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  • Author: Nancy L. Green
  • Publication Date: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: French Politics, Culture Society
  • Institution: Conference Group on French Politics Society
  • Abstract: Tocqueville says nothing about immigrants in America. Neither “immigré(s),” “immigration” or the word “immigrant(s)” appear in De la démocratie en Amérique. This is hardly surprising, for two reasons: the word and the reality, that is, the French language and the American context. In Tocqueville's native tongue, the term is absent in the 1835 (6th) edition of the Dictionnaire de l'Académie française. The term émigration was for years the French word of choice to describe those who had changed countries. (Émigrés of course retained its more restrictive meaning, referring to those who fled the Revolution.)
  • Topic: Civil Society, Migration
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, France
  • Author: Daniel Sabbagh, Shanny Peer
  • Publication Date: 03-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: French Politics, Culture Society
  • Institution: Conference Group on French Politics Society
  • Abstract: In the United States, while some race-based policies such as affirmative action have faced often successful political and legal challenges over the last quarter-century, historically, the very principle of official racial classification has met with much less resistance. The Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution's Fourteenth Amendment, according to which “no state shall deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws,” was not originally intended to incorporate a general rule of “color blindness.” And when in California, in 2003, the “Racial Privacy Initiative” led to a referendum on a measure—Proposition 54—demanding that “the state shall not classify any individual by race, ethnicity, color or national origin,” this restriction was meant to apply exclusively to the operation of public education, public contracting or public employment, that is, the three sites where affirmative action was once in effect and might be reinstated at some point, or so the proponents of that initiative feared. In any case, that measure was roundly defeated at the polls.
  • Political Geography: United States, California
  • 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: Jocelyne Cesari
  • Publication Date: 08-2007
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: French Politics, Culture Society
  • Institution: Conference Group on French Politics Society
  • Abstract: All too often, the question of Muslim minorities in Europe and America is discussed solely in socioeconomic terms or with a simplistic focus on the Islamic religion and its purported incompatibility with democracy. This article focuses instead on the secularism of Western host societies as a major factor in the integration of Muslim minorities. It compares French and American secularism and argues that while French-style secularism has contributed to present tensions between French Muslims and the French state, American secularism has facilitated the integration of Muslims in the United States-even after 9/11.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Europe
  • 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: 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: Kristen Stromberg Childers
  • Publication Date: 06-2006
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: French Politics, Culture Society
  • Institution: Conference Group on French Politics Society
  • Abstract: In late May 2005, French voters resoundingly defeated a proposal to adopt a new constitution for the European Union, voting 55 percent to 45 percent to reject a document in which President Jacques Chirac had invested more than a little of his personal political capital. While there were many reasons cited for this negative vote, one issue that surfaced frequently in discussions of the constitution was the French people's concern for their social security benefits and the fear that "liberal" and "Anglo-Saxon" models of the welfare state might come to dominate the EU and would threaten France's hard-won social rights. Here, of course, "liberal" referred to a model of unrelenting laissez-faire economics, rather than the moniker hurled in contemporary American political debates. It is highly significant that the deathblow to the constitution should come from France, where the EU symbolized for many a chance to regain grandeur on the international scene and an opportunity to counterbalance the "hyperpower" of the United States.
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, 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: Lionel Jospin
  • Publication Date: 06-2004
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: French Politics, Culture Society
  • Institution: Conference Group on French Politics Society
  • Abstract: Since the relationship between France and the United States is going through a difficult period, we must find opportunities to talk things over. It is true that it is not always easy to broach the subject of this relationship between the US and France in a balanced and reasonable way. We idealize its past and blacken its present. On the one hand, invoking the illustrious names of such figures as Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Pierre- Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais, or the marquis de la Fayette romanticizes the actually very complicated political and diplomatic process that brought France to America's aid during the War of Independence. Neither the monarchical France of the Ancien Régime, nor that of the revolutionary Terror that led up to the Caesar-state of Bonaparte could have been in perfect symbiosis with the young American democratic republic, despite our shared Enlightenment references.
  • Political Geography: United States, America, France
  • Author: Richard Kuisel
  • Publication Date: 09-2004
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: French Politics, Culture Society
  • Institution: Conference Group on French Politics Society
  • Abstract: What do the French think of Americans and the United States? This is a grand question whose answer reveals a crucial dimension of the current tension in Franco-American relations. It is also a question that can be answered reasonably well. Transatlantic troubles have stirred interest in ascertaining the state of public opinion. The result is an extraordinary number of comprehensive surveys conducted over the last five years. The US Department of State, for example, has systematically monitored French attitudes. So have many French and American polling agencies like SOFRES, CSA, and the Pew Center. Foundations like the French-American Foundation and the German Marshall Fund of the US have also sponsored research. Between fifteen and twenty thousand Frenchmen and women have recorded their opinion in such surveys. This evidence provides a unique opportunity for research into how the man- or woman-in-the-street views the United States.
  • Topic: International Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, America, France