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Pascal Ory : those “foreigners who made France”

October 7, 2013
Pascal Ory is the driving force behind the Dictionnaire sur les étrangers qui ont fait la FranceDictionary of foreigners who made France in English – published by Editions Robert Laffont, available in bookshops starting from October 7, 2013. At a time when the debate over “national identity” continues to divide the political community, this Dictionary of unprecedented scope will undoubtedly re-establish certain truths and spark debate in return.

Some time ago, we interviewed French historian Pascal Ory. He reminded us of the logic of cultural intermingling and the need for cultures to interact for their own self-construction, development and enrichment.

The Dictionary of foreigners who made France, under the direction of Pascal Ory, has just been released. As the initiator of the project, the historian gathered together several well-known figures and intellectuals in an effort to agree on the selection of “those who made France”, but primarily to define the concept of “foreigner”, understood here in the legal meaning of the term to avoid subjectivity (i.e. to be foreign born by legal status, whether inside France or outside its borders).

There was a definite need for such a book to fill the gap in our understanding of foreigners’ contribution to French development. All sectors of activity are represented, from literature (Émile Zola) to sports (Raymond Kopa), including the business world (Carlos Ghosn) and creation in all its forms.

From 1789 – with the revolutionary, solemn proclamation of the French nation as principle of sovereignty – to the present day, this dictionary convincingly demonstrates the obvious cultural enrichment brought about by diversity.

Record companies reinvest 16% of revenues in...

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This percentage, which represents $2.7 billion in expenditure worldwide, is particularly high, according to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI). 

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