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A conflicted sense of nationality: Napoleon III’s Arab Kingdom and the paradoxes of French multiculturalism

Murray-Miller, Gavin ORCID: 2014. A conflicted sense of nationality: Napoleon III’s Arab Kingdom and the paradoxes of French multiculturalism. French Colonial History 15 (1) , pp. 1-37.

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Recent critiques of French national identity have focused attention on republicanism’s hostility to diversity and cultural pluralism within the national community, highlighting current problems associated with state efforts to promote Muslim integration. This article explores the roots of France’s pathological relationship with multiculturalism by revisiting debates on nationality in nineteenth-century Algeria. Examining the short-lived Arab Kingdom policy of the 1860s, it argues that debates over the Algerian question carried out during the years of the Second Empire played a significant role in shaping conceptions of French nationality and modernity. Despite its intentions to create a space for Muslims within the French nation, the Arab Kingdom ultimately re-inscribed distinctions among French nationals and undermined its hope of realizing a cosmopolitan and multiethnic French community. In light of this failure, however, the years of the Second Empire proved to be a period in which alternative national imaginaries came to the forefront of French politics, illuminating possible alternatives to France’s republican nationhood and the republican communitarianism which persists to this day.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DC France
D History General and Old World > DT Africa
Uncontrolled Keywords: Second Empire, Multiculturalism, Colonial Algeria, French Republicanism, Nationality and Ethnicity
Publisher: Michigan State University Press
ISSN: 1539-3402
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 31 Oct 2022 18:57

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