The Social Determinants of Ethnoracial Classification in France
Presented by :Haley McAvay & Patrick Simon (Ined) ; Discussant: Mirna Safi (OSC-Sciences Po)
In research on race/ethnicity, France stands out due to its color-blind, assimilationist model that restricts the use of ethno-racial categories in data collection. This paper draws on a nationally-representative survey including rare questions on race/ethnicity to explore the patterns and determinants of identifying with, refusing, or feeling assigned to these categories across French respondents of native and migrant background. Using measures of both self-identified and reflected race, we aim to answer three questions: Which groups refuse to identify with ethno-racial categories? Is there a discrepancy between how people identify in ethno-racial terms and how they think they are perceived? And finally, how do measures of inequality in socio-economic outcomes vary by race/ethnicity within similar national origin groups? The findings highlight a broad consensus among respondents that ethno-racial assignation exists, but nearly one in five refuse to appropriate these categories as identities. Respondents of North African origin show a particular resistance to ethno-racial identification, yet experience a strong degree of racialization by others. Finally, we find that respondents who believe they are perceived as non-white are more likely to experience socio-economic disadvantage and discrimination, regardless of how they self-identify and independently of their national origin.
Haley McAvay is a researcher at the Institut national d’études démographiques working on socio-spatial mobility, residential segregation, neighborhood effects, discrimination and ethnoracial categorization.