Must minorities be represented by minorities? A color line in the ordinary representations of representation in France

By Camille Hamidi

This article deals with the question of the representation of ethnic minorities in politics in France, examining it from the angle of the “representative claims” of ordinary citizens. The fieldwork is based on the reanalysis of a corpus of thirty interviews, conducted in the working-class neighborhoods of Vaulx-en-Velin, in the suburbs of Lyon, between 2007 and 2009. It shows that representative claims made on the basis of ethnicity are scarce in the discourse of the interviewees, contrary to the claims that may exist in certain militant spheres. However, interviewees have structured representations on the issue when questioned. An in-depth analysis, conducted using a CAQDAS, sheds light on very different responses to the question of whether it is legitimate to “see color” in public space, and on very contrasting ways of looking at mirror representation. It thus highlights the existence of a color line in the ordinary representations of representation in France.

  • France
  • Ethnicity
  • Political representation
  • Electoral sociology
  • Reanalysis
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