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Constructing Muslims in France: Discourse, Public Identity, and the Politics of Citizenship
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Pateman, C. Fredette empirically illustrates how many of the inequalities and difficulties existing in the field of education are exacerbated in the field of employment. Her interviews reveal that Muslims commonly experience not only discrimination on the part of employers, but also general wariness from coworkers. Chapter 6 is concerned with issues related to housing. Fredette argues that these are inseparable from the social construction of the banlieues disadvantaged immigrant neighborhoods , and demonstrates that while French elites almost univocally portray the banlieues as dangerous, the meanings that Muslims attach to these places are more subtle and varied.
Fredette summarizes her findings by stating that contemporary French elite discourses build mostly on difference-blind abstract republicanism. Rather, they are fighting to combat discrimination and to be accepted — and respected — as French and Muslim p. The strengths of this book are linked to its weaknesses. It is through this comparison that the author succeeds in painting a subtle picture of the construction of French citizenship.
However, it is not always obvious whether her analysis speaks to the interactions between these frames. The cover of the book — a photograph of a veiled woman — is itself revealing of this fact. Although Fredette clearly states that not all Muslims are equally affected by the undercutting of citizenship, she fails to sufficiently stress that elite discourses often specifically target Muslim women who wear the hijab. Therefore it can be argued that the headscarf controversies are not simply something that takes attention away from other issues, but an important structuring factor in all of the discourses under study.
Overall, however, Constructing Muslims in France is very convincing, easily accessible, and thoroughly enjoyable. It is full of empirical examples that bring the French context alive for readers across the globe. This book will be of great interest to political scientists, sociologists, and legal scholars alike, as well as to anyone interested in issues of minority rights and discrimination. Bowen, John R. Can Islam be French? Fernando, Mayanthi L.
Gaspard, F. Hajjat, A. Kaltenbach, J. Paris: Gallimard. Kepel, Gilles. Paris: Seuil. Scott, Joan Wallach. The Politics of the Veil. Your email address will not be published. Your website:. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.