Difference and Diversity in Higher Education Classrooms
Part III France
Elisabeth Lillie 4 Voices from the Multi-ethnic University in France France and Immigration: The Context The main aim of this chapter is to consider aspects of the university expe- rience of French students with immigrant origins, However, France is a country whose national approach towards immigrants and multi-ethnicity dif fers from that of certain other comparable nations, its policies having evolved over the years in line with its political systems and mutations in its society. As this wider context inevitably impacts on attitudes and actions, the chapter begins with an introduction to immigration in France and ways in which the state has considered incoming settlers and their descendants. The French have a long tradition of immigration with dif ferent popula- tion movements welding together over the centuries to create the modern nation (Renan 1947 (1882); Kastory Ano 1994; Dewitte 2003; Noiriel 2006, 2007; Kiwan 2009). Yet, despite its open approach towards inward migra- tion permitting it to meet population deficiencies and labour needs, it was particularly in the post Second World War years of reconstruction that France had recourse to immigrant labour on a wide scale, to some extent Spanish and Portuguese but increasingly from non-European countries, in the main France’s colonies or ex-colonies, a situation which continued throughout the so-called trente glorieuses, the industrial boom years of economic prosperity spanning roughly the thirty-year period from 1945 to 1975 (Milza 1985; Kastory Ano 1994; Dewitte 2003). France’s immigration strategy was accompanied by a policy towards settlers in the country that...
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