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Antiracism and antiracist discourse in France from 1900 to the present day

House, James Robert (1997) Antiracism and antiracist discourse in France from 1900 to the present day. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.


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The thesis examines examples of antiracism and antiracist discourse in France, using an approach which combines history, sociology, discourse analysis and political science. It is based on archive source material and the publications of antiracist, antifascist and anticolonial movements in the period since 1900. Previous examples of research on antiracism in France have often limited their analysis to very contemporary forms of antiracism, and have given a definition of antiracism which I term ‘republican antiracism’. Republican antiracism, definable as a form of antiracism closely linked to republican political culture, takes its values from the Revolutionary heritage of 1789, and stresses universal rights and values. Republican antiracism is studied here from the ‘founding event’ of the Dreyfus “Affair”, through subsequent reworkings and reformulations in the 1930s (antifascism), 1940s, 1950s and 1980s. The thesis focuses on the complex discourses of nation, assimilation, egalitc and rights articulated within the republican tradition, the left and republican antiracism. A definition of antiracism is given here as emanating from a variety of areas (for example antiracist organizations, immigrant rights associations, trades unions) and levels (cultural, economic etc.) of production. This idea of a multiplicity of sites of production of antiracism is illustrated with a study of the relationship between antiracism and antifascism in the 1930s, and the opposition to anti-Maghrebian racism in the period 1947-1962. Throughout, it is suggested that the terms ‘universalism’ and ‘difference’ are insufficient as analytical tools for understanding antiracism as ideology, discourse and practice, just as it is argued diat antiracism is irreducible to being the ‘double’ of racism. To highlight the broad definition of antiracism used, I look at the lessons to be learned for antiracism from anticolonial forms of opposition to racism in the period 1919-1939, suggesting that these mobilizations provided a radical critique of colonial racism which republican antiracism had failed to develop. I examine how republican antiracism in the post-1945 period then integrated this concept of colonial racism as a category of racism. The historical focus of the thesis is supplemented with a thematic approach to the notion of memory as used within antiracism, notably the memory of colonial and postcolonial forms of racism within the State. The memory of the massacre of Algerians in Paris on 17th October 1961 is studied as an example.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures (Leeds) > School of Languages Cultures and Societies (Leeds) > French (Leeds)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.557330
Depositing User: Digitisation Studio Leeds
Date Deposited: 15 Aug 2012 08:39
Last Modified: 07 Mar 2014 11:21
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/2701

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