This article uses the pieds-noirs (European settlers) of Algeria as a case study of how "poor whites" have been constructed, and have constructed themselves, in colonial historiography. Beginning with a reexamination of terminology, and of the socioeconomic status of the pieds-noirs, I argue that the poverty of this community is more often and more usefully understood as a form of psychological impoverishment. The work of Albert Camus represents a salient example of these discourses and offers the historian a productive means of rethinking the conceptually liminal space of "poor whites" between colony and metropole.

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