"Yesterday's Colonization and Today's Immigration": an Intellectual Biography of Abdelmalek Sayad, 1957-1998
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This thesis traces the development of Algerian sociologist Abdelmalek Sayad’s ideas pertaining to Algerian immigration in France in the postcolonial period. I show that Sayad must be understood as more than simply an accomplished scholar; he must also be seen as a scientific intellectual operating within a particular historical moment. Sayad’s writings on the migrant condition are, I argue, a sociological analysis of Algerian immigrants’ existential dilemma that is rooted in a loss of sense of belonging and a feeling of being oppressed by state power and dominant members of French society. In addition, Sayad’s radical critique of the nation-state operated both as an explanation of Algerians’ sense of liminality as well as his attempt to recast the narrative of Algerian immigration in France as a form of neocolonialism. Sayad’s sociological work was not purely academic; it was impassioned and, at times, imbued with the language of a moral voice.