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Taking as a starting point the prevalence of the public sector for the French Overseas departments and their migrants in metropolitan France, this article investigates the following question: To what extent does public employment mitigate the difficulties French overseas natives face on the labor market? Based on the Labor Force surveys conducted by the French national institute for statistical and economic studies (Insee) in metropolitan France, the West Indies, and Reunion Island between 2004 and 2008, this article examines a twofold comparison between overseas natives and metropolitans, on the one hand, as well as between DOM and metropolitan France, on the other hand. This study shows how the specificities of the public sector and its internal divisions take on a particular meaning for the DOM populations. Recruitments in this sector play a central role in the context of job scarcity in the DOM, but also in the migrations of DOM natives to mainland France and in the migrations of mainland natives to the DOM. Analyzing the weight of the public sector in these different spaces and the positions that these populations occupy in this sector highlights the tension between the ideal of equality defended by the public sector, which protects overseas natives from some of the difficulties they encounter in the labor market, and its contribution to relations of subordination inherited from the colonial period, intersecting class and ethno-racial inequalities.

  • French Overseas
  • employment
  • public sector
  • inequalities
Marine Haddad
This is the latest publication of the author on cairn.
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