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  • Author: Gérard Grunberg
  • Publication Date: 06-2001
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: French Politics, Culture Society
  • Institution: Conference Group on French Politics Society
  • Abstract: The local elections of spring 2001 constituted a defeat for the Socialist government. The outcome of these elections in large and medium-sized cities show significant losses for the Left––despite Socialist victories in Paris and Lyon––and especially for the Communists whose numbers continue to decline. The only left-wing party to improve its position was the Green Party. These results do not reflect a clear rejection of the government by the public, but they outline two reasons for the Left to worry: First, although polls seemed to be favorable to the Left, the elections' disappointing outcome shifted the political climate in a way that benefits the Right. While the Left was politically destablilized, the election results boosted the opposition's morale and Jacques Chirac now felt confident in taking the offensive in his race for the presidency. Second, the election results––more specifically the analysis of how votes shifted between the two rounds––reveal two developments: The Right did a better job than the Left at mobilizing its potential voters for the second round; and in the context of the National Front schism, more far-right voters than in the past voted for moderate-right candidates. Such trends suggest that the 2002 elections will be a challenge for a more divided and instable "gauche plurielle." The local elections of 2001 moved the Left from the role of favorite to that of challenger.
  • Topic: Government
  • Author: William B. Cohen
  • Publication Date: 06-2001
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: French Politics, Culture Society
  • Institution: Conference Group on French Politics Society
  • Abstract: During the Algerian War successive governments denied that they employed torture in the conduct of the conflict. The French public during the war and thereafter were, however, well informed on the brutal means used in the North African conflict. In the summer of 2000 an Algerian woman tortured by the French gave an interview to Le monde. The publicity surrounding this interview and a subsequent interview given by General Aussaresses, head of the secret operations in Algeria, created a public furor over France\'s record in Algeria. In a much publicized petition, some of those who had opposed the Algerian war asked the French government to issue an apology for its acts. France\'s political leaders balked, refusing to take such a step. As a result of the furor created in 2000-2001 there was a greater sense of consciousness of the darkest sides of French colonialism. If the French government eventually does issue a public apology, it will largely be as a result of the dramatic debates of the last year.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: France, North Africa
  • Author: Christian Delacampagne
  • Publication Date: 06-2001
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: French Politics, Culture Society
  • Institution: Conference Group on French Politics Society
  • Abstract: The regular use of torture by the French army during the Algerian War raises at least two questions: 1) How was such torture made possible? Incapable of facing public opinion–– which was primarily in favor of colonization up until the end of the 1960s––the leaders of the Fourth Republic erred by giving full power to the army to crush the insurrection. It even took General De Gaulle two years to correct the situation. 2) What have we done since then to ensure that this would not happen again? As shown by the following facts, France has certainly not done what is necessary: It never formally recognized its responsibility for torture; it never tried to punish the principal culprits, whether politicians or military; it does not even seem to have learned from its past mistakes. Indeed, successive French governments continue to adopt a complacent stance towards similar practices (torture, summary executions) that consecutive Algerian governments have been covering up for several years – as if the use of torture should not be systematically condemned.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Algeria
  • Author: Michael Sibalis
  • Publication Date: 06-2001
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: French Politics, Culture Society
  • Institution: Conference Group on French Politics Society
  • Abstract: Gay and lesbian studies have almost everywhere experienced an incredible rate of growth in the last decade or so, but until very recently French scholarship has lagged far behind. In particular, professional historians in France have been reticent to research the history of homosexuality, in large part because of the conservatism of the academic establishment. (Young scholars have feared that an interest in gay history would hinder their careers.) As a result, much of the existing gay history of France has been produced by "Anglo-Saxons" (as the French call anyone who speaks or writes in English), and to the extent that "gay studies" have made their appearance in France, it is journalists, sociologists, and legal scholars rather than historians who have led the way.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: France
  • Author: Paul Cohen
  • Publication Date: 06-2000
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: French Politics, Culture Society
  • Institution: Conference Group on French Politics Society
  • Abstract: In few countries has language played a greater role in constituting national identity than in modern France. French is first and foremost a political idiom, enshrined by the leaders of the Revolution and the Third Republic as the language of the Republic and the Nation. The French state promotes the use of French at home and throughout the world through an array of government institutions, including the Académie française, the Ministry of Culture and the agencies responsible for France's francophonie policies. The French language also represents a highly charged common cultural ground marking the boundaries of French society.3 Whether in informal conversation and public debate, in annual rituals like Bernard Pivot's televised "concours de dictées," or on the editorial pages of national newspapers, the French betray an intense awareness of linguistic issues. The defense and illustration of French has long been for French intellectuals and leaders a passionate vocation.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: France
  • Author: Robert O. Paxton
  • Publication Date: 06-2000
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: French Politics, Culture Society
  • Institution: Conference Group on French Politics Society
  • Abstract: Gérard Noiriel, Les Origines républicaines de Vichy (Paris: Hachette Littératures, 1999). This book has raised hackles in France, and one can see why. It is by turns illuminating, tendentious, and pugnacious. At its best it accomplishes first-rate historical work. Its central four chapters make an enduring contribution to understanding the exclusionary project of Vichy France. Polemical first and last chapters detract somewhat from this achievement. Noiriel's powerful central chapters address a key conundrum about Vichy: How did the odious discriminatory and exclusionary measures taken by Pétain's governments, so manifestly contrary to French republican values, find such broad acquiescence among the mainstream republican elite?
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: France