Date of Award

Spring 2021

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation



First Advisor

Caroline Nagel


Using a geographic framework, this dissertation explores how Algerian immigrants and their descendants perform identity and negotiate belonging in French society. Bringing together critical theorizations of race, identity, space, and place, this work investigates what it means to be a racialized minority in a postcolonial context and to learn and experience the boundaries of ‘Frenchness.’ It is based on the narratives of Algerian immigrants who have migrated to Paris, France, and their French-born children. The empirical evidence of the case studies highlights the myriad ways in which Algerian immigrants and their descendants encounter and structure their interactions with French society, and the many geographic contexts that influence where these interactions unfold. By highlighting the postcolonial influence, this dissertation situates integration in a broader historical and geographical context, examining how ‘belonging’ becomes a matter of contention in receiving contexts marked by post-colonial anxiety. The objective of this research is to understand integration not as an organic process of adaptation, but as a form of politics that plays out in the spaces of everyday life. This research moves beyond traditional preoccupations with immigrant clustering to consider the less visible ways that migrants move in and out of spaces, accommodating or subverting dominant norms and finding or creating spaces of belonging for themselves.

Included in

Geography Commons