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Nationalism through National Identity Narratives in Refugee/migrant Crisis: a Comparative Study of French Mainstream Left and Right

Dong TU

The current refugee/migrant crisis has triggered a renewed discussion of national identity and a strong manifestation of nationalism in Europe. Mainstream parties are largely challenged by radical parties which have seen their strength on the rise by taking advantage of the refugee/migrant crisis in West Europe. In contrast with the radical nationalism held by radical parties, mainstream parties generally resort to a different mode of nationalist expressions in both content and degree of nationalism. How is national-identity-laden nationalism demonstrated in similar or different ways among the mainstream left/right parties? To provide answer to this big question, it is necessary to write three more question marks: What are the counteractions of mainstream parties in response to this challenge posed by radical parties on refugee/migrant issue? What do they require the authorities at both European and national levels to do to cope with the crisis? Is the gap between the conventional stances of left and right mainstream parties on migration issue still holding valid? This paper endeavors to answer these questions by taking French left Parti Socialiste (PS) and French right Les Républicains (LR) as two cases. A new definition of state nationalism, as compared to sub-state nationalism, will be formulated in order to better situate this concept in European context. This paper is mainly a thick description and comparative analysis. The data used here have the following sources: debates in both European parliament and French national parliament, publicized documents on refugee/migrant issues, public speech by party representatives.

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