The demographics of contemporary France show that there are an estimated 800,000 people of French Caribbean birth or descent presently living on the French mainland. Problematizating this presence properly begins with the end of the Second World War and the advent of two events closely situated in time: the inauguration of the ‘Trente Glorieuses’ period of French economic expansion (approximately 1946-1975), and the departmentalization law of March 1946. The need to respond to postwar labor shortages, and to regulate and stabilize the labour force being brought into France to address these shortages, gave rise to the birth of BUMIDOM as a state agency early in the Fifth Republic. BUMIDOM’s goal was to furnish a state-organized and -controlled labor pool. Migration to the metropole – and its attendant ethnic, cultural and linguistic corollaries there along with the socioeconomic transformation of the DOMs – has probably been the most visible consequence of BUMIDOM’s creation.
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