Negotiating Martinican identity amid French universalism

Racial and linguistic considerations

Francosphères (2018), 7, (1), 49–69.


In attempts to conceptualize identity formation in the French Caribbean, authors and literary scholars have championed different movements such as Negritude, Creoleness, and Creolization. However, these theorizations are not just within the purview of elite academic discourse or producers of literary works because ‘everyday people’ debate and reflect on these issues as well. In exploring the complexities of being a citizen of a French overseas department where Martinicans must confront French assimilationist practices that imagine France as a white, European, French-speaking nation above all else, this sociolinguistic, qualitative study advances discussions concerning language, citizenship, and inclusion in light of continued dissatisfaction with the racial politics associated with language practice both on the island and the mainland. In doing so, it provides a new understanding of how racial hierarchies are reproduced and/or contested in everyday language as well as in postcolonial theory and literature.


Author details

Smith, Maya Angela