CAIRN-INT.INFO : International Edition

There are few studies about the children of mixed couples in France. This population is often mingled with the children of immigrants in studies of school success. Nevertheless, the children of mixed couples differ from both immigrants children and from the children of the French in terms of both socialization within the family and their connection to the country of residence. This suggests that the academic success of children of mixed couples could be influenced by their normative universe and their degree of stigmatization. Because the authors of the survey « Histoires de vie. Construction des identités » (insee, ined, 2003) overrepresented people of immigrant backgrounds, it was possible to study the school performance of children of mixed couples in comparison to people of French descent, of foreign descent and to immigrants. This study shows that children of mixed couples are less likely to pursue higher education than any other studied subgroup. The use of qualitative and quantitative methods allows us to test the hypothesis that the lower academic performance of the children of mixed couples may be the result of a fluctuation of their normative universe as well as of the stigmatization of this population, these two phenomena resulting in an identity crisis. The migration route and thus the country of socialization as well as family connections appear central in defining their normative universe. And the impact of stigma on the definition of identity seems to be influenced by the degree of visibility of their mixedness, real or supposed non-Christian beliefs being especially highly stigmatized. The visible character of mixedness depends on social interactions. School seems to be the place where children of mixed couples are the most perceived as « others. »


  • mixedness
  • identity
  • stigma
  • normative universe
  • social link
  • school achievement
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