Integration by contract and the ‘values of the Republic’
This chapter deals with ‘integration contracts’ developed in France since 2003 with a view to promoting the ‘values of the Republic’ among newcomers eligible for residence permits, whether they be migrants or refugees. Based on a field survey of two of these programs (CAI and CAIF), our analysis focuses on how morally and/or culturally ‘thick’ is the value-based conception of integration expressed through these programs. After describing the European context of ‘civic turn’ and the French background of civic anxiety behind their implementation, the chapter explores how the ‘values of the Republic’ are publicly articulated and concretely inculcated to foreigners. Then, we clarify the tensions that emerge from the mandatory respect for the values declared to be genuinely ‘ours,’ thus going beyond the vagueness of the ‘republican values’ discourse. Finally, we examine whether this French politics of common values may – just like their European counterparts – lead to the twofold danger that the majority identity becomes homogenized and ‘others’ excluded.