Honors College Theses

Publication Date



International Studies (B.A.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Faculty Mentor

Dr. William Biebuyck


In the 19th century, the political and cultural elite of France’s Second Empire sought to unify the country under one national French identity. This politically charged identity aimed to show France’s cultural superiority to the rest of the world through the arts and imperialist civilization missions in Africa. More than a century later, the idea of the French identity is still dominating French sociopolitical discourse. The only difference is, due to years of immigration from former African colonies, now the ethnically French and African/Arab “other” live amongst each other. It is expected for countries to experience cultural clashes when faced with immigrant communities whose culture differs significantly from their own. However, unlike many of their western counterparts that attempt to embrace these differences, The French government and society outright reject and even condemn the idea of overt inclusion of cultural identities that are not their own. Furthermore, it is demanded that African and Arab minorities relinquish their cultural and religious ties in order to fully assimilate into contemporary French society. This paper conducts a content analysis of French political leaders’ political manifestos and related literature, in order to answer the question: How was the contemporary French identity formed and how is it then utilized within French socio-political discourse to create the African/Arab "other”? Through this analysis, it is shown that French ideals such as secularism and cultural superiority are used as vehicles for xenophobic messaging and defining the “unFrench”.

Available for download on Tuesday, April 09, 2024