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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: 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
  • Author: Christine Haynes
  • Publication Date: 06-2005
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: French Politics, Culture Society
  • Institution: Conference Group on French Politics Society
  • Abstract: The limited objections raised by members of the book trade to the press law at the time of the trial of Madame Bovary serve to highlight some fundamental characteristics and contradictions of liberalism in mid-nineteenth-century France. In general, liberalism in this time and place emphasized commercial freedom and property rights, at the expense of freedom of speech. In contrast to Anglo-American liberals, French liberals readily sacrificed this last freedom in the interest of "order," which was deemed necessary to promote the growth of commerce. As some of the most recent scholarship on the political culture of the Second Empire (and early- to mid-nineteenth-century France more generally) has shown, property, alongside education, was the main priority for liberals. It was only because property and education seemed to require it that freedom of the press eventually became important to French liberals and republicans. Intellectual freedom entered the political culture, for authors and publishers as well as statesmen, only through the back door of economic liberalism.
  • Topic: Politics, Culture
  • Political Geography: America, France
  • Author: Sophie Meunier
  • Publication Date: 06-2005
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: French Politics, Culture Society
  • Institution: Conference Group on French Politics Society
  • Abstract: Why do the French appear as incorrigible anti-Americans? Why is France singled out as a bastion of systematic opposition to US policies? Anti-Americanism can be defined as an unfavorable predisposition towards the United States, which leads individuals to interpret American actions through pre-existing views and negative stereotypes, irrespectively of the facts.8 It is based on a belief that there is something fundamentally wrong at the essence of what is America. This unfavorable predisposition manifests itself in beliefs, attitudes and rhetoric, which may or may not affect political behavior. Is France, according to this definition, anti-American? It is difficult in practice to distinguish between genuine anti-Americanism (disposition) and genuine criticism of the United States (opinion). It is partly because of this definitional ambiguity that France appears more anti-American than its European partners. While it is not clear that the French have a stronger negative predisposition against the US, they do have stronger opinions about America for at least three main reasons: the deep reservoir of anti-American arguments accumulated over the centuries; the simultaneous coexistence of a variety of types of anti-Americanism; and the costless ways in which anti-Americanism has been used for political benefit. This article explores each of these three features in turn, before discussing briefly the consequences of French anti-Americanism on world politics.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, America, France
  • Author: Joan W. Scott
  • Publication Date: 12-2005
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: French Politics, Culture Society
  • Institution: Conference Group on French Politics Society
  • Abstract: The controversies in 1989, 1994, and 2003 over the wearing of head scarves were in part a response to international and domestic political developments (including, most importantly, surprising showings of political strength at the polls by the Front National). But they were also symptomatic of a much larger problem, one that seems unresolvable within the context of republican universalism. That is the problem of reconciling the fact of the growing diversity of the French population (most of the Muslims in question in these affaires are French citizens) with a theory of citizenship and representation that defines the recognition of difference as antithetical to the unity of the nation. French republicans consider it a dangerous practice to grant political standing to groups. Representatives of concrete, social concerns do not belong in the public (legislative) arena, they argue, because it must be maintained as a realm of abstraction where decisions are made on behalf of the whole people, a people whose presumed commonality means that any elected representative represents them all. The head scarf is a tangible sign of intolerable difference and of failed integration. It defies the long- standing requirement that only when immigrants assimilate (practicing their beliefs in private) do they become fully "French." It stands for everything that is thought to be wrong with Islam: porous boundaries between public and private and between politics and religion; the supposed degradation of female sexuality and subordination of women. The head scarf in the public, secular school is a synecdoche for Islam in the body of the French nation-state.
  • Topic: Islam, Politics
  • Political Geography: France
  • Author: Erik Bleich
  • Publication Date: 09-2000
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: French Politics, Culture Society
  • Institution: Conference Group on French Politics Society
  • Abstract: Since the end of the Second World War, millions of immigrants have arrived on French shores. Although such an influx of foreigners has not been unusual in French history, the origin of the postwar migrants was of a different character than that of previous eras. Prior to World War II, the vast majority of immigrants to France came from within Europe. Since 1945, however, an important percentage of migrants have come from non- European sources. Whether from former colonies in North Africa, Southeast Asia, or sub- Saharan Africa, from overseas departments and territories, or from countries such as Turkey or Sri Lanka, recent immigration has created a new ethnic and cultural pluralism in France. At the end of the 1990s, the visibly nonwhite population of France totals approximately five percent of all French residents. With millions of ethnic-minority citizens and denizens, the new France wears a substantially different face from that of the prewar era.
  • Topic: Politics, History
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, Turkey, France, Sri Lanka, North Africa, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Alec G. Hargreaves
  • Publication Date: 09-2000
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: French Politics, Culture Society
  • Institution: Conference Group on French Politics Society
  • Abstract: Since the Left returned to power in 1997, there have been remarkable changes in the debate over the "integration" of immigrant minorities in France. After a long period in which political elites emphasized the challenges associated with minority ethnic cultures and social disadvantage, the spotlight has shifted to the blockages arising from racial discrimination by members of the majority ethnic population. No less remarkably, there has been a significant abatement in the demonization of so-called Anglo-Saxon approaches to the management of ethnic relations, habitually branded by politicians and civil servants as the antithesis of France's "républicain" model of integration. Whereas British and American policies have encouraged "race" awareness in combating both direct and indirect forms of discrimination and have established powerful agencies to assist minorities suffering from unfair treatment, until recently there was a wide consensus in France that "integration" policy could best be served by erasing as far as possible any reference to ethnicity.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: Britain, America, France