This article explores the role played by the Musée de l’histoire de l’immigration (MHI) in the broader political debates relating to collective memories of immigration in France. The discussion focuses on the ways in which the MHI, as both a national institution and a civil society network, engages with diverse publics from Paris, the Ile-de-France banlieues (suburbs) and other French regions which have historically been the site of significant migrant settlement. The main question underpinning the article’s discussion is as follows: how and to what extent is a ‘dialogic’ and ‘polyvocal’ approach to the history of immigration in France reflected in the networks and partnerships which the institution fosters with diverse and urban populations? After providing a brief historical introduction to how the MHI came to be established, the article then focuses on one of the ways in which the MHI has recently sought greater visibility via a high-profile publicity campaign in the summer of 2013. The third part of the article discusses the different ways in which the MHI seeks to move beyond a centre-margin paradigm within its own museological practice, whilst at the same time remaining constrained by the very centre-margin paradigm it otherwise seeks to displace.
- Musée de l’histoire de l’immigration
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- School of Language, Literature, Music & Visual Culture, French - Personal Chair