In the 1990s, a rupture appeared in Europe between the grand national “philosophies” of citizenship on the one hand, state integration policies in relation to migrants and minorities of immigrant origin on the other. This is a new situation. It does not only concern the gap between “national philosophies” and the political responses to the presence of migrants and minorities because, in practice, every country deviates from an “integration model” claimed at an ideological level. When one deals with it in an empirical way rather than a normative one, the idea of a “model” is therefore relative. But the rupture in question relates to something else: today, integration policies are not only justified
by referring to the traditional ideologies of “living together” within a nation but, above all, the social and political relevance of this classic ideological justification is now being
as a way of promoting integration, even by the institutions acting as guardians of national tradition in the area of citizenship. It is in this particular context that a “crisis” can be seen in the “integration models” of both France and Britain. By looking at this rupture, we must re-consider the comparison between the Republican citizenship “model”, which is based on the primacy of the individual citizen and a national political identity, and the plural citizenship “model” of Britain, where minority groups are both the subjects
France and Britain: two citizenship «models»
French and British integration policies have for a long time formed two mutually exclusive paradigms. Built on elements of the ideology introduced during the French Revolution, French citizenship follows a framework of civic individualism and national modernity. Civic individualism sees the abstract individual as the only focus of rights, and refuses any form of distinction on ethno-racial lines in the public sphere, which is seen as a place where shared citizenship can flourish. National modernity, on the other hand, by lending almost monolithic sovereignty to the nation, has made national identity an affective notion to counterbalance the very abstract definition of members of the “community of citizens” (Schnapper 1994). According to this ideological system, everything that is not classed as national is seen as suspect in terms of identity. From a normative perspective, this explains why it was difficult to recognise the postcolonial social diversity in French society when immigrant workers who arrived in the 1960s and 1970s began settling for good in the 1980s, with their descendants becoming citizens with the full rights granted by the French Republic.