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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: 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: 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: 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: 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