North African Identity and Racial Discrimination in France: A Social Economic Analysis of Capability Deprivation
Review of Social Economy, 2011, vol. 69, issue 3, 307-332
The interaction between ethnocentric republican ideology and post-colonial racist legacy has led to the creation of a North African social identity which is characterized by dichotomous and negative representations in the hegemonic discourse in France. These misrepresentations are the source of racial discrimination, particularly on the labor market, which result in capability deprivation for individuals of North African heritage. Recent French anti-discrimination policies are examined using a social economic capability approach based on a relational notion of society. It is argued that because these policies have been developed within the confines of the republican model, they fail to directly address limits to social-structural and individual capacities to act faced by individuals of Maghrebi origin. As long as the ethnocentric interpretation of the republican model in hegemonic discourse is not questioned, anti-racial discrimination policies will most likely be unsuccessful in eliminating capability deprivation associated with North African social identity in France.
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