NEWPOLISCI4 - Integration Malfunction The French Fifth...

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Integration Malfunction The French Fifth Republic has been praised for its liberal immigration policy – a policy of integration. For much of the latter half of the 21 st century, France has generally welcomed immigrants with open arms. Despite this liberal policy on accepting immigrants, and the ultimate goal of the Republic to assimilate all newcomers, the Fifth Republic has experienced serious tension over immigrant policy. In recent years, the world has watched in awe as riots have exploded in suburban France, and serious immigrant related tensions have surfaced. Some scholars have argued that the immigration tension in France is due to unwillingness on the part of the immigrants to assimilate, while others have argued that the French themselves are racist. However, the greatest factor contributing to recent tension over immigration is the inability of the Fifth Republic to integrate the newest wave of immigrants. In this paper, I will examine the ways in which the Fifth Republic has failed its immigrants and argue against those who believe the Fifth Republic is an effective model of assimilation. First, this paper will examine how the Fifth Republic expects too much sacrifice from its immigrants (There are no half-citizens), then the paper will study the effects of the Republic’s inability to differentiate between social groups and act accordingly has led to deepening resentment within the immigrant population (The Republic has no favorites), and the paper will then analyze the effects of the Republic’s lack of intermediary associations (Seek your own help). Next, the paper will explore the effect of the issue scope on French politics, focusing on the move towards the right (The bipolar political system moves right). Further, the paper will study how the failure of the promise of the Fifth Republic to
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integrate the newest wave of immigrants has led to violent outbursts (Overarching problems lead to violence). Finally, the paper will consider the odd case of the 2002 elections (A unique and unrelated incident). There are no half-citizens One of the key components of the French Republican model is the unmediated relationship between citizen and state. In France, this model of direct relationship when viewed in combination of the belief in French cultural superiority has created a unique expectation – when an immigrant comes to France, the state expects the immigrant to cast off their former culture, accept all French ideas, and become completely acculturated (Levy 1/16/07). Further expanding this idea, the French completely reject the idea of dual nationality – there are no American-French, Chinese-French, or Maghrebian-French. When an immigrant chooses to integrate, the immigrant must acknowledge the superiority of the French culture and leave behind the old, inferior culture (Levy 4/6/07).
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