Essay: Algerians in France

Introduction
France has a long history of immigration. As early as the 18th and 19th century immigrants were brought in due to the process of industrialisation and the fall of birth rate, which resulted in a labour-shortage. Therefore, France is different from other Western European countries in that specific period of time. The majority of other industrialised states, including for instance Germany, had higher birth rates and were primarily countries of emigration. Due to the French-German war (1870-71) and WWI (1914-18) there was a decline in population, which caused the labour shortage on the French market to get even worse (France in depth http://focus-migration.hwwi.de/France.1231.0.html?&L=1 )
Now and then you hear that there are problems with the Algerian people living in France, but what actually is true and what is not? In this paper, the aim is to specifically look at the integration process of Algerian migrants (2nd and 3rd generation) within the French society. The question is whether it appears to be a success or whether it seems to be a matter of exclusion. Therefore, an analysis on policy, changes and demography will be done.

History and Background
The migration of colonised Arab-Berbers from Algeria to the mainland of France can be regarded as one of the largest and most important ones. It was the earliest and most extensive of all colonial migration to Western Europe before the 1960s. As said earlier, France had to overcome significant labour shortages. Therefore, in the late 19th century the presence of Algerians in French factories and also in the army during World War I was accelerated. As a result male labour migration became an established component of the colonial economy from the early 1920s onward (colonial and post-colonial dimensions of Algerian migration to France).
During the Algerian war of independence (1954-92), the population in France of those who were then officially called ‘French Muslims of Algeria’ rose from 220,000 to 350,000. Most these Algerians were employed in industrial and construction activities. They made up an immigrant manual labour force that was necessary for France’s fast-growing, post-war economy. Many of the Algerian migrants lived in or close to poverty. They lived in shantytowns and hostel barracks concentrated around France’s major cities. These migrants were often ill educated and weren’t able to integrate. Therefore amid the escalating violence of the Algerian war of independence, a society arose that was regarded with great suspicion by the French population itself. As integration was hard, the result was an Algerian community that lived, both physically and culturally, in segregation from the French population. Here lay the roots of alienation, sealed by mutual hatred that can sometimes still be seen in the contemporary life in France.
The French government changed the immigration law in 1975 and in this way it authorized the families of Algerian immigrants to join them in France. As a result families brought their children, and a second generation came to existence due to the fact that there were more children born in France itself. French people call this second generation ‘jeunes issus de l’immigration’ or ‘beurs’. Here comes another problem. The economy slowed down in the same time that this second generation came to existence. This again resulted in major social and psychological problems for the children and grandchildren of the first migrants. Nowadays France has the largest Muslim population in the world (over 5 million), the majority has an Algerian origin.

Key concepts and theories integration
Integration is a normative concept used to define the modifying relation between the host society and the migrants. Obviously we want this relationship to be optimal (that will be the desired end goal). Integration in this sense will be defined as: a process (or processes) taking place in different spheres: economic, cultural and political. The host country here is the country where the migrants are hosted. Where most people think that only the migrant group has to adapt to the host country, in practise it is a two-way-street. To be able to tell something about the integration process there needs to be a focus on a particular period of time. So in short there are three concepts that are very important in analysing an integration process: host country, migrant group and period of time (literature 1.)
Unfortunately there are some factors that influence the integration process in a negative way. One barrier to social integration is that there are pessimistic attitudes from the host society towards the migrant group. These attitudes change through time with only a minority having polarized views. Discrimination can be regarded as another barrier. Discrimination is the result of these negative attitudes. Also discrimination can be the logical result of institutional structures and procedures that systematically decreases the chances of members of the migrant groups.

Integration is also influenced by:
– Participation of the migrant group within the host society. An important question to be asked here is whether the minority is actually represented in parliament, so that the sense of integration increases.
– Performance: migrant and minority children frequently have lower educational attainment at schools.
– Language: being able to read and write the host country’s native language is found to be a key factor in success in education and in the labour market.
– Socio-economic background: over more important than language is the socio-economic background of the immigrants. When the socio-economic status of immigrants is relatively low, the performance gaps between students with and without migrant backgrounds tend to be larger.
– Cultural orientation: migrant’s attachment to their original ethnic culture can be a negative factor in the integration process, however, it does not per se inhibit the educational attainment of young migrants.
– School segregation: the selective entry of pupils to specific schools (faith schools for instance) result in the fact that there is a higher chance of concentration of migrant and ethnic minority pupils in certain schools. This contributes to the fact that schools arise where concentration may included migrants and ethnic minorities from diverse ethnic faith backgrounds, or students from on particular background which could lead to problems.

Adding the barriers and other factors up, we can subdivide different types of exclusion: self-exclusion, economic exclusion, political exclusion, social exclusion and cultural exclusion. Here, exclusion can be seen as the opposite of integration.

Analysis of Algerian migrants in France (from 1970s onwards)
As said before the second generation of Algerian migrants in France is named ‘beurs’ by the France people themselves. These ‘beurs’ struggle with their identity. It differs from original Algerian immigrants and from French people of the same age group. These ‘beurs’ experience two different aspects of displacement: being up-rooted from their homeland and adapting to a foreign culture on the one hand. On the other hand, their children ‘ who were born and study in France ‘ experience a displacement of identity. In other words, ‘beurs’ are suspended between their parents’ background (which in this case is Algeria and very often the Muslim religion) and the everyday life of French society. This identity struggle results in the fact that the integration process is one that is very laborious. Also it is hard for most ‘beurs’ to manage the French language as the parents of the ‘beurs’ don’t or very poorly speak French. In this way the language that is used at home is mostly Arabic.
Nevertheless, the problem has a different face as well; it is not just a struggle of identity that the ‘beurs’ face. There also are great differences in cultural identity and social position that separate them from their parents, relatives and other first generation immigrants. As their parents don’t bother to integrate anymore, the ‘beurs’ are at the start of their life and are obliged to fit in the French society. To make this difference more clear, the ‘beurs’ have defined the word ‘beur’ as a boundary between themselves and immigrants; and between their cultural background and that of French people. Here theirs a clear trace of self-exclusion.
Furthermore, the social position of these youngsters in the French society is complicated. Often the ‘beurs’ live in the city’s boundaries (le banlieue), which does not only result in a physical barrier, but also a social one. Here also the school segregation plays a key-role, as the ‘beurs’ are often not accepted to other schools outside the city’s boundaries. As the social position of the Algerian youth is very hard to improve, some of the ‘beurs’ choose a life of crime; do not attend school and often have conflicts with the police.
Unfortunately, but not strange, the mass media in France as well as the media in Europe have given the ‘beurs’ a bad image, suggesting that they are one of the critical problems that French cities face. In this way the barriers of social integration increase. In other words, the negative attitudes from the host country are increasing instead of decreasing. Also discrimination goes on, because the media suggest that all Algerian youngsters are in crime or other trouble, since they only present the troubled cases.
To get institutionalised in the French society as the Algerian minority, seems to be very hard

In this way, some beurs choose a life of crime, do not attend the school and often have clashes with the police. The mass media have given the beurs a bad image, suggesting that they are one of the principal problems in French cities (in particular in Paris).
In 1983 beurs expressed their problems through demonstrations organized by some anti-racism associations, the most important of which was SOS Racism (Jazoulu 1986; Amara 1991).

No or bad representation a system of Lijphart would work better most definitely.
Conclusion
It’s very hard to make an exact estimation of what the future of Algerian migrants will bring in the future, but using theories on social exclusion help us to understand the way it is now and in that we are able to make a proper analysis of the situation.
– France ‘ in depth
http://focus-migration.hwwi.de/France.1231.0.html?&L=1

History ‘ main reason for Algerian migration
France has a long history of immigration. Immigrants were brought in as early as the 18th and 19th century because the process of industrialisation in conjunction with the fall in the birth rate had resulted in a labour shortage. In this sense, France was an exception in Western Europe during this period. Most other industrialised states, including Germany, had higher birth rates and were primarily countries of emigration. The shortages on the French labour market were aggravated still further as a result of the decline in population brought about by the wars of 1870-71 and 1914-1918.

– The colonial and post-colonial dimensions of Algerian migration to France
http://www.history.ac.uk/ihr/Focus/Migration/articles/house.html

Flows of Algerian migration briefly explained
The migration of colonised Arab-Berbers from Algeria to mainland France was the earliest and the most extensive of all colonial migrations to Western Europe before the 1960s. Initiated in the late nineteenth century, accelerated by the presence of Algerians in French factories and the army during World War I, male labour migration became an established component of the colonial economy from the early 1920s. Algeria was France’s major settler colony: migration there from mainland France, Italy, Spain and Malta involved a policy of land expropriation of the indigenous population that slowly wore down the traditional economic, social and cultural structures of the Algerian peasantry, and existing patterns of labour migration within Algeria were extended to mainland France.
Prior to Algerian independence from France in 1962, Algerian migrants were not leaving one country to enter another, since they were French nationals. However, Algerians were French subjects but not French citizens: for decades, Algerians embodied a significant exception to the established French republican ‘model’ that (for men at least) combined nationality and citizenship. Algeria constituted a colonial territory fully integrated into the Republic that, as politicians liked to say, ran from Dunkirk in the north to Tamanrasset in the Sahara, the Mediterranean separating France and Algeria ‘like the Seine running through Paris’. Indeed, Algerian migrants arriving in Marseilles had simply left behind one colonial society to enter another, that of metropolitan France, although for many migrants there were significant social, cultural and linguistic differences to negotiate.

In short basically:
Before WWII
During and short after WWII
1970s ‘ 1980s

– Paris: A Global City and Its Immigrants
http://www.usfca.edu/International_Studies/international_affairs_review/fall2013/articles/Paris_A_Global_City_and_Its_Immigrants/

– Regional aspects of migration
http://www.oecd.org/migration/mig/37965266.pdf

Algerian immigrants are mostly concentrated in the Paris region and, to a lesser extent, in the south of Spain and Italy.

– CULTURAL CONFLICTS: NORTH AFRICAN IMMIGRANTS IN FRANCE
http://www.gmu.edu/programs/icar/ijps/vol2_2/seljuq.htm

Nevertheless, the Muslims who have acquired French nationality are now bonafide French subjects and are entitled to equal rights and privileges. Instead, the Harakis, those Algerians who supported and fought for France against their own countrymen during the Algerian war of independence, are now being targeted as Muslim activists. These Harakis, after the fall of French colonial power in Algeria, fled to France where they were given citizenship. Now their numbers have risen to about 450,000, the majority of whom have been born and brought up in France. But they are now being pressured by radical French nationalist movements to return to Algeria. The Harakis today are disenchanted and disillusioned by the hopeless situation they face. Almost 80% of these people are unemployed, a fact that has made them quite vulnerable to crime and subversive activities (Star, 14 September 1991, Karachi).

– Paris 1955: Algerian immigrants in a hostile land
http://www.mediapart.fr/content/paris-1955-algerian-immigrants-hostile-land

During the Algerian war of independence, between 1954 and 1962, the population in France of those who were then officially called ‘French Muslims of Algeria’ rose from 220,000 to 350,000. Most of them were employed in industrial and construction activities. They made up an immigrant manual labour force that France needed for its fast-growing, post-war economy. Many of them lived in or close to poverty, in shanty towns and hostel barracks concentrated around France’s major cities, ill-educated and un-integrated into a society that increasingly regarded them with suspicion amid the escalating violence of the independence war.

The result was a community that lived, both physically and culturally, in segregation from the wider population, an alienation sealed by mutual resentment and which has left a poisonous heritage to this day. Here I’ll put some pictures of the poor conditions in the presentation.

– Some Aspects of Algerian Immigration in France.
http://www.umbc.edu/MA/index/number5/marranci/marr_1.htm

In 1975 the French government changed the immigration law and authorized the families of Algerian immigrants to join them in France. Therefore “Les Maghr??bins repr??sentent en 1982 38,5% de la population ??trang??re, mais c’est moins d??sormais l’entr??e de travailleurs que le regroupement familial qui joue, l’immigration de main-d’??uvre a tendu ?? devenir une immigration de peuplement” (Liauzu 1996: 122). The families brought their children, and more children were born in France, producing a second generation. French people call this young generation ‘jeunes issus de l’immigration’ or beurs. Beurs have a different identity both from Algerian immigrants and from French people of their age group.

Algerian immigrants experience two different aspects of displacement: being up-rooted from their homeland and adapting to a foreign culture; on the other hand, their children – who were born and study in France – experience a displacement of identity. Beurs are suspended between the parents’ background and the everyday life of French society. Therefore, I have chosen the word ‘suspended’ since often they are not accepted either into Algerian or French society.

In France beurs are seen as immigrants, even if they have often a French education and nationality (Khellil 1991: 88-105). On the contrary, in Algeria they are seen as French or, if worse come to worse, as ‘traitors’ to Algerian culture. The beurs’ experiences (in particular for girls) of going back to Algeria – for instance, during the holidays with their parents – are sometimes really traumatic. For example, beur boys are often called by offensive names, such as ‘l’??migr??’, but the beur girls are referred to as amjah (lost) and merula (a woman of loose morals). During my fieldwork some beurs told me about these problems stating “in Algeria I’m seen as an immigrant, a foreigner.” We may suppose that a lot of the resentment experienced by visiting beurs is probably fuelled by jealousy, as very many Algerians cannot leave the country and face long-term unemployment at home.

Great differences in cultural identity and social position separate beurs from their parents, relatives and other first generation immigrants. For this reason they have coined the new word beur as a linguistic border between themselves and immigrants, between their cultural background and that of French people. The social position of these youth in French society is not easy. They often live in the city’s boundaries (the banlieue) not only in the physical sense but also in a social one. In this way, some beurs choose a life of crime, do not attend the school and often have clashes with the police. The mass media have given the beurs a bad image, suggesting that they are one of the principal problems in French cities (in particular in Paris).
In 1983 beurs expressed their problems through demonstrations organized by some anti-racism associations, the most important of which was SOS Racism (Jazoulu 1986; Amara 1991).

Logo SOS racisme

These demonstrations and marches emphasized for the first time the problems of beurs more than the beur-problem. There were important discussions in French society (which even now are still relevant) about its relationship with the beurs and their status in France (Khellil 1991; la Coste-Durjardin 1992; Bachmann 1992). French politicians and the government followed these discussions with interest. Different theories were proposed, the most important among them being the ‘assimilation policy’ and ‘integration policy’ (Khellil 1991: 37-60; Man??o 1999: 31-95). It may be useful to take a brief look at both.

The principal characteristic of assimilation is the up-rooting of cultural differences resulting in the disappearance of many aspects belonging to the culture of origin. The dominant culture is recognized as all-important. Assimilation is a colonialist concept and until 1960 was the model for immigration laws in France. Due to harsh criticism the assimilation concept was replaced with integration. Integration is founded upon five fundamental concepts: equality of rights; the fight against discrimination; compensation for inequalities; participation in political and social life; the right to French citizenship. In spite of all that, Jacqueline Costa-Lascoux (1999) highlights that integration can be interpreted as a ‘softer’ type of assimilation.

It may seem that these questions are of interest only to sociologists or politicians, but also beurs and immigrants have their points of view (cf. Charlot 1981). In this article I’ll try to show that beurs criticize both those who consider them as immigrants as well as the supporters of assimilation and integration policies. In most cases the beurs express their refusal of assimilation or integration through two different types of behavior: on the one hand, they come into conflict with society (including criminal acts); on the other hand, they use art, music, and theater as socially acceptable tools of confrontation.

Since beurs see themselves as French citizens, every special policy aimed at their assimilation/integration is perceived as a racist attitude against them, an exclusion from French society with the aim of constructing a sort of ‘ Indian reservation ‘ for them within French society. But it should be added that beurs have a profoundly different vision of French culture in comparison with most French people. During my fieldwork someone told me: “I don’t have to eat pork and drink alcohol in order to be a French citizen. Praying five times per day and speaking Arabic doesn’t prevent me from being French citizen.” Despite their sense of belonging to French society, the youth define themselves as French-beurs, where the word beur wants to be a symbol of a specific cultural identity: the beur-culture (Fahdel 1990: 140-152; Khellil 1991: 71-85; Reynaert 1993: 18).

– Immigration in Postwar France
http://www.unc.edu/depts/europe/francophone/Muslim_women/eng/Immigration_lecture2.pdf

Summary – Conclusion

Submit before Friday 9th of January 2015 23:59 the individual assignment on blackboard. Each individual participant is expected to complete an assignment at the completion of this course to be eligible for the number of credits on offer. It is a structured, written case study, no longer than 2500 words. In constructing their reports, students are requested to apply the theoretical frameworks covered in the lectures in analysing two case studies that they presented during previous lectures.
– The colonial and post-colonial dimensions of Algerian migration to France
http://www.history.ac.uk/ihr/Focus/Migration/articles/house.html

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