Political Participation of Asian Migrants and their Descendants in France (PolAsia 2020-2023)

Scientific Manager

- Hélène Le Bail, chargée de recherche, CNRS, CERI Sciences Po, IC Migrations (general coordination, coordination axis 1)
- Aurore Merle, maîtresse de conférence, Université de Cergy-Pontoise - AGORA (coordination axis 2)
- Vincent Tiberj, Professeur, Sciences Po Bordeaux, Centre Emile Durkheim, IC Migrations (coordination axis 3)

Other members:

- Ya-Han Chuang, post-doctorante, Ined, IC Migrations Integer
- Laura Morales, Professeur, CEE - Sciences Po Paris, IC Migrations Integer
- Patrick Simon, Directeur de recherche, Ined, IC Migrations Integer
- Lun Zhang, Professeur, Université de Cergy-Pontoise - AGORA

About

The PolAsie project plans to investigate the specificity of French Asians’ political participation through different domains (voting practices, participation in political campaigns, trajectories of Asian elected representatives, political mobilisations and collective action at local level, etc). It also aims at analysing these political practices by evaluating the processes of political socialisation before migration, after migration and within the diasporic groups. 

The research project will pay close attention to the generation differences. It is notable that the most vocal citizens belong to the first generations of descendants who are between 25 and 35 years old) and may be compared to the 1980s “mouvement beur” who were descendants of North African migrants. It will also focus on the impact of the collective mobilisation since 2010 and the diffusion of new patterns of collective action. Finally, the attention paid to socializing processes will interrogate the continuity between the country of origin and the country of residence, and the influence of diasporic transnational social spaces. In other words, PolAsie aims to explore the three-following hypotheses:

The Asian population in France, migrants and their descendants, is undergoing a generation turn which is transforming its political participation and its sense of belonging (both as French and Asian).

Recent collective actions by Asians in France against violence and discrimination are fostering more classical forms of political participation at local and national levels (participation in local councils, voting practices, party’s membership and participation in political campaigns, etc.)

As a material and symbolic resources, the Chinese (and more generally the Asian) growing economic power and its strategy to promote an alternate model to liberal democracies plays a role in the immigrants’ process of political socialisation. However, these experiences do not exclude other forms of learning and adherence to citizens’ practices observed in the country of residence.

To explore these hypotheses, the project is organised around three objectives that will be researched by a team composed of specialists in the study of political participation (political sciences, sociology and demography), of migration (political science and sociology) and of Chinese society (sociology):

1. The elected representatives with Asian migration background. The study of voting practices and political careers will document the reality of a “vote communautaire”, of community political adherence. It will also interrogate the role of elected representatives and whether they contribute to provide a substantive representation for this minority group (les élus de la diversité).

2. Local citizenship and diversity policies. This strand of research will document local and grassroots forms of collective action with a special focus on recent examples of violence targeting Asians. It will explore initiatives of dialogue, cooperation and confrontation with local authorities as well as within the Asian communities (solidarity and competition among organisations, social, generational and gender divisions). It will also pay attention to potential diplomatic interventions from countries of origin and their acceptation by diasporic groups.

3. Political cultures and political socialisation: pre and post-migration. The project will study the forms of adherence to political systems (from liberal democracies to authoritarian regimes) taking into account complex process of political socialisation: in the country of origin before migration, in the country of residence after migration, as well as within the diasporic networks.

The team is composed of sociologists, demographers and political scientists. It is built on the complementarity between researchers specialised in Asian migrations and mobilisation and researchers specialised in discrimination and political participation in France. Five of the researchers are fellows of the Institut Convergence des migrations which is co-funding the axes 1 and 3.

Type of project
ANR
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