The Failure of the Welfare System in France Essay

The Failure of the Welfare System in France Essay

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IntroductioThe Algerian War of Independence in 1962 marked the end of France’s colonial regime. Before decolonization, Algeria had been held as the prize of the French empire, “one of the most beautiful provinces of France.” While it is somewhat inaccurate to pose Algeria and France as separate states throughout the process of colonization and decolonization, for consistency and clarity, Algeria and France will be referred to as separate entities, although for much of the studied time period, Algeria was a part of France. Algeria and France enjoyed a special relationship, beyond that which France had with its other colonies. This allowed freer migration between Algeria and France, and France fought harder to keep Algeria as a colony than it did with any of its other colonies. It established two separate welfare programs, one track for immigrants from countries other than Algeria and one for Algerians. Throughout this process, Algerians and other Maghrebi immigrants were integral to the French industrial force even as immigration policy changed around them. This paper seeks to unpack the French welfare state and humanitarian aid through the lens of housing for Algerian immigrants between the end of World War II and the mid 1970s. Ultimately, I argue that the welfare state in France is founded on flawed perceptions of “the other” and that humanitarian aid as it stands in France only works to perpetuate inequalities.

The first recorded evidence of Algerian immigrants in France dates from 1871, just at the beginning of the second industrial revolution. It was not until just before World War I, though, that any significant migration to France took place. At this time, no migration from Algeria to France was permanent migration, a...


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...n France.” MERIP Reports No. 34, 1-12.
French Court of Auditors. “De la SONACOTRA à Adoma : des dérives corrigées tardivement” in Rapport public annuel 2013 – février 2013. (See attachment)
“France: Soundtrack to a Riot” http://www.pbs.org/frontlineworld/rough/2006/03/france_soundtralinks.html, Accessed 27 April, 2014.
Lyons, Amelia. The Civilizing Mission in the Metropole: Algerian Families and the French Welfare State during Decolonization. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2013.
Mehta, Brinda. “Negotiating Arab-Muslim Identity, Contested Citizenship, and Gender Ideologies in the Parisian Housing Projects: Faïza Guène’s Kiffe Kiffe Demain.” Research in African Literatures, Vol. 41, No. 2, 173-202.
Ticktin, Miriam. “Where Ethics and Politics Meet: The Violence of Humanitarianism in France.” American Ethnologist, Vol. 33, No. 1 (Feb, 2006), 33-49.





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