Assessing French Expatriates Attitudes. Common Meanings Versus Complexity of Situations in Casablanca and London

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 8:15 PM
Room: Booth 51
Oral Presentation
Sylvain BECK , GEMASS - Sociology, University of Paris 4-Sorbonne, Paris, France
This presentation proposes a multi-scale and multi-level analysis about 'expatriates' from a multi-sited ethnographic research and semi-structured interviews among French teachers in Casablanca and London. The situations of French teachers abroad are particularly interesting to grasp the complex meanings of what are empirically French 'expatriate' attitudes. The reality appears at three interrelated scales: individual, institutional, and socio-historical.

Firstly, the attitudes and the feeling of belonging appear connected with the imperialist function of teaching French language or following French programs. Thus, individuals are face of their cooperation with the French imperialistic mission, more or less aware of it, and dealing with this position. Individually, the forms of acculturation or tensions with hosting society are reflected by professional status, that are more often influenced before the departure itself, and closely related with the backgrounds and the representations of traveling. Secondly, extracting the individual experiences from structural differences in both places, it appears two main differences following employment institutions. On one hand, the professional status, especially for those practicing within the French schools abroad (that are under French administrative supervision) emphasizes strong differences: economical conditions, responsibilities, social status, subjective space-time definition, and consequently, various everyday lives at local, national and transnational scales. On the other hand, others conditions, status, and everyday lives are provided by the status of the school, especially for those practicing in local schools, private or public. Thirdly, the position of individuals in local and global social structures is nearly related with socio-historical national backgrounds, historical international relations and current global competition.

In this view, how considering French people as 'expatriate' or 'migrants'? Which reality are those words' meanings reflecting? In depth, this presentation suggests empirical data to highlighting the semantic distinction usually made by French people themselves among people into motion in the field of international migration.