Monday, October 4, 2010

Reflection (Week #6)

At the end of our discussion last class, the question of when marginalized groups become dangerous to the stability of a state was brought up. A state's center of power becomes threatened by the marginalized when that marginalized population exhibits three distinct attributes: organization, lack of political access, and legitimacy in the eyes of a politically or economically powerful group, government, or icon. This phenomenon can be seen in the marginalized Islamic population of France.

Recently, the French state's security has been threatened by the Muslim population that the French attempted to push to the side of society. Although the marginalization of the French Islamic population is not a current development, recently they have become increasingly supported by the United States, in a US diplomatic effort to prevent the transformation of French “banlieues” into incubators for religious extremism. This recent diplomatic effort has in fact resulted in the opposite of the desired effect. The United States gave the Muslim French populations legitimacy, while at the same time the French were conducting systematic expulsions of certain minorities. The US respect given to this marginalized population allowed them to gain internal support and organize that support into recent opposition to the French rejection of Islamic culture in the forms of violent threats as well as political protests. Although the marginalized French Muslims exhibited both organization and political oppression, they did not become a threat to the stability of the French government until the United States provided the opportunity to claim support from a politically and economically powerful entity. Therefore, a state's center of political power is only threatened when a marginalized group is able to gain the support of an outside power to supplement its existing organization of political unrest within the group.

Further Reading:
"Feeling Slighted by France, and Respected by U.S."

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