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Assessing France as a Model of Societal Success

Éloi Laurent and Michèle Lamont

In this article, we propose a definition of the elusive "French model" of societal success and explore its usefulness for understanding the forces shaping France's future. This model, we suggest, remains "statist-republicanist": its democracy revolves around the idea of republicanism, while its economy continues to rely heavily on market regulation and public intervention. We assess France's model of societal success, which requires exploring the country's long-term assets and liabilities for human development. We argue, first of all, that France relies on a combination of a high fertility rate, an excellent health care system, a low level of income inequalities, and "de-carbonized growth"; second, that it continues to have a major liability, namely, a shadow French model of cultural membership that sustains segregation and discrimination; and third, that it experiences an important decoupling between its profound socio-economic transformations, on the one hand, and its political discourse and representations of the polity, on the other.

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Stéphane Gerson

Some intellectuals deserve scholarly attention as emblems or models. They represent something larger than themselves—a trend, an ideology, a school, an institution. Others, in contrast, stand out in their singularity of thought or method. They warrant equal consideration, but not necessarily for the broader developments they exemplify. Acclaimed as he is, Alain Corbin belongs in this second category. A scholar whose oeuvre springs from an intensely personal curiosity, Corbin is arguably the most idiosyncratic historian in France today. Over four decades, he has charted a course that is entirely his own. While awarding him the 2000 Grand prix Gobert, the Académie française aptly extolled a work that “boldly extends the limits of historical method.”

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Brett Bowles

In a 1989 article published by Annales under the title “Le monde comme représentation,”1 Roger Chartier articulated a conceptual framework for bridging the gap that had traditionally separated the history of mentalities from social and political history. While the former field—pioneered by Georges Duby, Robert Mandrou, and Philippe Ariès in the 1960s—had legitimized the study of collective beliefs, anxieties, and desires as historical phenomena, the latter remained largely devoted to more concrete, easily quantifiable factors such as structures, institutions, and material culture. Drawing on the anthropological and psychoanalytical premises that had informed the work of Michel Foucault, Louis Marin, and Michel de Certeau, among others, Chartier emphasized the performative dimension of individual and collective representations in order to argue that they should be understood not only as evidence registering the exercise of social and political power, but as underlying catalysts of change in their own right. Like habitus, Pierre Bourdieu’s complex model of social causality and evolution, Chartier framed representation as a symbiotic “structuring structure” that deserved to sit at the heart of historical inquiry.

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Marie-Ève Thérenty

des médias numériques, parce qu’il bouleverse les codes et déstabilise les normes professionnelles et les modèles économiques, remet au premier plan des enjeux d’écriture, de format, et donc de poétique, qui ont joué un rôle prépondérant avant que le

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limitations of considering the Harkis and other participants in the Algerian War as unified memory camps, a constituent element of the memory war model. Conceiving of memory debates in terms of a “war” also obscures the ways in which narrating the past can

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Edited by H. C.

, Sophie Meunier examines France’s role in the world, a subject Stanley returned to time and again over the course of his career. Meunier draws up a current balance sheet of France’s influence abroad as a political and economic player and as a model that

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Allan Mitchell, 1933—2016

Volker Berghahn

secondary education against the backdrop of what Allan called the “German Model.” The same applies to higher education, a field in which Germany had also become a model to the United States. Even if the Republic was stabilized against its irredentist

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Representations of Women in the French Imaginary

Historicizing the Gallic Singularity

Jean Elisabeth Pedersen

-Saxon model” to what she saw as the comparison and contrast between French and American feminism alone. Although she acknowledged that French thinkers such as Hélène Cixous and Luce Irigaray had already pioneered a “feminism of identity” that focused on women

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Black October

Comics, Memory, and Cultural Representations of 17 October 1961

Claire Gorrara

” phase described by Henry Rousso in his now seminal work on the Vichy syndrome and the Second World War in France. 17 In Rousso’s collective memory model, a younger generation of authors in search of connection with a dark past challenges the silences

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Globalizing the History of French Decolonization

Jessica Lynne Pearson

's relationship with Britain as possible models for an autonomous relationship between Indochina and France. The threat of world war, moreover, steered some Vietnamese toward the pursuit of a more moderate agenda of colonial reform, rather than pushing them to