Self-Identification in a Spanish barrio and a French banlieue: The Case of North African Second Generations

Cecilia Eseverri-Mayer


This comparative and qualitative research examines the types of ethnic, racial, religious, and social identification that North-African second generations adopted in a banlieue of Paris and a peripheral barrio of Madrid. Four types of self-identification were detected in the neighborhood of Les Bosquets (Paris) and three in the neighborhood of San Cristobal (Madrid). In Les Bosquets, isolation, Islamophobia and the relationships with the police give rise to a "reactive ethnicity"; a new conservative Islam gains many followers ("Muslim self-identification"); race appears for the first time as an element of self-identification ("indigenous self-identification”) and secularism has waned (“laïc self-identification”). In San Cristóbal, a significant share still feels like immigrants (“immigrant identification”); a new Spanish-Muslim generation (“hybrid self-identification”) is born, and the most vulnerable youth adopt a conservative Islam while simultaneously developing a sense of “neighborhood pride” and identification with the working class (“neighborhood identification”).


Islam, Islamophobia, North African background, second generations, segregated neighborhoods, self-identification.

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