Keywords: Comparative Theory of Migrant and Minority Experiences; Urban Youth in France; Ethnic Minority Education and Employment; Time-Space Perspectives of Migrant and Second-Generation Youth; French Social Policy on Integration.
France is a long-time immigrant society in which newcomers frequently settle in areas where the second and third generations descendants of previous (post)colonial migrants are being raised. Yet the distinction between new migrants and minority youth is often overlooked in public debates and policies regarding the controversial issue of the «integration of young people of immigrant origin». This paper seeks to highlight some of the major differences between these two categories by presenting results from a qualitative longitudinal study during which were observed over a period of several years the experiences of a cohort of newly arrived adolescents and their French born minority peers living in a multi-ethnic low income neighbourhood of the Parisian periphery. The focus is on three salient dimensions of the contrast between the two groups: firstly their relations to their immediate urban environment and their management of space, secondly their diverging time orientations, and thirdly their appreciation of their social and economic situation in relation to relevant social hierarchies and norms from the country or origin or of settlement.