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Unity above all? Relationships and Rivalries within the Pied-Noir Community

  • Claire Eldridge

Abstract

The conclusion of the Algerian War of Independence was accompanied by one of the largest post-1945 population movements as almost all of Algeria’s one million European residents left their homes and crossed the Mediterranean to metropolitan France.1 Aside from its scale, one of the most notable features of the pied-noir migration was the speed with which a highly diverse group of individuals came to be constructed as a cohesive and broadly homogeneous community possessed of a shared set of attributes and goals. Key to this transformation were associations that served as the creators of and vehicles for this collective identity which, in turn, became the basis for the articulation of a range of grievances and demands addressed to the French state. Operating as ‘instrument(s) of identity’, associations therefore enabled Pieds-Noirs to ‘recognize [themselves] and to be recognized’ as a community.2 In all of this, unity, or at least the external appearance of unity, was paramount. The more the Pieds-Noirs were seen as a coherent bloc, the more likely it was that those in power would take their demands seriously.

Keywords

German Case French Colonialism Colonial Past French State Associational Movement 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Yann Scioldo-Zürcher, Devenir métropolitain: politique d’intégration et parcours de rapatriés d’Algérie en métropole (1954–2005) (Paris, 2010), 15;Google Scholar
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  3. 2.
    Joëlle Hureau, ‘Associations et souvenir chez les français rapatriés d’Algérie’, in Jean-Pierre Rioux, ed., La guerre d’Algérie et les Français (Paris, 1990), 517–25, here 517.Google Scholar
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    Valérie Esclangon-Morin, Les rapatriés d’Afrique du Nord de 1956 à nos jours (Paris, 2007), 155.Google Scholar
  5. 6.
    Clarisse Buono, Pieds-Noirs de père en fils (Paris, 2004), 75.Google Scholar
  6. 7.
    ‘Le Cercle Algérianiste’, 1978, quoted in Joëlle Hureau, La mémoire des Pieds-Noirs de 1830 à nos jours (Paris, 2001), 254.Google Scholar
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    Jean-Jacques Jordi, ‘Les Pieds-Noirs: constructions identitaires et réinvention des origines’, Hommes et Migrations, 1236 (2002): 14–25, here 21.Google Scholar
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    Victoria Phaneuf, ‘Negotiating Culture, Performing Identities: North African and Pied-Noir Associations in France’, The Journal of North African Studies, 17(4) (2012): 671–86, 673–4;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Andrea L. Smith, Colonial Memory and Postcolonial Europe: Maltese Settlers in Algeria and France (Bloomington, 2006), 188.Google Scholar
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    Émile Chabal, ‘Managing the Postcolony: Minority Politics in Montpellier, c.1960–c.2010’, Contemporary European History, 23(2) (2014): 237–58, here 240–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 43.
    Jim House and Neil MacMaster, Paris 1961: Algerians, State Terror and Memory (Oxford, 2006), 309. Although they are referring specifically to memories of 17 October 1961, their points are applicable to other memories of the War of Independence.Google Scholar
  12. 44.
    Jean-Marie Avelin, ‘Mot du Président: Ultime arrimage’, La lettre de Véritas, 153 (2010): 2–3.Google Scholar
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    A key text of the anti-repentance movement in which Pieds-Noirs have figured prominently is Daniel Lefeuvre, Pour en finir avec la repentance coloniale (Paris, 2006).Google Scholar

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© Claire Eldridge 2016

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  • Claire Eldridge

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