CAIRN-INT.INFO : International Edition

From 1947 to 1962, the specific status of French indigenous Muslims from colonial Algeria changed tremendously, moving closer to being that of “French from Algeria.” This was particularly the case for Algerians residing in metropolitan France who were, in theory at least, deemed French like anyone else. However, in practice, colonial migrants from Algeria living in France worried the French administration and suffered targeted discriminatory treatment. In particular, although it was illegal, they were specifically identified in administrative documents as “French Muslims from Algeria.” This paper examines the 1954 census to look at the ways Algerians living in France were identified. It argues that the colonial context influenced the design and implementation of the census, leading French administrative officials to breach their usual identification practices.

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