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Political Radicalism in France

Perspectives on a Protean Concept

James Shields

This introductory article reflects on the new momentum that political radicalism has taken on in France. The ebb and flow of radical aspiration featured regularly in French politics under the Fourth and early Fifth Republics, before the failure of the "Socialist experiment" in the early 1980s brought about a paradigm shift. In the wake of this failure and with the "end of ideology" supposedly in sight, political leaders and parties tempered their appeals to radical solutions and conspired, not least through recurrent power-sharing, to vacate mainstream political discourse of much of its former radicalism. Since the presidential election of 2007, however, there has been a marked return to promises of radical change as the common currency of political discourse across the full left-right spectrum in France. This article introduces a special issue of French Politics, Culture & Society that brings together scholars from France, Britain, and Canada to discuss some of the meanings, expressions, and prospects of political radicalism in France today.

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Understanding networks of actors involved in refugee access to higher education in Canada, England and France

A digital comparative approach

Melody Viczko, Marie-Agnès Détourbe, and Shannon McKechnie

involved in addressing refugee access to higher education in three countries: Canada, England and France. Our findings suggest that the nature of the issues for refugee access to higher education is taken up and constructed quite differently in each

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The Gendered Necropolitics of Migration Control in a French Postcolonial Periphery

Nina Sahraoui

This article examines the postcolonial politics of migration control in Mayotte, an overseas French department, and argues that these bear necropolitical consequences. It sheds light on the gendered dimension of this necropolitical power by focusing on the life and border-crossing experiences of undocumented Comorian women. Entrenched barriers to the regularization of their administrative status endanger their access to healthcare and degrade the conditions for life long-term. The constant risk of arrest and massive forced removals furthermore engender dangerous border crossings, each instance exposing the passengers to the risk of death. The article also foregrounds that these necropolitics are exacerbated as a result of the postcolonial conundrum in which Mahoran elites find themselves, with the increasing support of Black and Muslim elites for the French far-right political party.

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From Jerusalem to Paris

The Institutionalization of the Category of "Righteous of France"

Sarah Gensburger

Although the title of "Righteous among the Nations" has been awarded in Israel since 1963, foreign governments did not show any interest in this commemoration until the late 1990s. Since then, however, a growing number of European governments have adopted the term. Of all the countries to which this commemoration has spread, the French government's appropriation of the Israeli terminology may have gone the farthest, forging a new national commemorative expression: the "Justes de France." This essay explores how the French lexical appropriation has taken place, paying particular attention to the role played by Jewish rescuers in this process. In doing so, it seeks to introduce a new perspective into the current debate on the transnationalization of memory: to what extent do the different states interested in the commemoration of the "Righteous," in this case Israel and France, speak the same language and whose language is it?

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AIDS and Postcolonial Politics

Acting Up on Science and Immigration in France

Michael J. Bosia

From a postcolonial left that challenges the French state over immigration policy and neoliberal globalization, Act Up has advocated for the social and political rights and needs of women, inmates, drug users, and immigrants with HIV/AIDS. This essay examines as well Act Up's engagement with science and globalization in response to new experimental medical trials in the Global South. Act Up's emphasis on local empowerment against global economic and social actors has earned criticism from American and South African AIDS activists, but at the same time these campaigns stress the universalist impulse imbedded in the Act Up brand of French Republican politics.

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La course au centre

Policy Convergence and Partisanship in France, 1981-2002

Sally Marthaler

Policy convergence between the political parties and the perception among voters that there is little to choose between left and right may be factors in the declining levels of partisanship observed in many advanced industrial democracies, including France, where these conditions emerged in the 1980s. Drawing on both quantitative and qualitative data, this article analyzes changes in the actual and perceived level of convergence between the mainstream parties in France from 1981 to 2002. It finds evidence of increasing policy convergence over the period as a result of a combination of endogenous and exogenous factors. It concludes that left-right ideological labels are still important to voters, even though they too have moved to the center, and that many of them want to see a clear dividing-line between the parties. The blurring of the boundaries between left and right and the “reversibility” of the mainstream parties has also enhanced the appeal of alternative and extremist parties.

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“God's Mighty Arm Makes the French Victorious”

The French Revolutionary Deists Who Believed in Miracles

Joseph Waligore

participated in or supported the French Revolution. Many of these French Revolutionary deists claimed that God miraculously aided their revolution by protecting the French army and by exposing enemy plots. Some of these deists pointed to specific times that God

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Representations of Women in the French Imaginary

Historicizing the Gallic Singularity

Jean Elisabeth Pedersen

This interdisciplinary special issue of French Politics, Culture & Society presents five articles by historians and literary critics with a common interest in one particular aspect of what scholars across a range of fields have identified

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Émigrés and Migrations during the French Revolution

Identities, Economics, Social Exchanges, and Humanitarianism

Lloyd Kramer

The French Revolution profoundly influenced many of the ideas and institutions that created the modern world. This far-reaching revolutionary upheaval drew widely on eighteenth-century Enlightenment culture to construct and spread modern ideas

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Flourishing in a Tough Climate

Herrick Chapman

With FPCS embarking on its fourth decade of publishing work on the study of France and the francophone world, the journal invited scholars in several disciplines to write short essays on where they thought the field of French Studies should head in the future. This essay introduces the resulting dossier on “French Studies and Its Futures.” It situates the project in the current context in which the field is thriving intellectually but struggling with menacing institutional pressures. It goes on to describe the particular formulation of French Studies that the journal came to represent in its early years in the 1980s, how it evolved since, and what that experience suggests about how scholars can respond creatively to the challenges and opportunities the future may hold for the field.