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Julie Fette

In societies coming to terms with historical injustices, public apology has recently emerged as a potent trend. This is particularly true of France, where the state served as a catalyst for a wave of public apologies for acts of intolerance committed during the Second World War. Following Jacques Chirac's 1995 official apology for Vichy's anti-Semitic policies, various groups in civil society publicly atoned for their particular Vichy roles in discrimination against Jews: the medical profession, the law bar, the Catholic Church, and the police. How does public apology, as distinct from court trials, historical commissions, and reparations, affect contemporary France's reconciliation with its past? This article also analyzes how apologizing for Vichy has created demand for an official French apology for the Algerian War. By 2006, the politics of memory in French society decidedly shifted attention from Vichy to post-colonialism: in both cases, the apology turn imposes new dynamics of remembering and forgetting.

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Anand Menon

Since 1966 and even before, the policies pursued by France toward NATO have been both the object of a certain amount of Gallic pride and the source of considerable confusion, not to say irritation, among France’s partners. Why have these policies been pursued? The aim of this article is to address this question by means of an examination of the domestic pressures and constraints that have helped to shape France’s policies toward NATO. It reveals a striking paradox: the decision-making arrangements that developed around and emerged out of de Gaulle’s single-minded quest to achieve international independence for France were specifically designed to provide him with the freedom to pursue policies of his own choosing.

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Giuliana Chamedes and Elizabeth A. Foster

Scholarly attention to decolonization in the French Empire and beyond has largely focused on the political transitions from colonies to nation-states. This introduction, and the essays in this special issue, present new ways of looking at decolonization by examining how religious communities and institutions imagined and experienced the end of French Empire. This approach adds valuable perspectives obscured by historiographical emphasis on French republican secularism and on the workings of the colonial state. Bringing together histories of religion and decolonization sheds new light on the late colonial period and the early successor states of the French empire. It also points to the importance of international institutions and transnational religious communities in the transitions at the end of empire.

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The Far Right Vote in France

From Consolidation to Collapse?

James Shields

The presidential and legislative elections of 2007 are widely seen to have marked the end of the Far Right as a major political force in France. How could this occur only five years after Le Pen's qualification for the presidential run-off, and with his party seemingly in the ascendant? This article discusses recent fluctuations in Far Right electoral performance in France. It focuses largely on the presidential elections of 2002 and 2007, re-examining the (supposed) upswell of Far Right support in 2002 and its (supposed) subsidence in 2007. Both elections require nuanced interpretation. Both confounded poll predictions, which in 2007 failed to measure the effect of Sarkozy's hard-right campaign and, crucially, the extent to which the border between “mainstream Right” and “Far Right” had shifted since 2002. This allowed Sarkozy to drain part of Le Pen's electorate, and raises questions over the wider impact of Le Pen and the FN on the political agenda in France.

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Jacques Revel

Jusqu’à une époque très récente, l’expérience historique de la France et la mémoire dont elle était porteuse étaient pensées dans les termes d’une histoire ; et cette histoire ne s’énonçait pas, elle ne se pensait pas n’importe comment : elle pouvait être diverse et contradictoire, mais elle avait ses formes et elle obéissait à des règles.

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Pierre H. Boulle

Sue Peabody, “There Are No Slaves in France”: The Political Culture of Race and Slavery in the Ancien Régime (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996).

Laurent Dubois, Les Esclaves de la République. L’histoire oubliée de la première émancipation, 1789-1794, transl. by Jean-François Chaix (Paris: Calmann-Lévy, 2000).

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Alain Boyer

Les musulmans se sont installés en France à cause et à la suite des deux guerres mondiales, essentiellement en provenance des pays sous domination française, à la fois comme recrues dans les armées françaises et comme force de travail. Ils ont ensuite participé à la reconstruction et au développement du pays, comme immigration de main d'oeuvre, durant les Trente Glorieuses. Ces flux migratoires se sont poursuivis, après la décolonisation et les indépendances, dans les années 1960. S'ils ont été freinés par l'arrêt de l'immigration en 1973, ils n'en ont pas pour autant totalement cessé, puisque l'on considère que sont entrés, depuis lors, en France, chaque année, environ 100 000 immigrés d'origines diverses. Bien plus, l'arrêt de l'immigration, en rendant très difficile la perspective d'un éventuel retour en France, et le regroupement familial ont concouru à l'installation durable en France de familles immigrées cherchant plus ou moins consciemment à s'intégrer dans la société française. Peu à peu se sont constituées des communautés musulmanes qui ont essayé de négocier, surtout pour obtenir des avantages individuels plus que collectifs, les modalités de leur intégration. Les populations immigrées ont souvent été reléguées dans les zones d'urbanisation récente, l'habitat social et les banlieues des grandes villes et ont été cantonnées, pour la première, et souvent pour la deuxième génération, dans des métiers peu qualifiés directement menacés par le chômage. Les immigrés et leurs enfants appelés à devenir français, dès lors qu'ils étaient nés en France, ont été victimes d'inégalités et d'exclusions par l'école, le travail et le logement.

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The Editors

The treatment of cultural difference and diversity by French-speaking cartoonists has changed radically over the last few decades, as four articles in this special issue demonstrate. What has not changed since the nineteenth century is the centrality of these themes to comics, which have been a globalizing medium in a shrinking world throughout the period. French-language comics are exemplary of these transformations, insofar as France was a major imperialist power during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Moreover, France has long been home to ethnic and religious minorities, and was a major center of immigration during the twentieth century. These socio-historical trends have left a huge imprint on comics within France itself, but the French also exported the form along with their language to most of their colonies, which has given rise to (post-)colonial traditions of cartooning in French-speaking regions across the globe.

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Mariette Sineau

In France, the 21 April 2002 presidential election result has renewed interest in the electoral cleavage between women and men, who cast their votes very differently to qualify candidates for the second round of the election. Among women voters, Lionel Jospin (the Socialist leader) came in second behind Jacques Chirac, with Jean-Marie Le Pen (leader of the Front national) being eliminated from the contest; among men, Le Pen came out on top followed by Chirac. On the basis of a major quantitative election survey conducted in France in 2002 by the Centre de Recherches Politiques de Sciences Po, this article undertakes to understand why fewer women than men vote for the extreme Right. Sociologically, Le Pen made his lowest scores among two groups of women that contrast in numerous aspects: young, highly educated professional women, and older, retired, widowed women. Strong ideological logics lie behind this contrasted sociology of female anti-Lepenism, rationales that are generation-specific, but gender-specific as well: feminism and Catholicism "process" male and female identity differently. (This research was first published in French in Bruno Cautrès and Nonna Mayer, eds., Le Nouveau Désordre électoral (2004), 207-28.)

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Reframing European Diasporas in Contemporary France

'Second Generation' Subjectivity and the Road 'Home' in Portugal (2011) and La Commedia des ratés (2011)

Michael Gott

This article examines two graphic novels published in 2011, Portugal by Cyril Pedrosa and La Commedia des ratés [Holy Smoke] by Olivier Berlion, within the thematic and technical context of the French 'return' road movie, an increasingly prevalent category. Recent debates in political, cultural and academic spheres have focused on competing conceptions of Frenchness – traditional republicanism and multiculturalism – as well as the place of the 'second- or third-generation' descendants of immigrants. This article argues that Portugal and La Commedia des ratés, as quasi-autobiographic 'return' to origins narratives, represent compelling insight into the subjectivity of second-generation diasporic populations in France. I will also examine how these works employ the 'ninth art' to create fresh twists on the 'return' story. Finally, I will explore the graphic and narrative depictions of travel in each work, adapting Teresa Bridgeman's theory of 'world building' and 'world-switching' in bande dessinée. I argue that Portugal offers a compelling approach, re-creating on the page the effect of the cinematic 'traveling montage'.