Policing the Post-Colonial Order: Surveillance and the African Immigrant Community in France, 1960–1979

Author: Glaes, Gillian

Source: Historical Reflections, Volume 36, Number 2, Summer 2010 , pp. 108-126(19)

Publisher: Berghahn Journals

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Abstract:

By the early 1960s, an increasing number of Africans migrated to France from their former colonies in West Africa. Most were men hoping to gain employment in several different industries. Their settlement in Paris and other cities signaled the start of "post-colonial" African immigration to France. While scholars have analyzed several facets of this migration, they often overlook the ways in which France's role as a colonial power in West Africa impacted the reception of these immigrants after 1960, where surveillance played a critical role. Colonial regimes policed and monitored the activities of indigenous populations and anyone else they deemed problematic. The desire to understand newly arriving immigrant groups and suspicion of foreign-born populations intersected with the state's capacity to monitor certain groups in order to regulate and control them. While not physically violent, these surveillance practices reflected the role that symbolic violence played in the French government's approach to this post-colonial immigrant population.

Keywords: DECOLONIZATION; FRANCE; IMMIGRATION; MIGRATION; POST-COLONIAL; SURVEILLANCE; SYMBOLIC VIOLENCE; WEST AFRICAN

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3167/hrrh.2010.360208

Publication date: June 1, 2010

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