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France is now a nation of immigrants. During the past thirty years, a large influx of immigrants from southern Europe and Africa has transformed French society to the point that one-third of the people currently living there have foreign-born parents or grandparents. An incisive comparison with the United States and other countries, this study looks at the issues behind France's denial of its immigrant past. Since the mid-1980s, immigration has surged to the forefront of public consciousness, leading to a growth of the nativist far right. Through a thematic exploration of the immigrant experience in France, Gerard Noiriel interweaves a discussion of past events with current issues. Among the topics discussed are why French historians and descendants of immigrants have traditionally sidestepped the immigration question; the importance and diversity of various waves of migration to France; the roles played by immigrants in the economic, social, and cultural development of the country; and the causes of periodic outbursts of xenophobia. Employing paradigms from history, sociology, and legal studies, the book also illuminates the cultural meaning of the American "melting pot".
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Text: English (translation)
Original Language: French
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