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Title: A microhistory of migrants and their identifications in a Paris tenement (1882-1932)
Author: Langrognet, Fabrice
ISNI:       0000 0004 7961 950X
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2019
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This dissertation offers a micro-analysis of migration from a social and a cultural perspective. It is premised on the conviction that the micro scale can be of great value to avoid, or at least control for, the perils of taking ethnic, national, racial or gender boundaries for granted. Recounted across four different chapters combining individual stories with quantitative analysis, the action of this thesis spans five decades of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and takes place in a Paris tenement building. Or, more precisely, in a disparate complex of constructions located just outside the capital, in the heart of the Plaine-Saint-Denis, a banlieue which from the 1870s became a magnet for working-class migrants of many origins, whether in France or abroad. That crowded place, whose unity is as much a narrative device as an epistemological tactic, is itself at the core of the first chapter. Both the buildings, situated at Nos. 96-102 Avenue du Président-Wilson, and their demographic make-up, far from being mere micro-structural conditions, appear as fluid realities whose delineations depend not only upon the residents' perceptions, but also upon our analytical choices. The second chapter investigates the inhabitants' migrations, demonstrating that the salience of categories of difference depended partly on spatial movements. This also was partly determined by personal interactions, which are addressed in the third chapter, through a focus on the inhabitants' intricate, and ever-evolving, networks. When identifications based on origin were given relevance in the people's affinities, local and micro-regional solidarity was generally more operative than a broadly conceived ethnicity. As for antagonisms, they were often less contingent upon origin than upon other variables. Finally, the fourth chapter addresses the extent to which public institutions played a role in the construction of difference, and how in turn the buildings' inhabitants negotiated, co-defined, or altered the dynamics of national identification.
Supervisor: Tombs, Robert Sponsor: AHRC ; Gates Cambridge Scholarship
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Migration ; France ; Ethnicity ; Plaine-Saint-Denis ; Interethnic ; Paris ; Naturalisation ; Microhistory ; Banlieue ; Immigration ; Great War