North African Women in France: Gender, Culture, and Identity

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In recent decades more Algerian, Moroccan, and Tunisian women have immigrated to France than men, yet despite their increasing numbers first generation immigrant women are rarely the focus of research. In this sociological study, Caitlin Killian examines how Muslim women construct and manage their identities in the midst of a foreign culture-what they hold on to from their countries of origin and what they decide to embrace in France, why some immigrant women cope better with challenges in their new country than others, and how they raise children who will one day be French. She demonstrates that these women engage in selective acculturation and highlights their ability to resist labels that do not fit with their self perceptions. These findings point to the flexibility of personal identity, even among visible minorities whose self-identification choices were previously thought to be highly constrained.