Conference 934: France and the United States, Two Models of Integration?
Consulate General of France
934 Fifth Avenue New York, NY 10021
(between 74th and 75th Streets
France and the United States are often presented as having adopted two opposing models for integrating immigrant populations and their descendants. The American model, which is based on immigration and, since the 1960s, the affirmation of multiculturalism, contrasts with the French assimilationist republic. The role of the State and history, notably slavery and colonization, sets apart these two culturally diverse societies. Yet that cultural diversity has become a subject of debate.
To what extent does the difference in approach account for the success or failure of the inclusion of immigrants and minorities in these two countries? Are the models converging? Or are they becoming increasingly distinct?
• Richard Alba is distinguished professor of sociology at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY). Increasingly, his teaching and research have taken on a comparative focus, encompassing the immigration societies of North America and Western Europe. He has published notably Italian Americans: Into the Twilight of Ethnicity (1985); Ethnic Identity: The Transformation of White America (1990); Remaking the American Mainstream: Assimilation and Contemporary Immigration (2003), with Victor Nee; Blurring the Color Line: The New Chance for a More Integrated America (2009); and more recently, Strangers No More: Immigration and the Challenges of Integration in North America and Western Europe (2015), with Nancy Foner. He has been elected president of the Eastern Sociological Society (1997-98) and vice president of the American Sociological Association (2000-01). In 2008, he received the Distinguished Career Award from the International Migration section of the American Sociological Association.
• Nancy Foner is distinguished professor of sociology at Hunter College and at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY). She is the author or editor of 18 books including From Ellis Island to JFK: New York’s Two Great Waves of Immigration (2000) and more recently Strangers No More: Immigration and the Challenges of Integration in North America and Western Europe, with Richard Alba (2015) and Fear, Anxiety, and National Identity: Immigration and Belonging in North America and Western Europe, co-authored with Patrick Simon (2015). She was the 2014-15 president of the Eastern Sociological Society and is the recipient of numerous honors, including the Distinguished Career Award from the International Migration Section. In 2011, she was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
• Patrick Simon is the director of research at the National Institute of Demographic Studies (INED) and fellow researcher at the Center of European Studies (CEE) at Sciences Po. He is also distinguished visiting fellow at the CUNY Graduate center. He is studying antidiscrimination policies, ethnic classification and the integration of ethnic minorities in European countries. He has chaired the scientific panel “Integration of immigrants” at the International Union for the Scientific Studies of Population (IUSSP) and was appointed to the Scientific Board of the Fundamental Rights Agency of the European Commission in Vienna (2008-2013). He has edited with V. Piché (2012) a special issue of Ethnic and Racial Studies, “Accounting for ethnic and racial diversity: the challenge of enumeration,” and with Nancy Foner Fear, Anxiety, and National Identity: Immigration and Belonging in North America and Western Europe (2015), published by the Russell Sage Foundation.
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