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Objects of Dispute

Planning, Discourse, and State Power in Post-War France

Edward Welch

modernized French future in the present of the 1960s and 1970s. Recent accounts of spatial production in post-war France, by Busbea, Cupers, and Wakeman among others, have drawn on and underlined the vast quantity of discursive material produced as part of

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L'État éducateur politique dans les campagnes du dix-neuvième siècle

Lectures franco-méditerranéennes d'Eugen Weber

Gilles Pécout

This article explores the role of the state as a vector of political acculturation in the French and Euro-Mediterranean countryside in the nineteenth century. It begins with a consideration of the importance of the reciprocal images of peasants and elites. It goes on to discuss how the terms "modernization" and "modernity" have been called into question, largely on account of how historians have deployed arguments originating in the disciplines of economics and anthropology. Finally, it examines how the debate about the role of the state in rural politicization, based on readings of Eugen Weber's classic book, Peasants into Frenchmen: The Modernization of Rural France (1870-1914), goes beyond the simple question of the efficiency of the administration and opens up a wider inquiry into the virtual integration of people into the state and the role of rural elites in mediating between the local and the national.

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Regulating Multiplexes

The French State between Corporatism and Globalization

Graeme Hayes

Since the mid-1980s, the growth of multiplex cinemas has transformed the social, industrial, and spatial logics of film exhibition across western Europe. Pioneered in the United States, where they were developed in the mid-1970s as “destination anchors” in suburban retail centers, multiplexes first appeared in Europe in Belgium (as early as 1975), Sweden (1980), and the United Kingdom (1985). In France, multiplex development started comparatively late; a first wave of comprehensive theater modernization and rationalization, launched in the 1960s, had already created a distinctive national model of multiscreen complexes (such that one observer was moved to argue that, by the late 1980s, “without false modesty, France’s film theaters are the most attractive in Europe and among the best in the world”).

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The Mendès France Milk Regime

Alcoholism as a Problem of Agricultural Subsidies, 1954–1955

Joseph Bohling

In 1954, Pierre Mendès France committed the state to curbing alcoholism as part of an effort to reorient important agricultural sectors and improve French economic performance, using milk as a symbol of his government's new direction. While Mendès France's milk drinking was often portrayed as the whim of a maverick politician, this article shows instead that it was the expression of a broadly based movement to modernize the economy. Challenging the view of an insular state that exclusively served the powerful alcohol lobbies, this article contends that the success of alcohol reform hinged on Mendès France's ability to overcome parliament and pit other economic sectors and a public health movement against those lobbies. Although it would require the more centralized authority of the Fifth Republic to implement lasting reforms to the alcohol sector, the Mendès France government helped raise public awareness about the purported link between alcoholism and agricultural subsidies that kept uncompetitive producers on the land at the taxpayer's expense.

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Hélène Périvier and Rebecca Rogers

This article considers how women adopted a “scientific” statistical language at the end of the nineteenth century to draw attention to their role in the moral and social economy. It explores in particular the messages contained in La Statistique générale de la femme française, a series of eighteen murals that the moderate feminist Marie Pégard sent for exhibition at the Woman’s Building at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. The article begins by considering the place statistics held in France in the final decades of the century within the context of universal exhibitions. It then examines Pégard’s choice of quantified categories of social analysis to convey a sustained argument about the comparative weight of women in a modernizing French economy. The article seeks to understand how contemporaries read and interpreted the graphs, and how this mode of rendering visible the issue of women’s work played into the politics of an emerging feminist movement.

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The Rise of the Anglo-Saxon

French Perceptions of the Anglo-American World in the Long Twentieth Century

Emile Chabal

This article attempts to reconstruct a genealogy of one of the most ubiquitous terms in contemporary French politics: the Anglo-Saxon. It traces the emergence of the term in the second half of the nineteenth century and examines its numerous meanings through the twentieth century. Rather than assume that references to the Anglo-Saxon have been little more than straightforward forms of anti-Americanism or Anglophobia, it suggests that the term has been mobilized in specific debates, both as a reflection of French decline and as an alternative “model“ to which France should aspire. A study of the notion of the Anglo-Saxon thus offers insight into how the French have imagined two of their most prominent global competitors and how they have come to terms with the consequences of social and economic modernization.

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Liberating the Land or Absorbing a Community

Managing North African Migration and the Bidonvilles in Paris's Banlieues

Melissa K. Byrnes

In the late-1950s, the Parisian suburbs of Saint-Denis and Asnières-sur-Seine launched major urban renovation projects to eliminate the bidonvilles, shantytowns that often housed North African migrants. While Asnières viewed the bidonville occupants as obstacles to modernization, Saint-Denis billed its efforts as a humanitarian project to provide migrants with better housing and to support migrants' rights and social welfare. Officials in Asnières used their renovation plans to bring new, metropolitan French, families into the reclaimed areas and redistribute the single male workers outside their city. Dionysien officials, however, aimed at inclusion, providing new accommodation within the city for many families and a majority of workers. The renovation efforts in these two cities demonstrate the diversity of French reactions to North African migrants, suggest the existence of alternative notions of local community identity, and highlight the importance of the Algerian War in defining France's migration framework.

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Les Assurances Sociales

une contribution à la modernisation de la société française dans l'entre-deux-guerres?

Bruno Valat

The 1930 law creating social insurance was the Third Republic's great achievement in the social arena. However, the historiography of contemporary France contains barely a trace of this achievement. Victim of the regime's discredit as well as of the lack of any reformist political efforts in its favor, social insurance of the 1930s has also suffered by comparison to later achievements, particularly the creation of Social Security in 1945. However, if we study social insurance in its own historical context—and not in reference to the postwar period—, it can constitute an original source for the study of the modernization of French society. This article proposes three approaches: social insurance constitutes a vector for the acculturation of the working class to retirement and to the medicalization of health, contributing to the history of working class uses and representations of consumption and social rights. On a more institutional level, the experience of social insurance reveals the first legal experiments with co-gestion involving employers, workers, and insurance organizations. Finally, a prosopographical study of the militant trajectories linked to social insurance could contribute to the history of the working-class movement between 1930 and the end of the Thirty Glorious Years: is there a "social insurance generation" within French syndicalism?

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Scientists in Time of War

World War II, the Cold War, and Science in the United States and France

Dominique Pestre

Before addressing its central concern—the convergence of science, war, institutions, and politics in the postwar period in France and the United States—, this essay evokes how scientific knowledge had been of importance to warfare and economic elites in the preceding centuries. In the 1940s and 1950s, scientific activities were profoundly redefined. A culture of laboratory solutions, of calculus, and management won the day. For the scientists, that meant versatility and a willingness to work between disciplines and métiers and to confront the nation's main concerns. It also led to increasingly technocratic versions of politics. Due to science, the state became a managerial apparatus, a "modernizer" arbitrating among different scenarios. Contrary to what happened in the United States, science was not center stage in France in the 1940s and early 1950s. The habitus of scientists was that of the prewar period, and they were still not technique-oriented. They had a more cultural definition of their trade and were not opportunists whose aim was to become pragmatically efficient in the world of business and military action. From the mid-1950s, things started to evolve due to a strong economic recovery and because French scientists had now caught up with the latest developments. The final break, however, occurred in France only when de Gaulle abandoned the Algerian war and elected for an autonomous nuclear deterrence system. By putting la stratégie de l'arsenal at the core of national development, de Gaulle significantly transformed French science, society, industry, and the military.

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Aro Velmet and Rachel Kantrowitz

, Jewish areas—in particular the seaside suburb of La Goullette and the Jewish hara —were seen as prospects for hygienic modernization. Those districts were perceived as neither French nor Arab, neither fully modern nor “authentically” Oriental, existing