Immigration, Islam, and the Politics of Belonging in France

9780812243321: Hardback
Release Date: 3rd January 2012

Dimensions: 152 x 229

Number of Pages: 328

Series Pennsylvania Studies in Human Rights

University of Pennsylvania Press, Inc.

Immigration, Islam, and the Politics of Belonging in France

A Comparative Framework

In this study of French discourse regarding the treatment of Muslim immigrants and their descendants, Elaine R. Thomas forges new theoretical tools for analyzing today's contentious politics of belonging in France and beyond.

Hardback / £65.00

Over the past three decades, neither France's treatment of Muslims nor changes in French, British, and German immigration laws have confirmed multiculturalist hopes or postnationalist expectations. Yet analyses positing unified national models also fall short in explaining contemporary issues of national and cultural identity. Immigration, Islam, and the Politics of Belonging in France: A Comparative Framework presents a more productive, multifaceted view of citizenship and nationality.

Political scientist Elaine R. Thomas casts new light on recent conflicts over citizenship and national identity in France, as well as such contentious policies as laws restricting Muslim headscarves. Drawing on key methods and insights of ordinary language philosophers from Austin to Wittgenstein, Thomas looks at parliamentary debates, print journalism, radio and television transcripts, official government reports, legislation, and other primary sources related to the rights and status of immigrants and their descendants. Her analysis of French discourse shows how political strategies and varied ideas of membership have intertwined in France since the late 1970s. Thomas tracks the crystallization of a restrictive but apparently consensual interpretation of French republicanism, arguing that its ideals are increasingly strained, even as they remain politically powerful. Thomas also examines issues of Islam, immigration, and culture in other settings, including Britain and Germany.

Immigration, Islam, and the Politics of Belonging in France gives scholarly researchers, political observers, and human rights advocates tools for better characterizing and comparing the theoretical stakes of immigration and integration and advances our understanding of an increasingly significant aspect of ethnic and religious politics in France, Europe, and beyond.

Preface

PART I. INTRODUCTION AND THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
1. Introduction: The Politics of Belonging
2. What We Talk About When We Talk About Belonging: A New Framework for Analyzing Political Controversies

PART II. FAILED HOPES FOR A "NEW CITIZENSHIP": THE POLITICAL AND INTELLECTUAL LOGIC OF CHANGES IN NATIONALITY LAW
3. The Campaign for a Post-National Model of Civic Membership
4. Nationality Law Reform: Launching a New Debate
5. Reconfiguring the Politics of Membership: The Work of the Nationality Commission
6. Nationality Law Reform in Comparative Perspective

PART III. PUBLIC EDUCATION AND ISLAMIC HEADSCARVES
7. Contested Conceptions of Citizenship and Integration in France's Headscarves Affair (1989-1990)
8. Paradoxes of Civic Exclusion: Explaining Restrictions on Headscarves

PART IV. PROBLEMS OF POLITICAL MEMBERSHIP IN BRITAIN AND BEYOND
9. Salman Rushdie's Satanic Verses: From Publication to Public Controversy
10. Rereading the Rushdie Affair: The Contested Terms of Being British
11. Membership Quandaries Beyond the Nation-State: European and Global Citizenship
12. Conclusion

Appendix: English Language Voluntary Exit Verbs and Usual Corresponding Objects
Notes
Bibliography
Index
Acknowledgments

Elaine Thomas teaches political science at Bard College.

"Original, topical, and very provocative. Using methods originating in ordinary language theory, this innovative book offers an alternative theoretical framework for examining and comparing public debates concerning citizenship and nationality in the context of reactions to immigration. I have been waiting for a book like this for a long time."—Mahmood Monshipouri, San Francisco State University