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.
Assessing France as a Model of Societal Success
Éloi Laurent and Michèle Lamont
Alexis de Tocqueville's Comparative Views on Women and Marriage in France and the United States
Jean Elisabeth Pedersen
future in democratic society, and a paradoxical figure in the history of debates over the so-called “Gallic singularity” who ultimately argued that the American sex/gender system could provide a better model for women in a democracy than the French one
EU Founders and Social Policy
The founders of European integration had to make momentous choices that have since deeply marked the EU. They decided to focus their efforts on market-building, hypothesizing that economic interdependency would lead in time to “spillover“ beyond the new Europe's original mandates, a decision that left many key dimensions of national sovereignty outside the mandate of integration. One of these dimensions was social policy, roughly defined as the welfare state and labor relations. This division between what the EU could and could not do has lasted, with limited exceptions, to the present. Market integration over time, however, indirectly shifted the ground under national social models, sometimes imposing adjustments that have worked against the legitimacy of Europeanization. More recently the EU, concerned about the need for social policy reform to confront globalization, has attempted to coordinate national social model change by “soft power“ methods. These methods, by and large, have not been effective. This essay will discuss the consequences of the founders' choices historically.
Cultural anthropology in France continues to bear the influence of a colonial-era distinction between “modern” societies with a high degree of social differentiation (and marked by rapid social change) and ostensibly socially homogeneous and change-resistant “traditional” ones. The history of key institutions (museums and research institutes) bears witness to this, as does recent scholarship centered on “the contemporary” that reworks earlier models and concepts and applies them to a world increasingly marked by transnational circulation and globalization. Anthropology at the Crossroads describes the evolution of a national tradition of scholarship, changes to its institutional status, and the models, concepts, and critical perspectives of anthropologists currently revisiting and reworking the foundations of the discipline in France.
Lloyd Kramer Liberal Values: Benjamin Constant and the Politics of Religion by Helena Rosenblatt
Paul V. Dutton Breadwinners and Citizens: Gender in the Making of the French Social Model by Laura Levine Frader
Paul Jankowski The Hunt for Nazi Spies: Fighting Espionage in Vichy France by Simon Kitson
Lynne Taylor The Politics of Everyday Life in Vichy France: Foreigners, Undesirables, and Strangers by Shannon Fogg
Rodney Benson Turning on the Mind: French Philosophers on Television by Tamara Chaplin
Elisa Camiscioli La Condition noire: Essai sur une minorité française by Pap Ndiaye
Susan Carol Rogers The Life of Property: House, Family and Inheritance in Bearn, South-West France by Timothy Jenkins
Antidiscrimination Policy in France
Alec G. Hargreaves
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.
The 1920s Beauty Contest in France and America
This article examines the beauty contest as a cultural register for shifting definitions of femininity in the 1920s. It focuses on the photographic beauty competition, the “Miss“ pageant, and the film Prix de Beauté, to show how beauty contests in France and the United States engendered transnational debates about feminine beauty, identity, and visibility. It asks how, as valueladen cultural enterprises and as popular commercial entertainments, these events fashioned models of modern womanhood that were simultaneously respectable and risqué; national and international; ordinary and exceptional.
A Formal Theory of Recursivity in the Field of European Security
Grégoire Mallard and Martial Foucault
This article proposes a simple formal model that can explain why and how European states engaged in the negotiation of federalist treaties in the fields of European defense and security. Using the non-cooperative model of multilateral bargaining derived from the Stahl-Rubinstein game, we show that the specific sequencing of treaty negotiations adopted by federalists explains why, against all odds, states preferred federalist-inspired treaties to intergovernmental treaties. We argue that federalists succeeded in convincing states to sign their treaties, rather than alternative treaties, by spreading the risk of rejection attached to various components of European security treaties into successive periods of negotiations, a process that they repeated in each new round of negotiation. In doing so, we show that Jean Monnet and his transnational network of European federalists had an influence on the process of EU integration because they segmented treaties into components with different probabilities of acceptance, and structured the different rounds of negotiations of these components by starting with the less risky ones, rather than because they convinced states to change their preferences and adopt federalist treaties instead of intergovernmental treaties.
The Debate on Laïcité in France
The issue of the Islamic headscarf has troubled French society since the end of the 1980s and led to legislation, enacted on 15 March 2004, proscribing the wearing of headscarves or any other "conspicuous" religious symbol in schools. But what strained relationship between the state and religions, and more generally minorities, is hidden by this long controversy that preceded the centennial of the 1905 law separating church and state? This article aims to summarize for American readers the stakes involved in this long debate while putting it into historical perspective by trying to clear up misunderstandings that may crop up in discussions (on both sides of the Atlantic) of a subject where the famous "French exception" seems to be crystallized, that is, the practice of laïcité. Underlying these discussions, one must locate the treatment of religious minorities as put into place during the Napoleonic era in the case of the Jews, which has remained, mutatis mutandis, a model for the organization of Islam in the Hexagon at the beginning of the twenty-first century. Such a model is one of an assignment community, organized with the goal, inherited from the Revolution, of emancipating its members and responding to questions of public order.
The "events" around Dominique de Villepin's abortive promotion of the CPE in spring 2006 were seen by many as a great popular victory in the defense of France's social model and another, albeit modest, version of May 1968. Others, particularly Anglophone neoliberals, saw them as proof that the French were incapable of reform. Both conclusions were wrong. The events and defeat of the CPE may have been enjoyable for many involved, but they resolved none of France's underlying and debilitating economic problems. On the other hand, the neoliberal view that the French are averse to real social policy reform is incorrect. Instead, the unresolved dilemmas surrounding the CPE episode are in large part the product of a particular strategy of reform, the "social management of unemployment," that has nourished and intensified dangerous—unavowed—social dualism in France. The present problem, illustrated indirectly by the events, is that political actors and social partners are unable to cooperate sufficiently to confront this dualism.