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La Valse des OM

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The March 19th 1946 law on departmentalization represents a milestone in the evolution not only of the linkages between France and its four old colonies but of the relations among the DOMs and between the latter and the territories which were not granted a similar status. Since the 50th anniversary of this law which revealed a certain aging of the notion of DOM, a wind of change has blown over the French overseas world, stoked by a wish among French politicians to revisit colonial history. Despite the efforts made by legislators both in metropolitan and overseas France, the opposing tendencies of a search for a common identity on the one hand and recognition for local specificities on the other hand continue to weaken the stability of the whole. One may argue that many of the challenges currently facing overseas France derive from an initial ambiguous positioning in the 1946 law and of reforms since passed. An analysis of the impact of civil servants on economic development, of regional isolation resulting from immigration laws, of conflicts of interest between France and its overseas world and of tensions among within the French overseas world reveal that despite (or because of ?) multiple reforms, the liaisons between metropolitan France and its overseas remain just as unstable as they are dangerous.
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Keywords: DOM-TOM; Identity; Specificity; civil service; conflicts of interest; immigration; regional isolation; statute

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Johns Hopkins University.

Publication date: 2008-06-16

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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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