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  • Author: Patrick Simon
  • Publication Date: 03-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: French Politics, Culture Society
  • Institution: Conference Group on French Politics Society
  • Abstract: For more than a century, statistics describing immigration and assimilation in France have been based on citizenship and place of birth. The recent concern for racial discrimination has given rise to a heated controversy over whether to introduce so-called “ethnic categories” into official statistics. In this article, I make an assessment of the kind of statistics that are available today and the rationale behind their design. I then discuss the main arguments put forward in the controversy and argue that antidiscrimination policies have created a new need for statistics that outweigh the arguments against the use of “ethnic statistics.” In fact, beyond the technical dimension of this controversy lies a more general political debate about the multicultural dimensions of French society.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: France
  • Author: Alain Blum, France Guérin-Pace
  • Publication Date: 03-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: French Politics, Culture Society
  • Institution: Conference Group on French Politics Society
  • Abstract: In this article, we engage in a debate that first took place in France ten years ago, but that has revived today. This debate concerns the question of whether to introduce ethnic categories in statistical surveys in France. There is strong opposition between those who argue for statistical categories to measure ethnic or racial populations as part of an effort to fight against discrimination, and those who argue against such statistics. The latter, including the authors of the present article, discuss the impossibility of building such categories, their inadequacies, and the political and social consequences they could have because of the way they represent society. They also argue that there are better, more efficient ways to measure discrimination and to fight against it. After describing the history of this debate, the authors present the different positions and explore the larger implications of the debate for French public life.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: France
  • Author: Judith Vichniac
  • Publication Date: 03-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: French Politics, Culture Society
  • Institution: Conference Group on French Politics Society
  • Abstract: Much has been written about the scarf affairs in France and the subsequent legislation banning large religious symbols from the classroom. Less has been written about the major religious leaderships' responses from 1989 when the first affair took place until the debates surrounding the Stasi Commission in 2003. This article traces the evolution of their thinking with special emphasis on the splits within the Jewish leadership within the context of a rise of anti- Semitic acts.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: France
  • Author: Amy Wiese Forbes
  • Publication Date: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: French Politics, Culture Society
  • Institution: Conference Group on French Politics Society
  • Abstract: This article discusses political satire under the July Monarchy. It analyzes how the question of satire's political meaning was generated and framed in the 1830s as debate over abstract rights under the new, supposedly more liberal government of the July Monarchy. Following the Revolution of 1830, lithographic satire became connected conceptually to political conspiracy and was argued to be harmful to the new regime. State institutions, including the police, the courts, and the National Assembly, attempted to understand and define satire politically. The effort to evaluate satire's potential harm to the state shaped French liberalism into a contest between rights to free speech and protection from harm. This process was part of a broader struggle to construct legitimate authority in France.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: France
  • Author: Julie Fette
  • Publication Date: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: French Politics, Culture Society
  • Institution: Conference Group on French Politics Society
  • Abstract: In societies coming to terms with historical injustices, public apology has recently emerged as a potent trend. This is particularly true of France, where the state served as a catalyst for a wave of public apologies for acts of intolerance committed during the Second World War. Following Jacques Chirac's 1995 official apology for Vichy's anti-Semitic policies, various groups in civil society publicly atoned for their particular Vichy roles in discrimination against Jews: the medical profession, the law bar, the Catholic Church, and the police. How does public apology, as distinct from court trials, historical commissions, and reparations, affect contemporary France's reconciliation with its past? This article also analyzes how apologizing for Vichy has created demand for an official French apology for the Algerian War. By 2006, the politics of memory in French society decidedly shifted attention from Vichy to post-colonialism: in both cases, the apology turn imposes new dynamics of remembering and forgetting.
  • Topic: Politics, War
  • Political Geography: France
  • Author: Fabienne Randaxhe
  • Publication Date: 12-2007
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: French Politics, Culture Society
  • Institution: Conference Group on French Politics Society
  • Abstract: From a French perspective, the relationship between the state and religion in the United States may seem paradoxical. On the one hand, the American nation was the first one to have established, by constitutional means, a separation between religious bodies and the political realm. On the other hand, religious and political spheres in the US still seem to overlap to some extent. While French approaches tend to regard US laïcité as uncertain and incomplete, this article discusses whether laïcité is in the US incomplete or aware of tensions to be lessened among religious, political and social forces. I focus on legal regulation and consider the notion of accommodation as a particular form of legal laïcité.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Pascal Perrineau
  • Publication Date: 12-2007
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: French Politics, Culture Society
  • Institution: Conference Group on French Politics Society
  • Abstract: Nicolas Sarkozy's victory in the 2007 French presidential elections represents a true rupture: rupture with years of political apathy, rupture with what was an escalating rise of political protest, rupture with a “law” that since 1981 seemed to require that every outgoing majority be beaten. Sarkozy's electoral victory was substantial. It was built on a notion that what the French were looking for was a strong sense of direction, and it gave rise to a dynamic of striking change right after the election (a political opening to the left, a shift in presidential style, disarray in the Socialist Party, and the marginalization of the National Front).
  • Topic: Politics, Law
  • Author: Dominique Pestre
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: French Politics, Culture Society
  • Institution: Conference Group on French Politics Society
  • Abstract: Before addressing its central concern––the convergence of science, war, institutions, and politics in the postwar period in France and the United States––, this essay evokes how scientific knowledge had been of importance to warfare and economic elites in the preceding centuries. In the 1940s and 1950s, scientific activities were profoundly redefined. A culture of laboratory solutions, of calculus, and management won the day. For the scientists, that meant versatility and a willingness to work between disciplines and métiers and to confront the nation's main concerns. It also led to increasingly technocratic versions of politics. Due to science, the state became a managerial apparatus, a "modernizer" arbitrating among different scenarios. Contrary to what happened in the United States, science was not center stage in France in the 1940s and early 1950s. The habitus of scientists was that of the prewar period, and they were still not technique- oriented. They had a more cultural definition of their trade and were not opportunists whose aim was to become pragmatically efficient in the world of business and military action. From the mid-1950s, things started to evolve due to a strong economic recovery and because French scientists had now caught up with the latest developments. The final break, however, occurred in France only when de Gaulle abandoned the Algerian war and elected for an autonomous nuclear deterrence system. By putting la stratégie de l'arsenal at the core of national development, de Gaulle significantly transformed French science, society, industry, and the military.
  • Topic: Cold War, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, France
  • Author: Eric Jabbari
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: French Politics, Culture Society
  • Institution: Conference Group on French Politics Society
  • Abstract: Pierre Laroque, the architect of French social security, emerged during the 1930s as an advocate for the corporatist management of industrial relations. Laroque's corporatist views were an outgrowth of his educational background and his experiences as a young civil servant. A member of the Conseil d'État, he came under the influence of the main doctrines of French public law. During the first half of the twentieth century, legal thinkers such as Léon Duguit and Maurice Hauriou elaborated theoretical justifications for the growing interventionism of the state. As a student of the law, Pierre Laroque became concerned with maintaining the balance between the necessity of state intervention and the preservation of individual and collective rights, thus explaining his interest in administrative decentralization. By the mid-1930s, after being assigned to the Conseil National Économique, he became interested in industrial conflict and applied a similar approach to the issue of collective bargaining. Impressed by the social achievements of Fascist Italy, Laroque advocated the corporatist management of industrial relations, an objective that he promoted in a succession of political and intellectual forums associated with the nonconformist movement. A new collective bargaining mechanism would bring together the state, business, and labor in order to mediate and resolve industrial disputes. Unlike the Fascists, however, this form of corporatism did not break with democratic or republican principles; rather, it was a decentralized administrative structure that compensated for the weaknesses of the collective bargaining process while providing a new forum for the cultivation of social solidarity.
  • Topic: Politics, Law
  • Political Geography: France
  • Author: Jonathan Laurence
  • Publication Date: 03-2005
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: French Politics, Culture Society
  • Institution: Conference Group on French Politics Society
  • Abstract: The creation of a representative council for observant Muslims-the Conseil Français du Culte Musulman-is a landmark accomplishment of Fifth Republic France. It is a strong reaffirmation of the republican framework in which the representatives of organized religion are expected to operate in lay France. But it is also an uncharacteristic official acknowledgment of contemporary religious diversity. How did a country whose political system has been notoriously allergic to organized religion decide to assemble and embed Muslim leaders within a state-sponsored institution? Some clues are contained in the remarks above, which hint at the mindset of the ministers in charge of religious affairs. These statements, made by two key actors in the French government's efforts to integrate Islam into French state-church relations, can be seen as rhetorical bookends of a policy process aiming to bring France's Muslim population closer to the state. Over a nearly fifteen-year period, politicians of distinct party traditions drew on competing models of state-society relations to make this politically feasible.
  • Topic: Islam, Politics
  • Political Geography: France