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By Maxim Silverman

Deconstructing the country examines the relationship among racism and the advance of the countryside in sleek France. the writer increases very important questions about the character of citizenship rights in glossy French society and contributes to wider ecu debates on citizenship. via not easy the myths of the fashionable French country Maxim Silverman opens up the talk on questions of immigration, racism, the country and citizenship in France to non-French talking readers. till particularly lately those concerns have principally been neglected via researchers in Britain and the us. despite the fact that, eu integration has made it necessary to glance past nationwide frontiers. the most important a part of his research matters the interval from the top of the Nineteen Sixties to the start of the Nineties. but modern advancements are positioned in a old context: first via a attention of the development of the trendy query of immigration because the moment 1/2 the 19th century, and moment via a survey of political, fiscal and social advancements considering 1945. There are analyses of the foremost debates on nationality in 1987 and the headband' affair of 1989. eventually questions of immigration, racism and citizenship are thought of in the framework of ecu integration.

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Largely unregulated by the state, immigration was once again in the hands of the employers. Although industry benefited the most (especially the steel and automobile industries and the building trade) agriculture also welcomed a seasonal immigrant work-force to replace those who had forsaken the land in order to work in the towns. Throughout this period, the political parties of the Left and the trade unions had little influence on the employment of foreign workers and their conditions of work.

However, there are perhaps some preliminary statements that can be made. Any discussion of new paradigms needs to be careful lest it loses sight completely of historical determinations. For example, the term ‘the post-colonial era’ can suggest a clean break with the colonial era and obscure the relevance of the colonial legacy today. Etienne Balibar maintains that the suggestion that decolonisation closed a chapter in French history and allowed France to open new avenues of development and communication (notably in the context of Europe) perpetuates a myth and is the source of a common misunderstanding of the structures of contemporary France.

Taguieff 1988a; 1991; Mots 1989). Concepts of racism have reached a worrying impasse (see especially Chapter 4). Nevertheless, from this impasse there are signs of the possible emergence of a different challenge to exclusion constructed around citizenship rights (see Chapter 5). Immigration and the nation-state 27 The question of immigration in contemporary France concerns the profound and complex articulation of concepts of ‘race’, nation, culture and citizens’ rights which I mentioned above. The fact that, as I suggested, their origins and early history were not the same is a useful reminder that it is only at a certain moment in time and at a certain conjuncture that they became articulated, I believe that it is important to locate this historical convergence of practices and terms, for only then does it become possible to reformulate concepts of the individual, the community and rights in the new historical context of today.

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