The relevance of coping with ethnic diversity and coming to terms with North Africans in particular has not diminished since the end of the Mitterrand years. For Le Monde editor Jean-Marie Colombani the success of far-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen in the 2002 presidential elections is evidence of France’s ongoing struggle to reconcile its Jacobin assimilationist traditions with its multiethnic present. Borrowing from Benjamin Stora’s Le Transfert d’une mémoire, Colombani describes France as a nation that has inherited the collective fears and shared sentiments of abandonment of its former settler community in Algeria. Unsure of itself in the face of its Muslim population and refusing to accept cultural diversity, France is caught in the grips of an identity crisis that September 11, with all its associated fears of an inevitable clash of civilizations, only worsened.1


Ethnic Minority Ethnic Minority Youth Colonial Past French Authority Armenian Genocide 
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  1. 3.
    Jo Johnson, “Violence Halts Algeria-France Soccer Match,” Financial Times (London), October 8, 2001.Google Scholar
  2. 6.
    Charles Bremner, “French Face Jail for Insulting the Flag,” The Times (London), February 15, 2003.Google Scholar

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© North Africans in Contemporary France 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard L. Derderian

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