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The Harki Identity: A Product of Marginalisation and Resistance to Symbolic Violence?

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Abstract:

This paper seeks to demonstrate that since their arrival in France in 1962, the Harkis – the Algerians who fought with rather than for the French side against the Algerian independence movement (1954–1962) – have been the victims of symbolic violence. They have been assigned by the French state to the periphery of French towns, French history and French identity. As, since 25 September 2001 (the first national Harki remembrance day) and 5 December 2002 (when President Chirac inaugurated the Algerian war memorial in Paris), the Harkis ceased to epitomise ‘the archetype of official non memory' (Rosello, 1998, p. 170), this paper ultimately asks whether the end of a certain form of symbolic violence may not result in the ‘delegitimisation' of the Harkis' main (historical) claims and, consequently, in the weakening of the Harki identity.

Keywords: Algerian War; Collective Identity; Commemorations; Harkis; Official Memory; Symbolic Violence

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14608940600703700

Publication date: June 1, 2006

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