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Accepted Paper:

Drifting Worlds, (dis)enchanted Past and Utopian sites: Europeans in Algeria, from exiles to exiles  

Author:

Michèle Baussant (CNRS, ISP)

Paper short abstract:

This paper examines the genesis of 'tiers-exclus' from the colonial world and their ambiguous legacies, caught between several populations, histories and territories, through the case of the Europeans of Algeria.

Paper long abstract:

This paper examines the genesis of 'tiers-exclus' from the colonial world and their ambiguous legacies, caught between several populations, histories and territories, through the case of the Europeans of Algeria. These Europeans of Algeria represent a host of different groups, some of them with no common ancestry or territory apart from those forged in Algeria. On leaving Algeria they found themselves lumped together according to their links with the past and labeled Pieds-Noirs. Following decolonization, however, this unifying past became totally anachronistic and was regarded as morally indefensible.

This communication follows the thread of the matrix spaces of these Pieds-noirs, through the paths of memory and their multiple translations, over less than two centuries and a few generations, between several territories. I show how these populations were first defined as forms of 'nations within the nation' or subaltern groups associated with the colonial powers, then as exogenous elements once Algeria was on the path to independence, and finally as marginal and 'tiers-exclus' in the countries they moved to. How did this assimilation to an exogenous element, revealing a deficit of belonging that goes beyond inclusion in a nationality, remain so persistent? What does it tell us about the paths of integration and the non-formalized modalities of social recognition ? These questions lead me to focus on the logic of local inscription of these populations in order to grasp the fragility of the relations and conditions of belonging, seen here as a process and not as a status acquired forever.

Panel P180
Shared marginal experiences? Comparing postcolonial memories from the European margins