La France des Belhoumi by Stéphane Beaud

This book is the result of sociological work by sociologist Stéphane Beaud on the integration of the “second generation” of children of migrants. It sheds particular light on the specific trajectory of immigrant daughters and their emancipation through success at school. 

Stéphane Beaud met three sisters from the Belhoumi family at an event organized by the “Mission Locale”, a French social organization whose aim is to help young people from disadvantaged neighborhoods. The sociologist’s speech greatly appealed to the three sisters, who recognised the different backgrounds of their family members, the difficult path that young people with little educational capital have to take, which sometimes leads to significant life choices. Samira, the eldest of the siblings, agreed to work with the author of this book to study her family’s case. The sociologist adapted a sociological interview method that took years. 

In this book we can read about the hard work and conditions of this family . The testimonies of the parents as well as the older children born in Algeria are piercing. One can travel through the words and imagine how they fought and overworked themselves in order to succeed because they understood very early on that their only way out was through their studies. father always said “you have to work with the pen”.

We can also read about the relationships between the older members of the family and the younger ones. The older sister Samira, for example, was like a second mother in the family and played an important role in educating and setting an example for her brothers and sisters. A very heavy burden for the older children with whom the parents were very strict and demanding. For the younger children, however, they were much cooler and even allowed them to do activities and go on outings that were strictly forbidden and unthinkable for the older ones.


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