Multiculturalism in Society: the French Issue

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Faculty of International Relations

Multiculturalism in Society: The French Issue

(assessed work)

Table of Contents

1 Definitions and different points of view on multiculturalism in the world4 2 Multicultural background of the French society5
2. 1 Socio-political regime in France6
2. 2French racism7
2. 3 Discrimination in French society8
3Challenges and crisis of multiculturalism in France10


In the beginning of the new millennium the world stands before a number of great challenges but also a plenty of problems that result from the ever-expanding globalization. One of the side factors of the latter is a massive migration of people throughout the whole planet. Whether it is because of political, social, economical or whatsover issues, it brings along the emersion of multicultural societies living within one country or state. One of these countries where multiculturalism plays a considerable role and to which this working paper is dedicated is France. Nowadays the French society is a melange of diverses cultures, races and religious beliefs that enrich it but also collide with each other and engender serious problem on different social levels. Yet the relations between persons of the same faith, cultural background or ethnical origin are somtimes complex enough to cause collisions and tensions and so if there are absolutely different people who are supposed to live one next to another it might and it actually does result in much more serious misunderstanding, contempt or even hatred and violence. Unfortunately, this is one of the recent phenomena that have afflicted the French social milieu and have strengthened the anti-multiculturalism mood in France and in the rest of Europe.

The first chapter of this work gives a general review of multiculturalism from diverse angles and its perception in various parts of the world. In addition, it specifies the term multiculturalism itself and describes the social situation in France which is then approached more in detail in the second chapter where the structure of the current French society and its social phenomena are elucidated. The last but not the least chapter deals with the particular issues that the multiculturalism brought along in the recent times and outlines the vision of the future development of multiculturalism in France.

1 Definitions and different points of view on multiculturalism in the world

Multiculturalism is one of today`s most important and intensely debated terms within and outside the academic community. The term itself emerged in the 1960s and 1970s in countries like Canada and Australia, and, to a lesser extent, Britain and the United States where the immigration rate was very high.

However, the sheer presence of more than one culture within a specific society is not sufficient to define a society as multicultural. The vast majority of societies throughout the world history has included more than one culture, and from such a perspective the entire human history could easily fall within the scope of multiculturality. What is then required for a society to be considered multicultural is the normative (cultural, legal and insitutional) endorsement of such a reality and not only the existence of ethnic heterogeneity. When such a conceptual turn is made, the concept and the reality that this entry aims to outline come closer to what is meant by the term “multicultural“ which represents the cultural reality of mainly Western (North American, Australian and European) societies during the second half of the 20th century. Hence, in the beginning the multiculturalism meant the policy focus on the children of Asian, Black or Hispanic immigrants and on the extension of the schooling, both in terms of curriculum and as an insitution, to include features such as mother-tongue teaching, non Christian religions...
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