Philosophies of Integration: Immigration and the Idea of Citizenship in France and Britain

Philosophies of Integration: Immigration and the Idea of Citizenship in France and Britain

Philosophies of Integration: Immigration and the Idea of Citizenship in France and Britain

Philosophies of Integration: Immigration and the Idea of Citizenship in France and Britain

Synopsis

A comprehensive comparative study of the distinct ideas and political arguments that have shaped French and British policies towards their ethnic minorities, and the effects of these intellectual frameworks at local, national and European levels. The author sets out the divergent conceptualisations of citizenship, nationality, pluralism, autonomy, public order and tolerance that make up the national "philosophies" in the two countries--republican integration in France and multicultural race relations in Britain. This new paperback edition contains a new preface bringing the volume up-to-date in the light of new legislation and progress.

Excerpt

Philosophies of Integration sets itself the task of viewing the politics of race, immigration and citizenship in France and Britain from a vantage point outside the nationally specific debates that dominate discussions within these two countries. It also offers a general approach to doing cross-national comparative research on the integration of immigrants, a research agenda that is everywhere across Europe distorted by local political influences on the way knowledge on the subject is constructed and debates are framed. For this reason, much of what the book says about France and Britain differs sharply from the tone, language and even subject-matter of the best-known work produced internally in the two countries. It may, therefore, puzzle and perplex those who in Britain seek to refer all discussion back to polemics about anti-racism or the politics of identity, or indeed those in France who frame everything in terms of republicanism and citoyenneté.

However, it is my hope that in relativising what these two case studies reveal, the text may also provoke in such readers a phenomenological moment of self-consciousness and insight, about just how context specific and nationally peculiar their often sweeping formulations about race, ethnicity, identity or migration in each country in fact are. Britain and France are two relatively small nations with vastly over-blown self-conceptions about their place in the world. Academics working in the two countries have, by failing to engage in meaningful comparative work, made a bad habit of writing about nationally specific events and forms of immigration politics as if they can be unproblematically generalised into theories and concepts that apply untranslated to the rest of Europe, or indeed, the world. This is exacerbated by the intellectual imperialism of the English-speaking publishing world; as well as the often insular intellectual self-sufficiency of Paris.

The strategy of the book is instead to explore the national idiosyncrasies of these two countries in terms that translate

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