Celebrating diversity and unity on Reunion. The presence of two discourses
The social space of Reunion, an island in the Indian Ocean that is today a French department and region, formed in the course of many migration waves from Africa, Asia, and Europe; in the social and historical context of French colonialism they brought together people from very different cultural and social environments. Every group contributed to the formation of Reunion society in its own specific way, based on its origin, status, and position in society and in function of the individual period and socio-economic context. All these phenomena of interaction between different groups, acculturation, borrowing, adaptation, and rejection gave birth to a Creole society within thecolonial society. Today we witness two different identity discourses: the first draws on the history and different origins of the population and is based on cultural plurality or multiculturalism, while the second is the discourse on the Creole identity, which serves to unite people in relation to all non-Reunionians, and is considered a synonym for Reunionian. This discourse indeed tries to generalise the identity issue on the island across the entire population. It shows in the definitions of the ŽCreoleŽ language, music, food, etc., but also in the introduction of new holidays, the foundation of museums, and cultural policy programmes. Alongside these two discourses or identity positions, the old colonial discourse also survives andthrough assimilation models pushes the French identity to the foreground.