The perception of Islam by political parties: a comparative analysis of the rhetorical and perceptive schemes used in Australia and France
thesisposted on 28.03.2022, 17:58 by Marc-Olivier Del Grosso
The perception of Islam in France and Australia revolves around two very different socio-historical contexts, which produced differentiated systems of constraints and resources for political parties. The structuring dynamics of these contexts are both endogenous and exogenous. The endogenous ones include the migratory history and the specific conditions of settlement of Muslim populations in both countries. The exogenous dynamics ensue from the public authorities' management and, more generally, from an idiosyncratic and historically constructed relationship between the state and religions, citizenship and the integration of minorities. The combining of these processes has fostered the emergence of two modalities of visibility of Islam at the turn of the 1980s and 1990s, with a strong religious component in France and a noteworthy ethnic component in Australia. Their expression may be found in the respective debates on laïcité and multiculturalism. The placing on the agenda of the "questionof Islam" and the issue ownership competitions by political parties are inseparable from these systems of constraints which mark out the boundaries of the thinkable and the possible of discourses as well as logics of action. In analysing Islam under this multidimensional prism, this thesis serves three purposes: an epistemological one, a methodological one and a heuristic one. From a theoretical point ofview, it shows that the perception of Islam by political parties epitomises the necessity of articulating structural overdetermination processes and modalities of objectivation in the sociological approach. In practical terms, this involves exploring new ways to triangulate qualitative and quantitative tools for combining microsociological, mesosociological and macrosociological dimensions, as well as the diachronicity and synchronicity of empirical observations. In doing so, the comparison examines how two "types" of legal-political traditions have shaped different answers to the same question of integrating Muslims within the axiological and cognitive frameworks of the country, and further enables putting into perspective party discourses and representations on the period 2001-2015. It shows the limited relevance of traditional dualisms like the Left/Right opposition on this issue and suggests alternative analytical stances to overcome their biases.