Constructing the Otherness of Jews and Muslims in France

Hanane Karimi, in "Jew and Muslims in Europe", Annual Review of the Sociology of Religion, Vol.13

Based on religious belonging, either Jewish or Muslim, and trajectories of migration, the ascription of radical alterity transforms minority status but also distinguishes it from French national citizenship (Sayad, 1987). I argue that diverse forms of Muslim alterity in France borrow elements of the ways in which Jews were/are constructed as Others; both illegitimate and dangerous. To do this, I analyze and compare the specificity and the variations of legal exclusion, of the alterization and social illegitimacy to which Jewish then Muslim populations have been or are relegated. Such a comparative perspective allows us to identify regulation vis-à-vis French Jews under Vichy in order to underline an ideological continuum which fuels the construction of the figure of the internal (Jewish, and now Muslim) stranger. To the image of the stranger I apply the notion of paradoxical citizenship elaborated by Joan W. Scott in the case of women excluded from citizenship along with Jews (Scott, 1998). See more