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Abstract

France has successfully integrated thousands of immigrants, such as the Italians and Polish, into its population for hundreds of years. Recently, however, the tension within French society between the native French and its North African immigrants has come to the attention of not only France, but of the world. What, if any, are the barriers to North African integration into French society? Has the traditional French model of assimilation failed? Using newspaper articles, scholarly journals, and case studies, this paper aims to analyze specific events in recent French history as well as barriers of assimilation in order to determine whether there is proof of dual identities, which in turn will indicate if assimilation has failed or succeeded. Since the first tensions between host population and immigrants occurred in the 1970s, the integration policy from that time period will be examined, and its effects into the present day. Three main causes will be examined in the context of France’s integration policy. The influence of Islam, the impact of France’s colonial empire in the Maghreb, and racism all play a part in the barrier to North Africans’ integration into French society. As a result of these factors, a dual identity among immigrants may have developed, fluctuating between an ethnic and French identity. This paper has found that there is evidence of dual identities, and therefore, a partial failure of assimilation.

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