Accepted paper:

Neoliberal Integration Policies in France: Inventing the Failure to Integrate

Authors:

Ozden Ocak (Denison University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper analyzes the integration contract—mandatory in France for third country nationals—as a mechanism of racialization. It suggests that unlike the earlier integration mechanisms, the integration contract is a neoliberal tool that changes the ways in which colonial/racial difference is produced and managed.

Paper long abstract:

The integration mechanisms in France emerged within the context of colonial developmentalism in order to produce and manage the colonial racial difference within the metropole. Integration dispositif therefore comprised welfare and surveillance mechanisms including special housing and family settlement programs designed to ensure the reproduction of the colonial spatial divide and the protection of the sexual borders of the French nation. In this paper, I will examine the integration contract—mandatory in France for third country nationals—as a neoliberal mechanism of racialization that changes the ways in which colonial/racial difference is produced and managed. By signing the integration contract, the immigrant is not only made to own thus produced difference but also promise to disown it to be rewarded residency. Furthermore, integration is made the precondition for family reunification, reversing the former welfare state rationale. As a result, what was once defined as the responsibility of the welfare state is delegated to the individual migrant, opening up the way for the criminalization of difference qua the lack of integration. Thus invented, the individual “failure to integrate” becomes a justification for deportation. Combining a biopolitical perspective developed by Foucault and Agamben with Rüstow’s vitalpolitics, this paper examines the new ways in which racial difference is produced by French integration mechanisms, the implications of the emerging notions of race for the migrants as well as the ostensible borders of the French nation.

panel P138
Containment and excess: techniques for the pacing of mobility, idioms and forms of resistance