Beyond assimilation: The Second Generation in France

Beyond assimilation: The Second Generation in France

Seminar to be held in ERC 115 at 2:00 pm.
After being one of the most renowned “assimilationnist’s country” in the world, France has recently been engaged in quick changes in its framing of incorporation of “immigrants”. Indeed, not only the concepts and theories used to portray the processes behind the “remaking of the French mainstream” have dramatically changed but the categories of those targeted by these processes have also been renewed. Access of “new second generations” (i.e. those born from the waves of immigration of the 1950s and 1960s) to the job market and their visibility in social, political and cultural life have challenged the “French model of integration”.
This presentation will confront the normative model of integration, the so-called republican model, to the prospects of the second generation. I will argue that the salience of race and ethnicity for minority members in contemporary France is challenging the expectations of a convergence in norms, values and practices at the second generation. A specific attention will be given to the role played by religion (Islam) and political participation. 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), descendents of Immigrants (8200), Overseas French (700), descendents of Overseas French (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, political participation, 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.

Amada Armenta is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Sociology at UCLA and a Predoctoral Research Fellow at the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies at UC San Diego. Her research has been supported by various organizations including the National Science Foundation, the American Society of Criminology, the American Sociological Association, the Social Science Research Council, and the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies. She has presented professional papers at numerous national conferences, and has been published in International Migration Review, Qualitative Sociology, and Work and Occupations. Her current research focuses on the politics and implementation of the 287(g) program in Nashville, Tennessee.