This paper explores the rights-based cosmopolitanism of French anti-GM activists and their challenge to the neoliberal cosmopolitanism of the World Trade Organization and multinational corporations. Activists argue that genetic modification, patents, and WTO-brokered free trade agreements are the means by which multinationals deny people fundamental rights and seek to dominate global agriculture. Through forms of protest, which include cutting down field trials of genetically modified crops, activists resist this agenda of domination and champion the rights of farmers and nations to opt out of the global agricultural model promoted by biotechnology companies. In so doing, they defend the local. This defense, however, is based on a cosmopolitan discourse of fundamental rights and the common good. I argue that activists' cosmopolitan perspective does not transcend the local but is intimately related to a particular understanding of it.
In 1913, famine struck the Sahel from Senegal to Sudan and killed as many as half a million people. French observers barely noted the event. In 1931, a far smaller famine in western Niger caused between 15,000 and 30,000 deaths. This time, the
With FPCS embarking on its fourth decade of publishing work on the study of France and the francophone world, the journal invited scholars in several disciplines to write short essays on where they thought the field of French Studies should head in the future. This essay introduces the resulting dossier on “French Studies and Its Futures.” It situates the project in the current context in which the field is thriving intellectually but struggling with menacing institutional pressures. It goes on to describe the particular formulation of French Studies that the journal came to represent in its early years in the 1980s, how it evolved since, and what that experience suggests about how scholars can respond creatively to the challenges and opportunities the future may hold for the field.
Autopsy of an Ambition
The French carbon tax was to become in 2010 the centerpiece of the country's new climate change mitigation strategy. After a heated public debate, the Constitutional Council, France's higher constitutional law body, censored the executive's proposal, which in turn, in the aftermath of a severe electoral defeat, announced the indefinite postponement of the carbon tax. This article tries to make sense of this important sequence in French contemporary public life by reviewing its different facets: environmental economics, political economy, constitutional law, and finally politics.
Frédéric Martel, The Pink and the Black: Homosexuals in France since 1968, trans. Jane Marie Todd (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1999); Le Rose et le noir: les homosexuels en France depuis 1968, 2nd edition, revised and enlarged (Paris: Seuil, 2000).
Florence Tamagne, Histoire de l’homosexualité en Europe: Berlin, Londres, Paris 1919-1939 (Paris: Seuil, 2000).
Carolyn J. Dean, The Frail Social Body: Pornography, Homosexuality, and Other Fantasies in Interwar France (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000).
Daniel Borrillo, Eric Fassin, and Marcela Iacub, eds., Au-delà du PaCS: l’expertise familiale à l’épreuve de l’homosexualité, (Paris: Presses Universitaire de France, 1999).
Louis-Georges Tin and Geneviève Pastre, eds., Homosexualités: expression/répression, (Paris: Stock, 2000).
A Generation in the Making
In the spring of 2000, the Financial Times eagerly predicted that the world would be piloted by a new global generation of managers who, having been educated at business schools, share similar ideas and values.1 To this generation belong managers in start-up companies that provide goods and services online. These e-managers work with and on the Internet, which reaches worldwide instantly and redefines our concepts of time and place. Since emanagers have the whole world as their “playground,” they are likely to replace traditional nation-based feelings of belonging with new values and identities. French magazines went even further than the Financial Times, stating that since e-managers speak English and have adopted the American way of doing business, they would eventually Americanize French society.2 Or, rather, e-managers would turn France into a society that mirrored the stereotypes of American society that have been prevalent in France.
Why do the French appear as incorrigible anti-Americans? Why is France singled out as a bastion of systematic opposition to US policies? Anti-Americanism can be defined as an unfavorable predisposition towards the United States, which leads individuals to interpret American actions through pre-existing views and negative stereotypes, irrespectively of the facts. It is based on a belief that there is something fundamentally wrong at the essence of what is America. This unfavorable predisposition manifests itself in beliefs, attitudes and rhetoric, which may or may not affect political behavior. Is France, according to this definition, anti-American? It is difficult in practice to distinguish between genuine anti-Americanism (disposition) and genuine criticism of the United States (opinion). It is partly because of this definitional ambiguity that France appears more anti-American than its European partners. While it is not clear that the French have a stronger negative predisposition against the US, they do have stronger opinions about America for at least three main reasons: the deep reservoir of anti-American arguments accumulated over the centuries; the simultaneous coexistence of a variety of types of anti-Americanism; and the costless ways in which anti-Americanism has been used for political benefit. This article explores each of these three features in turn, before discussing briefly the consequences of French anti-Americanism on world politics.
The Administration of Rape in Twenty-First Century France and England & Wales
Nicole Fayard and Yvette Rocheron
In France and England & Wales rape is now understood as a diverse social phenomenon. It is reported, counted, categorized, and dealt with by the authorities as a serious crime. Yet, despite notable initiatives intended to improve the conviction of alleged perpetrators, major hurdles for alleged victims remain. We show how rape is defined and prosecuted in France and England & Wales, and we use statistical analyzes to understand the scale of the problem, still largely unknown. We also discuss recent controversies (attrition rate;loicadre), exploring a culture of scepticism among police and judiciary that causes complaints to be dropped or downgraded to lesser crimes. Our interview material from France explores two difficulties: When is rape not rape? Did the alleged victim consent to the penetration? Finally we analyze the paradoxical role played by voluntary victim support groups that resist but also collude with a complex regulatory system that fails those who do not speak in legitimate codes.
This article adduces evidence of the central role played by scientists in the 1970s and “lay persons” in the post-Chernobyl period in the production and legitimation of alternative types of knowledge and expertise on the environmental and health risks of nuclear energy in France. From a constructivist perspective, it argues that this shift in the relationship of “lay persons” to knowledge production is linked not only to the rise of mistrust vis-à-vis scientific institutions but also, and especially, to a change in the way they have reacted to “dependency” on institutions and to “state secrecy”. Counter-expertise is constructed as a politics of surveillance where alternative interpretations of risk are buttressed by a permanent critique of the epistemic assumptions of institutional expertise. The identity of “counter-expert” is socially elaborated within this process.
Toward an Explanation of Inconsistencies between Framing and Policies
Henri Bergeron, Patrick Castel, and Abigail C. Saguy
The French news media has framed “obesity” largely as a product of corporate greed and social inequality. Yet, France has—like other nations including the United States—adopted policies that focus on changing individual-level behavior. This article identifies several factors—including food industry lobbying, the Ministry of Agriculture’s rivalry with the Ministry of Health and alliance with the food industry, and competition with other policy goals—that favored the development of individual-level policy approaches to obesity in France at the expense of social-structural ones. This case points to the need to more systematically document inconsistencies and consistencies between social problem framing and policies. It also shows that national culture is multivalent and internally contradictory, fueling political and social struggles over which version of national culture will prevail at any given moment.