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2011, BA, Kent State University, College of Arts and Sciences / Department of Political Science.

A succession of French governments, reacting to the more recent widespread social, political, and economic changes that to some are threats to the very idea of what being “French” means, have increasingly taken a harsh stance against perceived attempts by immigrants – mostly North African and Muslim in origin – to identify with their religious or ethnic heritages before identifying with the French nation.

Those defending the French nation espouse a universalist, nation-centered approach where no one is defined outside of their Frenchness. This paper argues that recent successful attempts to ban religious symbols in French public schools(in 2004) and the burqa/niqab (in 2010) in all areas of the public domain can be seen as attempts to defend this universalist doctrine against efforts towards multiculturalist integration models where various groups (religious, ethnic, etc.) are recognized as legitimate (such as in the United States).

However, as this thesis also argues, these threats are largely false perceptions on the part of the French state. Immigrants of Muslim origin overwhelmingly support the French state and moreover have no qualms about becoming fully integrated into the French way of life. Youth violence and crime in run-down suburban areas (called banlieues)increase this perception that immigrants of Muslim origin do not want to assimilate into French society, where the reality is, greater efforts toward the socioeconomic integration of these immigrants (in schools, employment, and living standards) are all that is missing from these immigrants becoming fully French. Unfortunately, French leaders continue to focus on cultural symbols of division among immigrants of Muslim origin(such as the hijab or the burqa/niqab) rather than the myriad of rather glaring socioeconomic issues affecting this population

Matthew Kemp, Ph.D (Advisor)
Rebecca Pulju, Ph.D (Committee Member)
Julie Mazzei, Ph.D (Committee Member)
Susan Roxburgh, Ph.D (Committee Member)
69 p.

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Hook, C. (2011). IDENTITY (MIS)PERCEPTIONS: FRANCE AND ITS IMMIGRANTS OF MUSLIM ORIGIN. (Electronic Thesis or Dissertation). Retrieved from

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Hook, Christopher. "IDENTITY (MIS)PERCEPTIONS: FRANCE AND ITS IMMIGRANTS OF MUSLIM ORIGIN." Electronic Thesis or Dissertation. Kent State University, 2011. OhioLINK Electronic Theses and Dissertations Center. 17 Jun 2018.

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Hook, Christopher "IDENTITY (MIS)PERCEPTIONS: FRANCE AND ITS IMMIGRANTS OF MUSLIM ORIGIN." Electronic Thesis or Dissertation. Kent State University, 2011.


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