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Immigration as a political and social cleavage in France - Essay Example

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Most of the conflicts often reflect divisions due to religious, economic and ideological differences. Such social and political differences are present in France. The French Revolution of 1789 divided the country sharply across ideological…
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Immigration as a political and social cleavage in France
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Immigration as a Political and Social Cleavage in France All countries have bases of conflict. Mostof the conflicts often reflect divisions due to religious, economic and ideological differences. Such social and political differences are present in France. The French Revolution of 1789 divided the country sharply across ideological lines. In addition, conflicts between church and state, social class, generational and regional differences have been central to French politics. More recently, immigration has emerged as a base of conflict in French society and politics. In the following two paragraphs, the objective of this short is to describe some aspects of immigration as a new conflict for France.
For many years, France has been home to many immigrants. The immigrants came from all over the world. It is only until recently that most newcomers in France came from other European countries. Initially, the migratory stream in France mainly composed of African Arabs and more recently black Africans from French former colonies in West Africa and the Caribbean. There are also Turks, Lebanese, and Asian immigrants (Wade 47). More notably is a group of Muslim immigrants from former French colonies. The number of Muslim immigrants in France is high to the extent that France has Western Europe’s largest Islamic population.
The influx of immigrants in France has resulted in the rise of a new conflict in the nation. The conflict has led to riots and changes in laws related to the French history, culture, religion and language. Many people in French believe that the influx of immigrants will erase the identity of France as a nation especially the influence of Muslims. Religious conflicts arise due to the high number of Muslim immigrants. The religious-related conflicts have resulted in riots in many urban centers in France and tensions in Paris, Roma and other places (Angelique 1). Most of the immigrants have different ethnic backgrounds and cultures. The high numbers of these immigrants in France threaten the native ethnic composition, culture and language of the French people. The entrance of new cultures and ethnicity has threatened the local culture. Consequently, the French immigration minister launched a great debate to determine the future of France at a time when France was experiencing a high number of immigrants (Nicolas 1). However, there was opposition to these national debates on immigration. Cultural cohabitation from the immigrants has increased the tension as the nation is falling into a crisis of national identity. The effects of immigrants from North Africa has significantly affected the cultural identity of France. Thus, resulting in a cultural conflict between the immigrants and the native French population (Affan 1). The issue of immigrants and their potential effects on the French citizens resulted in known debate in 1991. The issue saw different politicians and government leaders take different positions.
I have learned two things about immigration as a source of conflict in contemporary France. Firstly, immigration is a crucial issue affecting the France natives as they hold dear their cultural identity. French native people feel threatened in their country. The threat is evident in the high number of persons participating in national debates on issues of immigration. I have learned that the issues of retaining their cultural, ethnic and religious identity it is important to the French people. Conflicts arise when the natives feel that the immigrants are tending to dominate the nations and introduce new cultures. Secondly, I have also learned that there are different views regarding the issue of immigration. As many people feel that it is a burden to the nation, some French socialists feel that it is a political stand for some leaders. Citizens are also divided on the matter as some people have integrated and assimilated the immigrants. Some people believe that France has acquired much of its current identity from integrating and assimilating immigrants through francization (Eloisa 9).
Works cited
Affan, Seluq. "Cultural Conflicts: North African Immigrants in France." The International Journal of Peace Studies, Vol. 2, Number 2 (1997). Print.
Angelique, Chrisafis. "Immigration: France sees tensions rise five years on from Paris riots." The Guardian 16 November 2010.
Eloisa, Vladescu. The Assimilation of Immigrant Groups in France- Myth or Reality. Paper Series. Miami, Florida: Jean Monnet/Robert Schuman, 2006.
Nicolas, Sarkozy. "French debate their identity." World News- NBC News 25 November 2009: 1-3.
Wade, Graham. "The French Immigration Debate: The Short, Hot Summer of 91." The Social Contract (1991): 47-51. print. Read More
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