10 March 2011

Defining Citizenship in Kanaky / New Caledonia

by Nic Maclellan

In October 2009, the French government launched a ‘grand debate on national identity’. Through the Ministry of Immigration and National Identity, the government set up a website asking ‘For you, what does it mean to be French?’

This initiative sought community perspectives on citizenship in an age of globalisation and migration into Europe from Africa, the Maghreb and Mashreq. It also came at a time when France, Belgium and Switzerland were engaged in debates over Islam and the banning of the burqa, hijab and mosque minarets.

But this debate over nationality, identity and citizenship also raises significant issues for people living in France’s overseas dependencies.

What does citizenship mean for people in the Pacific islands colonised by France—New Caledonia, Wallis and Futuna and French Polynesia?

Preminent expert on Pacific Affairs Nic Maclellan examined these key issues in a discussion paper in the journal "State Society and Governance in Melanisia" of  the School of International, Political and Strategic Studies of the the Australian National University. 

The full article is highly informative, and can be read at the website of the journal.