Over the past four decades immigration to France from the Francophone countries of North Africa (Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia) has changed in character. For much of the twentieth century, migrants who crossed the Mediterranean to France were men seeking work, who frequently undertook manual labour, working long hours in difficult conditions. Recent decades have seen an increase in family reunification - the arrival of women and children from North Africa, either accompanying their husbands or joining them in France. Contemporary creative representations of migration are shaped by this shift in gender and generation from a solitary, mostly male experience to one that included women and children. Just as the shift made new demands of the 'host' society, it made new demands of authors and filmmakers as they seek to represent migration. This study reveals how text and film present new ways of thinking about migration, moving away from the configuration of the migrant as man and worker, to take into account women, children, and the ties between.
Isabel Hollis-Touré is a Research Fellow at Queen's University Belfast. She has published widely on North African migration to France.