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.2 The French language also represents a highly charged common cultural ground marking the boundaries of French society.
“All history is contemporary history,” observed Benedetto Croce. Work on the French Revolution has often proven his insight.* In today’s globalizing climate, it is worth examining French revolutionary historians’ uneven embrace of the current historiographic trend toward transnational approaches. On one hand, scholarship has been comparatively slow to take this turn for several reasons, notably the persistent belief in the centrality of the nation. The revolutionaries themselves built claims of French exceptionalism into their construction of universalism, and historians have inherited the strong sense that the Revolution held particular power and played an integral role in constructing French national identity.
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.
Opinion Surveys on Women's Roles and Opportunities in Belle Epoque France
Lenard R. Berlanstein
This essay uses readers' opinion surveys in Femina, a unique, high-circulation fashion magazine that championed women's rights, to study the reception of feminist ideas. The readers were fashion-conscious and well-off provincial bourgeoises, a group that might have had conservative attitudes on gender roles. Yet, the many thousands of responses reveal a profound desire to expand women's identities beyond domesticity. About a third of the readers were even indignant that women lacked the freedoms of men. Most others looked forward to a future when society would offer women more opportunities to utilize their talents while reaffirming the satisfactions of familial roles. The surveys show that Frenchwomen were redefining femininity in a more individualistic direction though national emergencies as 1914 approached would make them hesitant about pressing their cause.
Changements idéologiques et étiquetages politiques
This article draws on two research strategies to analyze the radicalizing effects of "Sarkozyism" in France. The first uses the computer program ALCESTE to compare systematically the presidential campaign discourses of Jacques Chirac and Nicolas Sarkozy as a way to evaluate how Sarkozy has altered the ideology of the French right. This analysis shows that a radicalization of the French right has in fact taken place with regard to questions of immigration, national identity, and sécurité. The second strategy makes use of the sociology of labeling to analyze expressions of "anti-Sarkozyism" on the internet. A cartographic study of the web sheds light on the variety and dynamism of this anti-Sarkozyism, and in so doing helps us take the full measure of Sarkozyism's strong polarizing effects.
nostalgie et authenticité dans la chanson néo-réaliste
France's retro rock music (chanson néo-réaliste) of the 1990s and 2000s favors acoustic music and "old-fashioned" instruments such as the accordion in order to reject today's fascination with novelty and consumerism. In doing so, this music genre looks back to pre-war France and rehabilitates an all-white national culture that is problematically nostalgic, in a similar fashion to the film Amélie. This article explores the ways in which chanson néo-réaliste still manages to forge a sense of protest identity in contemporary France, while engaging in apparently reactionary tactics. The specificities of this music genre are explored through an analysis of the lyrics, music, iconography and performance of, primarily, the group Têtes Raides, while contrasting their nostalgia of "protest" with that of the more commercially successful genre of variétés.
Eugenia C. Kiesling The Legacy of the French Revolutionary Wars: The Nation-in-Arms in French Republican Memory by Alan Forrest
Holly Grout Colette’s Republic: Work, Gender, and Popular Culture in France, 1870–1914 by Patricia A. Tilburg
Laird Boswell Alsace to the Alsatians? Visions and Divisions of Alsatian Regionalism, 1870–1939 by Christopher J. Fischer
Rosemary Wakeman Paris Under Water: How the City of Light Survived the Great Flood of 1910 by Jeffrey H. Jackson
Nicole Rudolph Internationalism, National Identities, and Study Abroad by Whitney Walton
Carolyn J. Eichner Colonial Metropolis: The Urban Grounds of Anti-Imperialism and Feminism in Interwar Paris by Jennifer Anne Boittin
Robert Zaretsky The French Who Fought for Hitler: Memories from the Outcasts by Philippe Carrard
Paul V. Dutton Conflicts of Interest and the Future of Medicine: The United States, France, and Japan by Marc A. Rodwin
James Shields Party Competition Between Unequals: Strategies and Electoral Fortunes in Western Europe by Bonnie M. Meguid
Jonathan Laurence Secularism and State Policies Toward Religion: The United States, France and Turkey by Ahmet T. Kuru
Johanna Siméant Casualties of Care: Immigration and the Politics of Humanitarianism in France by Miriam Ticktin
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.)
une géographie à inventer
This article argues that the way French society comprehends its territory is not only an aspect of a more general identity crisis, but also an acting component of an overall political model. France can be characterized as a "state-fatigued" society. Centralism has had an important spatial consequence: an alliance of the nation-state and provincial "notables" against the city. The major cities, especially Paris, produce for the rest of the country but continue to be denied effective local and regional political power. In this context, the peculiar tradition of aménagement du territoire can be analyzed as a discourse based on the myth of a demiurge, the state, which would be the only legitimate actor able to restore France's grandeur by reconquering the deprived parts of its territory. Correlative public polices target moral compensation for a supposed injustice: a partial reimbursement of the debt France once contracted by incorporating the provinces into the national territory. After reviewing disappointing recent changes in the geographical architecture of political power, the article makes some proposals. They are based on the dual framework that an empowerment of relevant spatial units will be necessary and that only a profound and massive debate involving ordinary citizens can overcome the current institutional gridlock.
Misplacing the Dilemmas of the European Union--In Memory of Stanley Hoffmann
Charles S. Maier
prisoners. 11 Even those writers who were most aware of and celebrated the formative adversarial pressures that have built national identities, including Hegel, Proudhon, Pasquale Turiello, and Carl Schmitt, among others, have tended to focus on interstate