Britain and France have divergent attitdues to the issue of minority identities. Whilst the British emphasise multiculturalism, allowing that it is possible to combine race or faith with a British identity, the French view such a combination of religion and nationality as unacceptable. However, recent events have challenged these traditional approaches to minorities. The London bombings of July 2005, and the fact that the perpetrators were British, threw into question the assumption that the elevation of difference could lead to community cohesion, whilst riots in Birmingham in October 2005 between black and Asian communities further highlighted tensions. Similarly, French certainties about their pro-active attitude to the integration of minorities into a national community, unified by common values, were profoundly shaken by rioting in urban areas.In this exceptionally timely collection, leading commentators from France and Britain compare how two European countries, with very distinct national traditions are facing up to the challenges of multiculturalism and issues of identity. Exploring the assumptions underlying minority policies and the constructions of identity, this volume explores how and why they need to be revised.

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