‘Miki-le-toss ou comment repérer un guech en quelques leçons’: l’identité ethnique ‘tos’ en France à travers les blogs de jeunes lusodescendants ('Miki-le-toss' or How to Spot a 'Guech' in a Few Lessons: 'Tos' Ethnic Identity in France in the Blogs of French-Portuguese Youth)

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Martine Fernandes


In this article, I analyze the ‘tos’ ethnic identity, as expressed in blogs written by French-Portuguese teenagers in France, also called ‘lusodescendants,’ who are the children of Portuguese residents. Starting in the eighties, the reclaiming of this ethnic identity has been reinforced by Portugal’s entry in the European Union in 1986, the institutionalization of links between the lusodescendants and Portugal, and France’s recent opening to its migrant populations. Influenced by the Chicano cultural movement, the ‘tos’ movement shares some of its foundational features: a myth of origin, a privileging of unity, and a conservative notion of family. Despite this movement’s nationalist tendencies, I argue that it does not threaten this youth’s integration to France or to Europe, especially since lusodescendants, who are often Portuguese and French nationals, feel ‘twice European.’ In their case, European identity, to which they never refer in the blogs, is a mere sum of national identities. If a common European identity were needed, it should not be in the form of assimilationist policies replacing national cultures by a ‘European culture.’ Indeed, most European countries share a history of dictatorships and nationalisms, i.e. of official cultures being forced onto people. This dictatorial and nationalist past is directly responsible for the Portuguese diaspora and the lusodescendants’ ethnic identity claims today.

Article Details

Contesting Euro Visions Special Issue July 2007 (Peer Reviewed)
Author Biography

Martine Fernandes, University of South Florida, Saint Petersburg

Martine Fernandes is an assistant professor at the University of South Florida, Saint Petersburg. She is agrégée and doctor of the University of Paris IV-Sorbonne and the University of California, Berkeley. Her research focuses on cognitive linguistics and francophone writers, especially migrant writing in France. She publihed articles and a book entitled Les écrivaines francophones en liberté: Farida Belghoul, Maryse Condé, Assia Djebar, Calixthe Beyala (L'Harmattan 2007).