The Second World War challenged the well-established circulation of cultural practices between France and Britain. But it also gave individuals, communities, states, and aspiring governments opportunities to invent new forms of international cultural promotion that straddled the national boundaries that the war had disrupted. Although London became the capital city of the main external Resistance movement Free France, the latter struggled to establish its cultural agenda in Britain, owing, on the one hand, to the British Council’s control over French cultural policies and, on the other hand, to the activities of anti-Gaullist Resistance fighters based in London who ascribed different purposes to French arts. While the British Council and a few French individuals worked towards prolonging French cultural policies that had been in place since the interwar period, Free French promoted rather conservative and traditional images of France so as to reclaim French culture in the name of the Resistance.
French Cultural Policies in Britain during the Second World War
From Consolidation to Collapse?
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.
Michèle Lamont and Nicolas Duvoux
This essay considers changes in the symbolic boundaries of French society under the influence of neo-liberalism. As compared to the early nineties, stronger boundaries toward the poor and blacks are now being drawn, while North-African immigrants and their offsprings continue to be largely perceived as outside the community of those who deserve recognition and protection. Moreover, while the social reproduction of upper-middle-class privileges has largely remained unchanged, there is a blurring of the symbolic boundaries separating the middle and working class as the latter has undergone strong individualization. Also, youth are now bearing the brunt of France's non-adaptation to changes in the economy and are increasingly marginalized. The result is a dramatic change in the overall contours of the French symbolic community, with a narrowed definition of cultural membership, and this, against a background of growing inequality, unemployment, and intolerance in a more open and deregulated labor market.
Nineteenth-Century French Guiana
This article explores the relationship between law and violence against slaves in nineteenth-century French Guiana. Drawing on unpublished sources from the colonial archives, Spieler examines the linked problems of slave abuse and slave flight to understand the evolving character of the French imperial state in the aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars. In the early nineteenth century, after the abolition of the slave trade, imperial administrators in Guiana contested the proprietary privileges of masters and lay claim to the right to punish slaves. During the 1820s and 1830s, slave testimony—especially the testimony of abused slaves (inside and outside the courtroom)—became unexpectedly central to this dispute between masters and administrators about the source of legitimate violence and the meaning of imperial sovereignty.
Une solution pour deux histoires
The comparative history of secularization in France and in Geneva can shed fresh light on the separation of church and state in France in 1905 and in Geneva in 1907. Similarities in the timing of events and in the laws of separation in these two settings mask sharp differences in how laïcité was understood and how it was interpreted politically. The establishment of laïcité had neither the same causes nor the same political effects in France and Geneva. Nevertheless, as two examples of "total" laïcisation, the French and Genevan separations of church and state raised the same question about religious liberty and its safeguard by the state. Should a state that is "separate from religion" play an active role protecting the liberty of the different denominations in its territory, or should it uphold a prudent and distanced neutrality?
Noces de diamant ou chronique d'un divorce annoncé?
The proposal of 9 May 1950 by Robert Schuman to put coal and steel industries under a common High Authority was a signal of reconciliation with the new Germany. General de Gaulle, in spite of his opposition to the federal perspective, decided to implement the Treaty of Rome (1957) establishing a common market between France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg. The French presidents and the German chancellors maintained a strong relationship despite differences of views about British application, NATO, trade and monetary policies, institutional development and, more recently, the consequences of the collapse of the Soviet empire.
Though it is generally agreed that André Siegfried (1875-1959) was one of the most enduring and influential French commentators on the United States between the 1920s and the 1950s, scholars do not agree on the extent to which he should be considered anti-American. This article concludes that while Siegfried found the American social model to be profoundly unsettling, and that his views of the country's population were consistently informed by racist assumptions, he also evinced some admiration for its economic dynamism and regarded it as a necessary if problematic partner. Moreover, for much of his career many American commentators regarded Siegfried as a perceptive and fair-minded observer of their country, though by the 1950s his racist views drew increasing criticism. Siegfried's career thus illustrates the complexities of French intellectual anti-Americanism.
The 2012 French presidential election witnessed an increase in discussion about the European Union and its policies. To an equal degree the two top contenders, Nicolas Sarkozy and Fran?ois Hollande, criticized European policies and made promises to rectify EU mistakes, if elected. European institutions and decisions became scapegoats for domestic failures and tough economic choices, reflecting a long-term surge in Euroscepticism among French voters, especially in comparison to EU averages. Both candidates sought advantage by engaging in “EU-Negative“ campaigns to be able to mobilize as many potential voters as possible. Surprisingly, a half-year of EU criticisms has not led, at least in the short term, to a further increase in anti-EU positions in the public opinion.
The Conseil National des Femmes Françaises (1901-1939)
Focusing on the history of the Conseil national des femmes françaises, composed mainly of Jewish and Protestant women, this article shows how women's philanthropies played an important role in defining the scope and the type of welfare policies concerning mothers and children in France in the first half of the twentieth century. Their version of laïcité raises also several questions: did the religious question recede behind the social question? What role did the different religious distinctions continue to play in shaping welfare measures during the Third Republic? What was their role in defining the meaning of laïcité for social policies at this time? This paper shows that the main French social policy of allocations familiales, adopted in 1932, is the product of intense tensions between Church familialism and state maternalism. Catholic familialism promoted the home as the center of women's activity, lobbied against women's professional work, and refused any intervention of the state in family affairs. State maternalism, promoted primarily by religious minorities and some nonreligious feminists, wanted state intervention in protecting mothers and children. These deeply convinced republicans sought to change family laws and improve family morals. If these Protestant and Jewish philanthropies succeeded in defining the mainstream of laïcité during the first thirty years of the Third Republic, they failed to have a bigger impact on social legislation when the big leap to a national family allowance system was established in 1932.
Pablo Facundo Escalante
“Our discipline works under a tacit presupposition of teleology .” —Reinhart Koselleck At the end of the nineteenth century, republicanism became the mythomoteur on which France’s identity was shaped throughout the following century. Back then, the