racialization of the French society and the rise of ethnic and racial minorities.

Patrick Simon is Director of research at INED (Institut National d’Etudes Demographiques –National demographic institute) (F), where he heads the research unit “International Migration and Minorities” and is fellow researcher at the Center of European Studies (CEE) at Sciences Po. He is studying antidiscrimination policies, ethnic classification and the integration of ethnic minorities in European countries. He has chaired the scientific panel “Integration of immigrants” at the IUSSP (International Union for the Scientific Studies of Population) and was appointed at the Scientific Board of the Fundamental Rights Agency of the European Commission in Vienna (2008-2013). He has edited with V.Piché (2012) a special issue of Ethnic and Racial Studies, « Accounting for ethnic and racial diversity: the challenge of enumeration » and with Nancy Foner (2015) Fear, Anxiety, and National Identity: Immigration and Belonging in North America and Western Europe, New York, Russell Sage Foundation.


March 24, 2016
4:30 pm - 6:30 pm
Event Category:


ARC Conference Room 5318
365 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10016 United States


Advanced Research Collaborative
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