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The Kabyle Diaspora's Politics; Articulating Nativism and Indigeneity in France

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The xenophobic and particularly Islamophobic attitudes of France’s nativist-populist Right are particularly directed at France’s large Maghrebi postcolonial diaspora. However, part of this Maghrebi diaspora defines itself not as Arab, but as Kabyle. The Kabyle diaspora is home to a national independence movement, the Provisional Government of Kabylia (GPK). In its search for political allies, the GPK highlights the Kabyle commitment to ‘Republican values’ such as laïcité, gender equality, and democracy – playing on colonial-era stereotypes that oppose Kabyles and Arabs. These Kabyle nationalists have developed an ambivalent positioning in relation to progressive and reactionary forms of nativism, wherein they oppose ‘colonial Arabo-Islamism’ in North Africa as Indigenous people, but also articulate an anti-Islamist, anti-Arab stance that makes their discourse attractive to figures on the French Right. The GPK has adopted a nativist-populism of its own to project its claim to sovereignty in the name of the Kabyle nation. Drawing on ethnographic research conducted 2015-2017, this paper argues that the Kabyle diaspora’s leaders position draw some advantages from French nativist-populist discourse, but is simultaneously opposed to the anti-immigration and racist elements which threaten it

This talk is part of the Infrastructural Geographies - Department of Geography series.

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