Between Political Failure and Cultural Identity: The Emergence of the ‘Beur Movement’ in France in the 1980s

  • Didier Chabanet
Part of the Palgrave Studies in the History of Social Movements book series (PSHSM)


In the early 1980s, France witnessed the rise of the so-called Beur Movement, which mainly mobilized migrant youths from the metropolitan suburbs (banlieues). The term ‘beur’ comes from verlan, a form of French slang that inverts the syllables within words. The word arabeu (Arabian) is thus changed into beu-ra-a and subsequently shortened to beur. The Beur Movement emerged at a time of rising unemployment and political strife — a period in which the left came to power, while at the same time the extreme-right party, Front National (FN), grew to become a national political force. It was within this overall context that the integration of young immigrants became salient, particularly within the most deprived suburbs.


Cultural Identity Social Housing Visible Minority Immigrant Youth Socialist Party 
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© Didier Chabanet 2016

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  • Didier Chabanet

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