Claire Eldridge
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Creating an identity
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This chapter traces the expansion of pied-noir activism in the 1970s and 1980s. Utilising a particular visual and rhetorical grammar, associations defined and defended the existence of a specific community structured around a set of shared narratives about the past. Although often dismissed as ‘nostalgérie’, the cultural output of associations during the period is valuable because it reveals the strategic choices being made by activists concerning what they wished to emphasise or obscure as they sought to consolidate a shared historical lexicon. By establishing a ‘commemorative calendar’, associations also ensured that disparate pieds-noirs were provided with a stable set of dates and event through which to reaffirm their historical and cultural roots and to feel part of a community. Complementing these efforts were attempts to physically anchor the pieds-noirs in France by erecting physical monuments and even building a pied-noir town in Carnoux-en-Provence. The vision of the past formulated across these different spaces is central to understanding pied-noir behaviour in the postcolonial period.

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From empire to exile

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


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