CAIRN-INT.INFO : International Edition

This paper examines the social use of immigration history in collective actions by a group of French activists of North African origin. The analysis is based on a qualitative survey conducted in the region of Nice (PACA). First, we look at the variety of in-group immigration memory repertoires which are resorted to as support for collective action, mobilisation and reaction issues, as well as a means of gaining public recognition. We move onto examining how those memories and practices contribute to frame two divergent models of organisation and collective action within the group, namely the ‘commando’ and ‘social club’ models. Across both models, we find that actors converge on using immigration memory as an effective instrument for social change. On the one hand, common immigration memories provide group members with a number of consensual and unifying objects. On the other hand, however, exploring how those particular objects are used in collective action reveals diverging strategies and conceptions of expected social change.

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