"Keeping Your Guys under Control"

The Management of "Isolated" Foreigners in Sonacotra hostels after the Algerian War
By Choukri Hmed

This article reviews the creation of the French public organism Sonacotra, responsible for the housing in hostels ("foyers") of "isolated" French Muslims of Algeria (FMA) in the middle of the Algerian war. The managers of this state-owned company included several officers who had served in the colonies. Many of its supervisors had served in the military. Using empirical data combining biographical interviews and archival material, the aim of this paper is to explore the measures taken to supervise the FMA through housing practices in the 1960s. On the one hand, this research stresses the importance of the reactivation of the know-how and people management techniques lhat the managers had acquired and which they readjusted to the "foyer" environment. On the other hand, the paper sheds light on the multiple filiations of the "foyer" concept by putting emphasis onto the predominance of the logic of controlling the FMA in a time of war, which takes on its full meaning only within the larger framework of providing educational housing for the working class.


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