Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Pétain in the Gallery of Ancestors ...

... in one Calvados village--and the mayor
refuses to take down his portrait.

Gendered Immigration

The figure of the female immigrant has become central to the French discourse on immigration, according to a new book (Anne-Isabelle Barthélémy, Catherine Benoît, Vincent Berthe et al., Cette France-là, vol. 1). From the review:

[O]n découvre une réflexion sur le caractère sexué des politiques migratoires. « Le corps des femmes étrangères […] devient à proprement parler un enjeu d’identité nationale » (p. 117) : il est en effet au cœur des attentions politiques et médiatiques. Prostituée, femme de l’immigration, fille des quartiers : ces figures récurrentes, caricaturales et floues, sont au centre de la conception d’une « immigration subie », que l’on refuse au nom même de la liberté des individus qu’elle concerne. La dénonciation des violences subies par ces femmes est au centre d’une politique de définition de l’identité nationale, adossée à l’idée d’une modernité relationnelle et sexuelle.

The authors also attack the idea that immigrants are a burden on the economy. On the contrary, they contribute to growth as both producers and consumers, the authors argue. What is a burden is the amount spent on arrest, incarceration, and expulsion of illegal immigrants, which the authors estimate as 2 billion euros per year, or 0.1 percent of GDP. Compare this with the sum spent on swine flu vaccine, for which the government is now taking so much flak: under 1 billion.

Violent Youth?

Sociologist Laurent Mucchielli discusses violent youth crime in France. To the question "Are delinquents younger and more violent than in the past?" his answer is a clear No.

Toujours de l'audace!

Who says nothing has come of the national identity debate? Eric Besson has a concrete policy proposal: La Marseillaise shall henceforth be sung at all Division 1 championship series sporting events. France is saved!

(But foreigners resident in France won't get the right to vote in local elections: the UMP hates the idea.)

Besson and Sarkozy: A Pair with a Pair

Eric Fassin considers national identity from the point of view of virility and finds in Besson and Sarkozy a pair with a pair each.

Auto-Entrepreneurs

France has taken steps to promote entrepreneurship and small start-ups. Good move.