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Introduction: departmentalization's continuing conundrum: locating the DOM-ROM between home and away

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This collection of essays probes the resonances of the sixtieth anniversary of some of France's overseas colonies gaining accession to full integration into the metropole as dpartements. This event stands out in that it marks the only occasion in European colonial history where colonies on the verge of transformation were integrated into the political structure of the former colonial power. The compound issues undergirding the ongoing departmental relationship suggest a hierarchical structure still predicated on neocolonial patterns of domination and submission, centre and periphery. From ngritude through antillanit and crolit, the deployment of various discourses of resistance and identity has not foreclosed the large-scale displacement of French Caribbean subjects to France that followed departmentalization in 1946, resulting in new ethnic and community concentrations and a certain creolization of the metropole itself. It is the tensions arising from these intersections of integration, migration and difference that lead us to interrogate the ways in which this process of exchange produces an increasingly pluralized and, perhaps, polarized metropole and its problematization of French principles of universalism.

Keywords: Caribbean; Frenchness; assimilation; departmentalization; integration; migration

Document Type: Introduction


Affiliations: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Publication date: June 16, 2008

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  • The International Journal of Francophone Studies offers a critical preview for a new development in the understanding of 'France outside France', with a thorough insight into the network of disciplinary issues affiliated with this study. The journal complements the thriving area of scholarly interest in the French-speaking regions of the world, bringing a location of linguistic, cultural, historical and social dynamics within a single academic arena.
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