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From Empire to ExileHistory and Memory Within the Pied-Noir and Harki Communities, 1962-2012$
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Claire Eldridge

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780719087233

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719087233.001.0001

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Creating an identity

Creating an identity

(p.101) 3 Creating an identity
From Empire to Exile

Claire Eldridge

Manchester University Press

This chapter traces the expansion of pied-noir activism in the 1970s and 1980s. Utilising a particular visual and rhetorical grammar, associations defined and defended the existence of a specific community structured around a set of shared narratives about the past. Although often dismissed as ‘nostalgérie’, thecultural output of associations during the period is valuable because it reveals the strategic choices being made by activists concerning what they wished to emphasise or obscure as they sought to consolidate a shared historical lexicon. By establishing a ‘commemorative calendar’, associationsalso ensured that disparate pieds-noirs were provided with a stable set of dates and event through which to reaffirm their historical and cultural roots and to feel part of a community. Complementing these efforts were attempts to physically anchor the pieds-noirs in France by erecting physical monumentsand even building a pied-noir town in Carnoux-en-Provence. The vision of the past formulated across these different spaces is central to understanding pied-noir behaviour in the postcolonial period.

Keywords:   Memory, Pieds-noirs, Associations, Social memory, Monuments, Carnoux-en-Provence, Nostalgérie

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