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La course au centre

Policy Convergence and Partisanship in France, 1981-2002

Sally Marthaler

Policy convergence between the political parties and the perception among voters that there is little to choose between left and right may be factors in the declining levels of partisanship observed in many advanced industrial democracies, including France, where these conditions emerged in the 1980s. Drawing on both quantitative and qualitative data, this article analyzes changes in the actual and perceived level of convergence between the mainstream parties in France from 1981 to 2002. It finds evidence of increasing policy convergence over the period as a result of a combination of endogenous and exogenous factors. It concludes that left-right ideological labels are still important to voters, even though they too have moved to the center, and that many of them want to see a clear dividing-line between the parties. The blurring of the boundaries between left and right and the “reversibility” of the mainstream parties has also enhanced the appeal of alternative and extremist parties.

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Sean M. Quinlan Patriotic Taste: Collecting Modern Art in Pre-Revolutionary Paris by Colin B. Bailey

Eugenia Kiesling The Tour de France by Christopher Thompson

Éléonore Lépinard Gender Quotas, Parity Reform, and Political Parties in France by Katherine A. R. Opello

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Demos and Nation

Misplacing the Dilemmas of the European Union--In Memory of Stanley Hoffmann

Charles S. Maier

restricted scope of the European parliament and the under-developed state of political parties at the European level to allow a robust civic Euro-patriotism to thrive remains in question. In any case we have returned to the point where nations are more

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Jocelyn Evans

Political parties use policy radicalism as a means of attaining electoral success. Differentiation from other parties and ideological renewal after a period of incumbency or prolonged opposition are valid reasons for policy innovation, but excessive radicalization has a number of detrimental effects, including mismanaging voter expectations. This article analyzes a number of examples of policy radicalization under the French Fifth Republic. It starts from concepts taken from policy mood and spatial competition models, and examines how French political parties of both Left and Right have overreached in their ideological stances, and thereby exacerbated political disenchantment among the French public. The article concludes by looking at the notion that mainstream politicians may not be acting in their own best interests when they radicalize the political agenda by misreading electoral competitive cues.

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Gérard Grunberg

The 2007 presidential elections have been the most important in France since 1981 because they provoked ruptures in the way the state and the French political system function. These ruptures, which this essay explores, include: the structural advantage the Right now has over the Left in national elections; the extension of the president's power and role in the regime; the transformation of the French political parties system into bipartism; and, finally, evolution inside the two major French parties due not only to the personality, ideas and choices of their respective candidates but also to the growing role of the president in the regime and its effects.

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William F.S. Miles

On 17 April 2008, at the age of ninety-four, the foremost Black French intellectual-cum-politician of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries passed away. Born in the northwestern fishing village of Basse Pointe on the southeastern Caribbean island of Martinique on 26 June 1913, Aimé Césaire rose from humble beginnings to become a giant in the annals of colonial and postcolonial francophone literature. As the holder of several elected offices, from city mayor of the capital of Martinique to representative in the National Assembly of France, he was also a significant political actor. He was largely responsible for the legislation that, following World War II, elevated four of France’s “Old Colonies” in the West Indies and Indian Ocean into full French states (départements). A dozen years later he founded a political party that would struggle to roll back the very assimilating, deculturalizing processes that statehood (départementalisation) unleashed.

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Radical or Not So Radical?

Tactical Variation in Core Policy Formation by the Front National

James Shields

Starting from a number of general tenets about radical political parties, this article examines the Front National (FN) in relation to its core policy issue of immigration. To what extent has FN immigration policy been defined from the outset by its radicalism? Has that radicalism been constant or variable over time? And how far can a reciprocal influence be detected between the FN and the center Right in immigration policy formulation? Focusing on election campaigns, manifestos, and key moments in the FN's evolution, the article assesses how the party has tailored its radicalism to contextual factors and tactical considerations. It reveals an FN less bound to a fixed policy and more ready to seek accommodation (with circumstance, public opinion, or the center Right) than is generally acknowledged. Conversely, it also assesses how the FN's mobilization of strong support on the immigration issue has had radicalizing effects on the center Right. The article concludes by considering whether the change of leadership in January 2011 might confine the FN to the radical Right or see it adopt a more center-oriented course.

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The New Biography: Performing Femininity in Nineteenth-Century France, Jo Burr Margadant, ed. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000). Review by Elizabeth E. Covington, University of California at Los Angeles

Raymond Jonas, France and the Cult of the Sacred Heart: An Epic for Modern Times (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2000). Review by Caroline Ford, University of British Columbia

Cécile Laborde, Pluralist Thought and the State in Britain and France, 1900-25 (New York: St. Martin’s Press, St. Antony’s Series, 2000). Review by Judith F. Stone, Western Michigan University

Linda L. Clark, The Rise of Professional Women in France: Gender and Public Administration since 1830 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000). Review by Karen Offen, Stanford University

Carolyn Warner, Confessions of an Interest Group: The Catholic Church and Political Parties in Europe (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000). Review by Kimberly J. Morgan, George Washington University

Richard J. Golsan, Vichy’s Afterlife: History and Counterhistory in Postwar France (Lincoln and London: The University of Nebraska Press, 2000). Review by Henry Rousso, IHTP-CNRS

Mouloud Feraoun, Journal 1955-1962: Reflections on the French-Algerian War, ed. with intro. by James D. Le Sueur, trans. Mary Ellen Wolf and Claude Fouillade (Lincoln, NE and London: University of Nebraska Press, 2000). Originally published as Journal 1955-1962 (Paris: Seuil, 1962). Review by Patricia M.E. Lorcin, Texas Tech University

Herman Lebovics, Mona Lisa’s Escort: André Malraux and the Reinvention of French Culture (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1999). Review by Charles Rearick, University of Massachusetts at Amherst

Bernard Lahire, L’Invention de l’ « illettrisme », rhétorique publique, éthique et stigmates (Paris : Éditions La Découverte, 1999). Review by Christian Baudelot, École normale supérieure

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Vincent Pons

of political parties and candidates, who are the main “users” of the new electoral science, may in principle be misaligned with the democratic good. Political parties may in theory use these experimental findings in ways that harm democracy. In

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, political parties Julien Talpin , Political Campaigns and Civic Culture: Comparing Canvassing and Party Structures in the French and American 2012 Presidential Campaigns In 2012 the French Socialist Party imported the “Obama method” to organize the widest