1st Edition

Fighting Discrimination in a Hostile Political Environment The Case of “Colour-Blind” France

    The book investigates the experience of ethno-racial discrimination in France and the forms that resistance takes in a colour-blind context.

    Among pluriethnic, multi-religious, post-colonial states with a long immigration history, France holds a specific place in international comparisons due to its distinct colour-blindness. It does not recognize racial or ethnic groups either as legitimate social or political categories or as targets for policy. Nevertheless, the book embarks in testing existing theories on the experience of discrimination, and on the diverse repertoire of collective action to fight discriminatory practices in France. It features chapters that draw on empirical qualitative research done at various levels of political action (city, regional or national) and focusing on various actors (inhabitants, activists, administrative, judicial and elected officials). The contributors argue that far from disappearing, race operates at the political level and is embedded in policy design. They highlight the centrality of institutions and policies in the production of a colour-blind racial regime. Despite the hostile character of the French political environment, the fight against discrimination takes renewed forms, from infrapolitical tactics to legal battles. While the social sciences have, themselves, been under attack, scholarship on France demonstrates the reproduction of ethnoracial inequalities and investigates the forms that resistance to discrimination takes.

    Fighting Discrimination in a Hostile Political Environment will be a key resource for academics, researchers, and advanced students of Race and Ethnic Studies, Politics and Public Policy, European Studies, Research Methods and Sociology. This book was originally published as a special issue of Ethnic and Racial Studies.

    Introduction: Responses to ethno-racial discrimination in colour-blind France

    Angéline Escafré-Dublet, Virginie Guiraudon and Julien Talpin

    1. Polite responses to stigmatization: ethics of exemplarity among French Muslim elites

    Margot Dazey

    2. Counter-radicalization, Islam and Laïcité: policed multiculturalism in France’s Banlieues

    Francesco Ragazzi

    3. From victims to culprits? The reshaping of local antidiscrimination policy in France

    Angéline Escafré-Dublet and Camille Hamidi

    4. Why French racial minorities do not mobilize more often. Disempowerment, tactical repertoires and soft repression of antiracist movements

    Julien Talpin

    5. Anti-racist mobilization in France: between quiet activism and awareness raising

    Hélène Balazard, Marion Carrel, Sümbül Kaya and Anaïk Purenne

    6. National origin discrimination or racial discrimination? The mobilization of SNCF’s Moroccan railway workers

    Vincent-Arnaud Chappe and Narguesse Keyhani


    Angéline Escafré-Dublet is Assistant Professor in Political Science at the University of Lyon 2 and the director of the Integer/discrimination department of the Institut Convergence Migration (ICM/CNRS). Her research pertains to immigration and how it relates to matters of culture and politics.

    Virginie Guiraudon is CNRS Senior Researcher in Sciences Po Center for Comparative European studies (CEE). Her main interests lie in the comparative politics of immigration and citizenship and also include European integration, transnational mobilization, the Europeanization of borders and anti-discrimination policies.

    Julien Talpin is CNRS Research Fellow in Political Science at the University of Lille Center for Social and Political Administrative Studies and Research (CERAPS), and co-director of the scientific interest group “Democracy and Participation.” His research focuses on political engagement in working-class neighborhoods.