Ronald Hubscher

Immigration in the French Countryside: 19th-20th Century Publication date : October 13, 2005

Foreign labourers played a crucial role in developing France’s agricultural strength. Belgians, Italians, Spaniards and Poles immigrated to France to do the farm work that French workers had abandoned in their exodus to urban areas.
This explains why legislation aimed at restricting immigration has generally spared agricultural workers. Yet few of these workers, though generally regarded as “good immigrants”, have settled permanently in France with their families and they have not integrated.
In this book, Ronald Hubscher approaches the notion of “French identity” from a new angle, and describes its contradictory character over a period of two centuries. He argues that as a result of the contribution made by foreign workers, France has a rural tradition — yet, in the countryside, the nation has ignored them.
Ronald Hubscher is professor emeritus of contemporary history at the University of Paris-X-Nanterre. He is the author of Les Maîtres des bêtes: Les vétérinaires dans la société française, XVIIIe-XX siècles, published by Editions Odile Jacob, in 1999.