Honors Theses

Date of Award


Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis


Croft Institute for International Studies

First Advisor

Olivier Tonnerre

Relational Format



The French state's colorblind policy prescription is the base of a contentious, current debate over whether or not the government should acknowledge ethnic and racial components of its citizens and collect such data from minority groups. An increasingly colorful population presents new questions to the framework of French identity, legally blind to ethnicity, and tests the durability of the French model. Has the role of ethnic identity in France become a legitimate political concern under President Hollande's administration despite legislation that outlaws ethnic data collection? Is the illegality of ethnic statistics detrimental to combatting discrimination and social fragmentation in France? Could the potential achievement of social stability outweigh the costs of straying from French values of a colorblind State? This thesis examines the support for and against the official collection of ethnic and racial statistics through the census, and considers why the need for discussion of multicultural identities has become imperative to maintaining social stability in the French Republic. In addition, this thesis questions if and how the practice of ignoring such data as a component of identity has been consequently detrimental to the formulation of public policies aimed at discouraging discriminatory practices and protecting the status of racially and ethnically diverse citizens in France. The issue of ethnicity has been embodied by current political discourse in President Hollande's government, galvanizing an urgent call-to-arms to combat ethnic discrimination and social fragmentation.


A thesis presented in partial fulfillment of the requirements for completion of the Bachelor of Arts degree in International Studies from the Croft Institute for International Studies and the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College.

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