Claire Eldridge
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Creating a community
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Today the pied-noir community are known for their vocal mobilisation in the fields of memory and commemoration. But when the former settlers first arrived in France in 1962, their concerns were more practical in orientation. Preoccupied with rebuilding their lives following their abrupt and traumatic departure from French Algeria, they looked to the small number of newly founded rapatrié [repatriate] associations to press the government on their behalf for assistance with integration and compensation for what they had lost. The lynchpin of such demands was the rapatriés’ French citizenship which, associations argued, entitled them to a particular kind and level of support. Framed as statements about the ‘Frenchness’ of the former settlers and the extent to which the state was willing to recognise this through their actions, this chapter shows how these material demands enabled associations to define a set of common interests and goals which, in turn, fostered a sense of community and identity among the displaced settlers.

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From empire to exile

History and memory within the pied-noir and harki communities, 1962–2012


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