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Macron’s New Beginning: Coming to Terms with the Colonial Past Through Restitution, Recognition and Empathy

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posted on 2024-02-07, 15:28 authored by Martin EvansMartin Evans
Under his tenure, Emmanuel Macron has invested a huge effort into addressing the painful legacies of French colonialism in general and the Algerian War in particular, to such an extent that this coming to terms with the colonial past has become a defining dimension of his presidency. This chapter analyses the political calculations behind this very high-profile process. It assesses why Macron saw himself as the first Head of State to properly be able to do this, principally because, in his opinion, his time in office represents a key generational shift: he is the first president born after the end of the French Empire in 1960 and after the end of the Algerian War in 1962. In this respect the chapter focuses upon two key processes enacted by President Macron: the first, over restitution of African objects acquired during colonialism and the second, over truth and reconciliation in respect to the Algerian War. It focuses upon how Macron has used cultural diplomacy, through restitution, to try to turn the page of the French Empire and open up a new era of post-colonial relations with sub-Saharan Africa on the one hand and Algeria on the other. In conclusion, the chapter considers Macron’s initiatives, in particular the specific emotional language he has used, within a broader global history of confronting difficult pasts.

History

Publication status

  • Accepted

File Version

  • Accepted version

Publisher

Routledge

Book title

The Emmanuel Macron Presidency

Place of publication

London

Department affiliated with

  • History Publications

Institution

University of Sussex

Editors

Collard S

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