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Anti-racism in the Sarkozy years: SOS Racisme and the Mouvement des Indigènes de la République

Martin, Thomas Daniel (2013) Anti-racism in the Sarkozy years: SOS Racisme and the Mouvement des Indigènes de la République. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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This thesis examines the discourse and strategy of two contrasting French anti-racist movements – SOS Racisme, the consensus-seeking centrist movement founded in 1984 and the Mouvement des Indigènes de la République (MIR), the radical anti-colonial movement founded in 2005 – over the years 2005 to 2009, a period which I argue is defined by a conservative and potentially exclusionary conception of national identity on the part of Nicolas Sarkozy and his political allies, as well as by an intense debate on colonial legacies and memory (typified by Sarkozy’s rhetorical attacks on ‘repentance’), a widespread rejection of multiculturalism and communautarisme, and a cross-party consensus on the language of republicanism but not the underlying definition of the concept. I find that the central ideological difference between the two movements can be found in their respective relationships with republicanism. Whereas SOS, in line with the traditions of the French anti-racist movement, bases its ideology on universalist republicanism and sees France’s mainstream political culture as fundamentally supportive of antiracist aims, MIR is highly critical of republicanism, highlighting the way in which ‘universalist’ principles have been used in French history as a justification for colonialism, racism and discrimination. The thesis argues that the positions of the movements on the defining themes of the period identified above have caused them substantial issues in campaigning, with MIR’s questioning of republicanism, emphasis on colonial memory and support for multiculturalism diametrically opposed to the prevailing political climate, and SOS’s favoured republican ideology, thanks to its inherent flexibility, being used by Sarkozy as an implicit means of stigmatising minority populations.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
ISBN: 978-0-85731-673-8
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures (Leeds) > School of Languages Cultures and Societies (Leeds)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.605296
Depositing User: Repository Administrator
Date Deposited: 06 May 2014 10:12
Last Modified: 18 Feb 2020 12:47
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/5874

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