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  • Author: Jean Baubérot
  • Publication Date: 08-2007
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: French Politics, Culture Society
  • Institution: Conference Group on French Politics Society
  • Abstract: La notion de « religion civile » provient, on le sait, de Jean-Jacques Rousseau, et elle a été, ces dernières décennies, reprise et réinterprétée par des sociologues et des historiens. En France, il est assez courant d'opposer la « laïcité républicaine » (française) à la religion civile américaine. Cet article propose, au contraire, l'hypothèse que la question de la « religion civile » se situe au coeur de la spécificité de la laïcité française dans sa dimension historique comme dans son actualité. La Cour constitutionnelle italienne considère, depuis 1989, le principe de laïcité comme fondamental ; plusieurs pays (Portugal, Russie) ont inscrit la laïcité dans leur Constitution ; le Québec a explicitement laïcisé ses écoles en 2000, etc. Et, pourtant, la laïcité continue d'apparaître souvent comme une « exception française » Or cette exceptionnalité n'est nullement conforme à la pensée des pères fondateurs de la laïcité française : Ferdinand Buisson, le maître d'oeuvre (au côté de Jules Ferry et de ses successeurs) de la laïcisation de l'école, et Aristide Briand, l'auteur principal de la loi de séparation des Églises et de l'État de 1905, envisageaient la laïcité de façon universaliste et non substantialiste : il existe pour eux des pays plus ou moins laïques, et la France n'est pas le pays le plus laïque du globe.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Government, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, France
  • Author: Pierre Diméglio, Jodelle Zetlaoui-Léger
  • Publication Date: 08-2007
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: French Politics, Culture Society
  • Institution: Conference Group on French Politics Society
  • Abstract: While Mayor Bertrand Delanoë had omitted the renovation of Les Halles in his plans for the city in his 2001 inaugural address, in 2002, at the urging of the RATP and Espace Expansion, he decided to create a working group to undertake this project during his tenure. Having made citizen participation a new goal for local government, he also announced that the project would be undertaken with Parisians, especially local associations. The first part of this article emphasizes the different postures that elected politicians, engineers, and experts have adopted over the course of forty years vis-à-vis the question of citizen participation in urban planning. The second part explores the decision- making process for the Les Halles renovation over the last four years; it considers the issues and difficulties linked to the implementation of participatory plans incorporating residents––whether they are members of local groups or not––in complex urban planning projects.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Paris
  • Author: John P. Willerton, Martin Carrier
  • Publication Date: 06-2005
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: French Politics, Culture Society
  • Institution: Conference Group on French Politics Society
  • Abstract: This article illuminates the record of the Gauche Plurielle (GP) and Jospin-led coalition government-built upon a diverse parliamentary majority opposed by a sitting president-to construct a coherent political program and realize unanticipated policy-making achievements. Contrary to past cohabitation regimes and most Fifth Republic presidential-prime ministerial teams composed of officials from the same political party, the 1997-2002 Gauche Plurielle government retained power for its entire five-year elected mandate while advancing an aggressive domestic socio-economic agenda. The GP program, which Lionel Jospin termed a "réalisme de gauche," would combine Socialist Party (PS) commitments to social justice with economic growth and Communist Party (PCF) concerns over a heightened minimum wage and serious youth employment efforts. The allied Greens and other Left factions would be provided the opportunity to win seats in the National Assembly (in the Greens' case, for the first time) with an ability to influence policy making in their areas of special interest. Overall, the early years of the Left-Greens coalition would see the construction of major initiatives upon which all partners generally agreed, with pressures on the coalition becoming more evident in subsequent years as hard policy choices-reflective of the dominant PS-increasingly troubled the smaller partners.
  • Topic: Government, Politics, Governance
  • Author: Sharif Gemie
  • Publication Date: 03-2004
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: French Politics, Culture Society
  • Institution: Conference Group on French Politics Society
  • Abstract: There are few politicians who can claim that they have, literally, come back from the dead. Jean-Pierre Chevènement can make a still more dramatic declaration: He is a man who has been reborn twice. Chevènement was the French minister of the Interior from 1997-2000, in the last Jospin government. In October 1998 he was admitted to hospital for a routine gall-bladder operation. Following a complication in the anaesthetic procedure, his heart stopped beating for forty-five minutes. He fell into a deep coma that lasted for three weeks, during which he drifted in a muffled, foggy world inhabited by strange beasts, as he later recalled.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: France
  • Author: Brigitte Jelen
  • Publication Date: 03-2002
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: French Politics, Culture Society
  • Institution: Conference Group on French Politics Society
  • Abstract: A few months ago, the massacre of Algerian civilians by the French police on October 17, 1961 was finally officially recognized, as the new socialist mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delanoë, placed a commemorative plaque on the Pont Saint-Michel. In his declaration to the press, Delanoë was careful to focus on the "Parisian" character of this ceremony, although the 1961 massacre was committed by the French national police. Perhaps Delanoë's noble and courageous gesture hides an ambiguity, an injustice to the victims? In order to understand the symbolic importance of this plaque in the construction of France's official memory of the Algerian war, this essay analyzes how the French government since 1962 has attempted to "forget" the conflict in the name of "national unity," in particular through the use of amnesty laws. In a discussion on forgiveness inspired by J. Derrida, the possibility of a French national memory of the Algerian war (and of the October 17, 1961 event) that would include the voices of the victims is considered.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Paris, France
  • Author: Gunnar Trumbull
  • Publication Date: 09-2002
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: French Politics, Culture Society
  • Institution: Conference Group on French Politics Society
  • Abstract: Globalization is commonly thought to impede policy activism. Yet France's 35-hour workweek initiative demonstrates that globalization can, in certain circumstances, create incentives for greater policy activism. This is because economic actors experience globalization differently. The French government, facing fiscal and monetary constraints, was seeking alternative means for promoting employment. French employers, facing new foreign competition, increasingly valued workforce flexibility. And French labor unions, facing declining membership, were anxious to establish a bridgehead in new sectors of the economy. These diverse pressures of globalization, felt differently by different economic actors, created the context in which an activist labor policy could be negotiated.
  • Topic: Economics, Government
  • Author: Ellen Badone
  • Publication Date: 09-2002
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: French Politics, Culture Society
  • Institution: Conference Group on French Politics Society
  • Abstract: This thought-provoking essay analyses the changing relationships between the French state and the individual. The author contends that French republican democracy originally developed as a bulwark against the hegemony of the Roman Catholic Church. However, in the secularized context of present-day France, such protection is no longer necessary. Hence, democracy has lost much of its original meaning. In the past, political actors privileged the collective good above private interests and identités. Now, however, it is precisely these agendas that have come to dominate French political discourse. In the face of competing minority demands, government must remain neutral and can no longer serve as the moral arbiter for the collectivity.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: France, Romania
  • Author: Robert Schwartzwald
  • Publication Date: 03-2001
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: French Politics, Culture Society
  • Institution: Conference Group on French Politics Society
  • Abstract: It may come as a surprise to American readers that during the Second World War, both the Vichy regime and la France libre cared deeply about public opinion in French Canada. Yet resource-rich Canada was Britain's principal ally against Nazi Germany before the collapse of the Hitler-Stalin pact and the attack on Pearl Harbor. If public opinion in English-speaking Canada rallied immediately behind Great Britain and was solidly interventionist, this was not the case in Quebec. In his study, Montreal historian Eric Amyot demonstrates that the opposing French camps well understood the necessity of waging a war for public opinion in the largely French-speaking province. At stake were Canadian government policy and the respective claims for legitimacy of Vichy and la France libre both at home and on the world stage.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Britain, France
  • 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