Police Abuse and the Racialized Boundaries of Citizenship in France

  • Cathy Lisa Schneider


Cathy Lisa Schneider argues that police abuse defines the racial boundaries of democratic citizenship. Using ethnographic methods, she reveals how French police treat black and Arab youth, including those born in France, as if they were a foreign enemy. This practice is a legacy of France’s colonial empire, particularly, colonial rule in Algeria. Despite efforts to reform the police in the 1990s, most black and Arab youth continue to live in segregated neighborhoods virtually occupied by police. Because police are not held accountable when they abuse minority youth, minority youth feel that their lives do not matter in France. It is this that explains the periodic eruption of riots, as well as more deadly incidents of violence in black and Arab neighborhoods in France.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cathy Lisa Schneider
    • 1
  1. 1.School of International ServiceAmerican UniversityWashington, DCUSA

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