xx | Introduction size of population) are Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lille, Nice, Nantes, Stras- bourg, Rennes, Grenoble, Rouen, Toulon, and Montpellier. The French are connoisseurs of their regional and local diversity. There is no good reason why the same positive attitude shouldn’t apply to its racial, ethnic, and reli- gious diversity, which is the product of immigration. Accepted or not, the fact remains that France is a melting pot. There are close to 6 million immigrants (including both foreign-born naturalized citizens and noncitizen foreign-born residents) presently living in France—close to 9% of the population. If one goes back three generations, 40% of the population of France can be considered, at least partially, as products of immigration—a statistic known to demographers and sociologists but not yet fully part of common perception. While much of this diversity is connected to “postcolo- nial” immigration (i.e., the influx of workers from France’s former colonies and, later, their families) in the 1950s, 60s, 70s, and 80s, the modern history of immigration in France reaches back to the nineteenth century and includes people from a wide range of countries. In descending order, the largest contingents of immigrants come from Algeria, sub-Saharan Africa (e.g., Mauritania, Senegal, Mali, Niger, Guinea, Côte d’Ivoire, Cameroon, Republic of Congo, Comoros, Madagascar), Morocco, Portugal, Italy, Spain, Turkey, Tunisia, and Southeast Asia (e.g., Vietnam). Eastern Europe and other parts of Asia (e.g., China) are also important sources of immigrants. Because of the prominence of immigrants from the Maghreb and sub-Saharan Africa, Islam is now the second leading religion in France after Roman Catholicism, counting between 4.5 and 5.5 million adherents (7.5%–8.0% of the population). France not only has the largest Muslim community in the EU but the largest Jewish one as well. The purpose of this volume is to offer a current and encyclopedic survey of modern France that adheres to the general parameters of the Understanding Modern Nations series. Although special emphasis will be on France today—a complex, diverse, chang- ing, and innovative nation that contradicts old reductive stereotypes and romantic clichés—a considerable amount of attention will nonetheless be devoted to situating the topics treated in a historical context. This approach extends to the concept of “modernity” itself since it will also consider the historical development of a French paradigm of modernity—one that is characteristically associated with the French Revolution, the Republic, industrial society, the twentieth century, and modernism— and then endeavor to explore how contemporary/present-day France (postcolonial, postindustrial, and postmodern) both continues to adhere to and departs from this French paradigm of modernity and its various social, economic, political, and cul- tural corollaries. Certain caveats about this volume’s intended “encyclopedic” scope and “current” quality are to be kept in mind. First, the choice of topics covered is based on the personal criteria of the author. The reader should therefore bear in mind that different, equally justifiable choices could have been made that would have resulted in a somewhat different version of “Modern France” emerging from these pages. Second, while a concerted effort has been made to base this volume on the most current and accurate information available, France is a nation in flux—realities can be measured in different ways and statistics are constantly changing. In other words, this book is a snapshot. France has already changed since the time of its research, writing,
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