Britain and France have developed substantially different policies to manage racial tensions since the 1960s, in spite of having similar numbers of post-war ethnic minority immigrants. Providing the first detailed historical exploration of racial policy development in the two countries, this study traces the sources of Britain's race relations structures and France's anti-racism approach. Erik Bleich argues against the accepted beliefs that attribute policy outcomes to the role of powerful interest groups or to the constraints of existing institutions.
1. Introduction; 2. Perspectives on comparative public policymaking: the place of frames; 3. The birth of British race institutions: 1945 to the 1965 race relations act; 4. Round two: 1965 to the 1968 race relations Act; 5. From 1968 to the 1976 race relations act and beyond; 6. The origins of French anti-racism institutions: 1945 to the 1972 law; 7. The struggle continued: anti-racism from 1972 to the 1990 Gayssot law and beyond; 8. Race frames and race policymaking in Britain and France; 9. Race, racism and integration in Europe: recent developments, options and trade-offs.
"Erik Bleich offers a powerful account of the politics of race in France and Britain. He explains why the French have tried to downplay or eliminate race from politics and public policy, whereas the British, following a more 'Anglo-Saxon' path, have not hesitated to use color and racial categories as a way to combat racism and discrimination. This book is a 'must read' for anyone interested in how democratic societies deal with diversity, racism, and discrimination."
-James Hollifield, Southern Methodist University
"Bleich's work distinguished itself as the finest book on race in France and the United Kingdom. As a case study of either country, it would stand among a handful of the best single-country studies. As a comparative study, it is unmatched. Bleich asks why the United Kingdom and France, despite a common experience of empire and decolonisation, a similar post-war immigration and identical problems of integration, have adopted race relations policies that differ in timing, mechanisms, ambition and scope. The answer is innovative, and it represents a substantial advance of in our understanding of race, race-conscious policies and the ideational frames shaping them."
-Randall Hansen, Oxford University
"This is an engaging, well-written and informed book that challenges many of the stylized 'facts' concerning the historical origins of race-related policies in Britain and France. Generously drawing upon, but intellectually departing from, the foundational research of earlier scholars of race and immigration-related politics, including Freeman, Katznelson, Layton-Henry, and Withol de Wenden, Bleich makes a strong case for employing race frames as a paradigmatic lens through which we can best understand the historical evolution of race policies in Britain and France, why the policy differences between the two cases, as well as the reasons for these differences. Race Policies in Britain and France is a must read for adherents as well as skeptics of the thesis that ideas significantly matter for public policymaking."
-Anthony M. Messina, University of Notre Dame
"Bleich's analysis is historically rich and the book is a worthwhile addition to the literature in Comparative Politics. This book is particularly useful for those who are interested in issues such as immigration, integration and comparative race politics."
-Terri Givens, University of Texas at Austin, Journal of International Migration and Integration
"Bleich has written an important book that should be read by all students of comparative policy making or of ideas and institutions, whatever their disciplinary affiliation or whether or not they study race politics. Likewise, it should be read by all scholars of race and antidiscrimination, whatever their discipline and whether or not their explicit foci are comparative or not."
-Robin Stryker, University of Minnesota, American Journal of Sociology