2005 French Riots: Immigrants and Political Perspective

Paper Info
Page count 8
Word count 2206
Read time 8 min
Topic Government
Type Dissertation
Language 🇬🇧 UK

In October 2005, two youths “were electrocuted and died as the fled the police in Clichy-sous-Bois” (Koff and Duprez 715). The two French citizens were of Tunisian and Malian descent. Their unexpected deaths ignited almost three weeks of unrest in over 270 towns in different parts of France. Majority of the restless individuals were teenagers from different suburbs. Most of the protesters had been working in housing projects. The riots resulted in damages amounting to over €200 million (Vladescu 2). The riots led to massive destruction of buildings, learning institutions, and cars. One person died during the period while 126 policemen and firefighters sustained injuries (Vladescu 2). As a result, the police managed to arrest around 2900 protesters during the period (Koff and Duprez 717). The government used a wide range of tactics to deal with every form of urban violence. However, the outstanding fact is that the riots had far-reaching social, economic, and political implications.

Reasons for the Riots in France

Past studies have focused on the underlying issues and probable causes of the 2005 French riots. For instance, Buatte (3) observed that a number of forces led to these protests. The riots emerged after two immigrants in the country had died. Studies indicated clearly that majority of the rioters were second-generation immigrants from different countries. Buatte (4) observes that such individuals were requesting the government to focus on a wide range of issues that affected their welfare. For instance, they wanted the government to address critical issues such as social and economic exclusion in the country. According to the immigrants, many individuals from different races were facing numerous hardships in the country. These authors indicate clearly that many second-generation immigrants in the country still believe that the government has not been ready to promote social integration.

A study by Koff and Duprez (721) indicated that the riots were spurred by the inadequate measures used to address the issues of racism and exclusion. Such issues have affected the country’s suburbs for decades. The protests witnessed in the country indicated that more immigrants wanted the country to establish inclusive societies. Unfortunately, the government had failed to convoke different commissions to study and deal with the social problems affecting different suburbs in the country (Buatte 5).

Various theories have been used to explore the origins and extensive implications of the 2005 French riots. For instance, social protest is a powerful framework that seeks to examine the nature of changes and conflicts experienced in a society. Proponents of the model have focused on different protests and social movements to understand the major challenges affecting the people. Buatte (6) used this framework to offer a detailed analysis of these riots. The French riots portrayed the interests and expectations of many people living in working-class suburbs across Paris (Waddington, Jobard and King 3). These individuals wanted the government to address the collective needs of their respective societies. They also wanted the government to tackle most of the economic, social, and racial issues affecting many low-class immigrants.

Immigrants Perspective

Vladescu believes that “the events of 2005 can be used to offer long-lasting perspectives without necessary looking at the protests themselves” (5). The autumn 2005 unrest was a historical event that revealed the social and structural problems affecting the French (and European) society. This is the case because similar copycats were recorded in other countries such Germany, the Netherlands, and Belgium. The author argues that the continent was grappling with similar structural problems.

Koff and Duprez present differing views to describe these riots (719). According to different sociologists, the causes of the protests were political and social in nature. The author also believed strongly that such unrests had nothing to do with religious or ethnic forces. The author refutes the argument that the government had failed to integrate more immigrants into the country’s social structure (Koff and Duprez 725). The sociologist argues that the uprising was as a result of social, economic, and spatial inequalities associated with various post-industrial policies. The author goes further to “present the concept of ghettoisation in an attempt to characterise various working class neighbours in the country” (Koff and Duprez 726).

Some experts have believed strongly that the unrest was fuelled by a wide range of unaddressed issues associated with immigration. Many immigrants in the country believed that the government had for years embraced inappropriate practices that sidelined many foreigners. Buatte (5) argues that France has for decades whitewashed various signs of racism, inequality, classism, and xenophobia. Individuals from specific neighbourhoods and suburbs encounter numerous challenges simply because they are foreigners. Additionally, more immigrants strongly believe that the inequalities and injustices practiced in the country might have futile consequences in the future.

According to Vladescu, the 2005 riots in France portrayed a nationwide rebellion staged by many youths who had been affected by different economic and social practices in the society (4). For instance, many individuals believed that the government had ignored the welfare of the immigrant youths living in various neighbourhoods. They had been ignored and instead forced to live in ghettos. As well, the youths were unhappy with the government for promoting hatred and inequality in different suburbs. That being the case, the protests were a sign of rebellion against the inappropriate social functions faced in the country.

Political Perspective

On the other hand, politicians presented their explanations in an attempt to describe the possible causes of the riots. For instance, many politicians argued that “the destruction and violence encountered in the country were provoked by Islamic fundamentalist extremists” (Koff and Duprez 726). The observers also indicated that many polygamous Muslims occupying various banlieues in the country were responsible for the unrests (Koning 31). The political issues and developments experienced in different parts of the continent encouraged more youths to engage in such protests. This argument indicates clearly that numerous political explanations have been presented by different leaders. Many youths were unhappy with the inadequate practices and strategies embraced by the government to address the social and economic issues affecting them (Koff and Duprez 723).

The political class has focused on the government’s inability to incorporate ethnic diversity and equality. The country has failed to embrace the power of the assimilatory model to establish successful societies. This failure explains why many immigrants have not been accepted as equal citizens in the society (Waddington and King 248). It is agreeable that such immigrants get the required nationality and citizenship. However, the immigrants do not enjoy the liberties availed to the other citizens.

Many French politicians believe that new studies are needed in order to identify the leading causes of such protests. Such leaders argue that such political forces can affect the experiences and opportunities of many immigrants. A proper understanding of the social backgrounds and conditions of the rioters can be a proper strategy towards minimising such unrests (Waddington et al. 6). As well, the authoritative roles played by different media houses and law enforcers should be carefully analysed in order to understand the nature of such riots. The concepts of ethnicity and race should therefore be carefully studied in the future. This knowledge can ensure similar unrests are addressed.

Problems Addressed by the Riots

Studies have been done to examine some of the problems addressed by the 2005 riots. Social protest theory is widely associated with media influence. Protests tend to attract the best publicity because the influences of different media houses. The riots were widely covered by the media thus resulting in a sudden debate. The debate became a new forum to have some of the challenges affecting the immigrants addressed. To begin with, the protesters managed to inform the wider public and the world about the malpractices that had been promoted by the government. It was observed that “the French society had always ignored the rights of many immigrants and second-class citizens” (Waddington and King 249). Symptoms of xenophobia and racism had also been practiced in the country for decades. Many immigrants and individuals from the Arab world were also finding it impossible to get new jobs.

The protests informed more people about these issues affecting the country. In 2006, new protests were recorded in central Paris and other towns in the country. Many youths were protesting against the First Employment Contract Act. The restless youths observed that the “new law was aimed at compromising job security and ignoring the rights of many French workers” (Waddington and King 251). These protests indicated clearly that more people in the country had become aware of the malpractices and inappropriate policies embraced by the French government. This description shows clearly that the French government has been using double standards to address the issues affecting its people (Waddington and King 253).

The aftermath of the 2005 riots indicated clearly that more people and politicians had become aware of the challenges affecting many individuals in the country. Waddington and King (248) argue that the government revoked the First Employment Contract law simply because it affected the welfare of many French people. On the other hand, the government did not take any significant strategy to address the grievances fueling the 2005 protests. Experts argue that the government failed to embrace the best policies and actions in an attempt to address the issue of racism (Waddington and King 252). Social exclusion had also become a major concern because many immigrants were unable to achieve their goals.

The government also failed to compose a commission to examine the leading causes of the conflict. The move would have presented desirable solutions to address the major issues affecting many immigrants in the country. The main achievement of these protests was to expose the social problems affecting many suburbs in France (Waddington and King 248). The government failed to engage the immigrants in an attempt to address the problems facing them. The civil unrest outlined a wide range of issues that had been ignored by the government. Experts have strongly argued that such a move might have numerous consequences in the future. Koning advises the government “to formulate powerful policies to address the social issues revealed by the 2005 riots” (30).

Position of the Media

Different media houses presented their views during and after the period. The social protest framework can be used to describe the response of the media towards the issue. For instance, many journalists believed strongly that the riots could be treated as payback for the racism that has dominated the French society for centuries. This means that many journalists and media houses supported the welfare of different immigrants in the country. Waddington and King observed that “the media supported the welfare of the minority groups because they had been denied the best place in the inner city” (253). The immigrants had become victims of torture. The law enforcers were always ready to chase and arrest every immigrant in the inner city. The government was no longer concerned about the welfare of these immigrants and their children. The French government had also failed to address the educational needs of such immigrants.

Koning describes how “the BBC was aware of the negative perceptions populated by many French citizens against such immigrants and Muslims” (31). The media house indicated clearly that the society had always alienated many Muslims in the country for many years. The malpractice was therefore seen as a major catalyst of these riots. Many immigrants from North America and Muslims had been forced to live in different suburbs. The move made it impossible for the individuals to realise their potentials. This malpractice continues to increase levels of alienation and dissatisfaction.

Some media houses used the social protest theoretical framework to describe the possible causes of the 2005 riots. According to different analysts and scholars, the media was in favour of the immigrants during the period (Vladescu 6). Both international and local media houses encouraged the government to address most of the challenges affecting different French immigrants. The best practice is to implement new practices that have the potential to empower every person in the country.

Gaps in Research and Relevance of the Proposed Study

Past research studies have identified the political, social, and economic issues associated with the 2005 French riots. Different researchers have outlined the major goals associated with the unrests. Such studies have also explained how he riots exposed most of the problems and social issues that had faced the French society for decades. The government’s failure to identify new policies in an attempt to deal with such problems is something that can have sweeping implications in the future (Vladescu 13). However, past studies have failed to present various theoretical frameworks that can be used to analyse the civil unrest.

The proposed study will therefore examine the ideas and concepts obtained from past research findings. The study will also offer new thoughts and lenses that can be used to address the challenges faced by many immigrants in Europe (Waddington et al. 11). The study will also address the gaps in current research and offer new insights into the matter. The completed study will add new ideas and expand the current literature on the targeted topic. Such findings will present timely concepts and ideas that can be used to address the problems facing many French citizens in different suburbs.

Works Cited

Buatte, Trent 2010, Space, Race, and the City: How Marseille, France Escaped the 2005 Riots. PDF file. Web.

Koff, Harlan and Dominique Duprez. “The 2005 Riots in France: The International Impact of Domestic Violence.” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 35.5 (2009): 713-730. Print.

Koning, Martin. “Islamisation of the French Riots.” ISIM Review 17.1 (2006): 30-31. Print.

Vladescu, Eloisa. “The Assimilation of Immigrant Groups in France: Myth or Reality.” Jean Monnet/Robert Schuman Paper Series 5.39 (2006): 1-24. Print.

Waddington, Dave, Fabien Jobard and Mike King. “Introduction and Overview: the British and French Riots.” HAL 1.1 (2009): 1-12. Print.

Waddington, David and Mike King. “Identifying Common Causes of UK and French Riots Occurring Since the 1980s.” The Howard Journal of Criminal Justice 48.3 (2009): 245-256. Print.

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EssaysInCollege. (2022, May 24). 2005 French Riots: Immigrants and Political Perspective. Retrieved from https://essaysincollege.com/2005-french-riots-immigrants-and-political-perspective/


EssaysInCollege. (2022, May 24). 2005 French Riots: Immigrants and Political Perspective. https://essaysincollege.com/2005-french-riots-immigrants-and-political-perspective/

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"2005 French Riots: Immigrants and Political Perspective." EssaysInCollege, 24 May 2022, essaysincollege.com/2005-french-riots-immigrants-and-political-perspective/.


EssaysInCollege. (2022) '2005 French Riots: Immigrants and Political Perspective'. 24 May.


EssaysInCollege. 2022. "2005 French Riots: Immigrants and Political Perspective." May 24, 2022. https://essaysincollege.com/2005-french-riots-immigrants-and-political-perspective/.

1. EssaysInCollege. "2005 French Riots: Immigrants and Political Perspective." May 24, 2022. https://essaysincollege.com/2005-french-riots-immigrants-and-political-perspective/.


EssaysInCollege. "2005 French Riots: Immigrants and Political Perspective." May 24, 2022. https://essaysincollege.com/2005-french-riots-immigrants-and-political-perspective/.