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Challenging the Absurd?

Sartre’s Article on Kafka and the Fantastic

Jo Bogaerts

Sartre’s Early Literary Criticism as Political Writing It is perhaps because of the political nature and animated style of What Is Literature – the full-fledged monograph in which Jean-Paul Sartre, in 1947, set out to launch the concept of a

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‘This Is a Farce’

Sartrean Ethics in History, 1938–1948 – From Kantian Universalism to Derision

Juliette Simont

Translator : Ârash Aminian Tabrizi

political dimensions were as one. It was a propitious situation for the heroism of freedom, a situation which sets up the tone of the Essai d’ontologie phénoménologique and is expressed best by a formulation found in a post-war article: ‘Jamais nous n

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Political Radicalism in France

Perspectives on a Protean Concept

James Shields

This introductory article reflects on the new momentum that political radicalism has taken on in France. The ebb and flow of radical aspiration featured regularly in French politics under the Fourth and early Fifth Republics, before the failure of the "Socialist experiment" in the early 1980s brought about a paradigm shift. In the wake of this failure and with the "end of ideology" supposedly in sight, political leaders and parties tempered their appeals to radical solutions and conspired, not least through recurrent power-sharing, to vacate mainstream political discourse of much of its former radicalism. Since the presidential election of 2007, however, there has been a marked return to promises of radical change as the common currency of political discourse across the full left-right spectrum in France. This article introduces a special issue of French Politics, Culture & Society that brings together scholars from France, Britain, and Canada to discuss some of the meanings, expressions, and prospects of political radicalism in France today.

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Colonizing Revolutionary Politics

Algeria and the French Revolution of 1848

Jennifer E. Sessions

This article examines the key role of the French colony in Algeria in the political culture of the Revolution of 1848. Eugène Cavaignac and other army officers with Algerian experience led the state's repression of radical unrest, and their colonial backgrounds became a central narrative trope in debates about political violence in France, especially after the June Days uprising. Following the closure of the National Workshops, legislators adopted a major scheme for working-class emigration to and settlement in Algeria to replace the workshops and resolve unrest. Throughout 1848, Algeria operated as a symbolic and practical field for the struggle between social and political revolution in France.

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From Political Fringe to Political Mainstream

The Front National and the 2014 Municipal Elections in France

Gabriel Goodliffe

presidential election in which FN founder and candidate Jean-Marie Le Pen shocked the French political establishment by reaching the second-round runoff. These successes gave the party 1,498 municipal council seats (versus a paltry fifty-nine in 2008), not only

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From Republican Political Culture to Republican Democracy

The Benefits and Burdens of History

Dick Howard

Marx called France the political nation par excellence, as contrasted to economic England and philosophical Germany. But Marx arrived at his mature theory only after a stern critique of a “merely political” view of revolution. And some of his most important insights are developed in analyses of the failures of revolution in France. While Marx’s observation is insightful, the theoretical conclusions he drew from it are problematic. The monarchy in France was not absolute because it was all-powerful or arbitrary; its power came from the means by which it dominated all spheres of life, transforming an administrative and territorial entity into a political nation. In the wake of the Revolution, the republican tradition became equally absolute; it came to define what the French mean by the political (a concept whose use differs from what “Anglo-Saxons” define as politics).

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Political Campaigns and Civic Culture

Comparing Canvassing and Party Structures in the French and American 2012 Presidential Campaigns

Julien Talpin

waiting room of the OFA office is silent. Gradually, though, they will become a group. The five-hour bus trip to Las Vegas gives volunteers the chance to get to know each other, exchanging political recollections (Obama’s victory in 2008), opinions on the

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Larry Busk

This article considers Sartre's perspective on political violence with reference to his 1948 play Dirty Hands. Focusing on the concrete political questions that confronted Sartre in his context, it traces the development and result of conversations with Merleau-Ponty, Camus and the Marxist tradition that shaped his thinking on this subject. At the end of this dialectical process, Sartre arrived at a position that refused both bourgeois humanism, with its disavowal of political violence, and what is here termed Official Communism – the prevailing Manichean politics of his day and the institutionalized repression that went along with it. In other words, he affirmed the violence of the political without by that token affirming the politics of violence. It is argued here that these conversations and this conclusion are dramatically illustrated in Dirty Hands.

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Pierre H. Boulle

Sue Peabody, “There Are No Slaves in France”: The Political Culture of Race and Slavery in the Ancien Régime (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996).

Laurent Dubois, Les Esclaves de la République. L’histoire oubliée de la première émancipation, 1789-1794, transl. by Jean-François Chaix (Paris: Calmann-Lévy, 2000).

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Law and Politics in Interwar France

Pierre Laroque's Search for a Democratic Corporatism

Eric Jabbari

Pierre Laroque, the architect of French social security, emerged during the 1930s as an advocate for the corporatist management of industrial relations. Laroque's corporatist views were an outgrowth of his educational background and his experiences as a young civil servant. A member of the Conseil d'État, he came under the influence of the main doctrines of French public law. During the first half of the twentieth century, legal thinkers such as Léon Duguit and Maurice Hauriou elaborated theoretical justifications for the growing interventionism of the state. As a student of the law, Pierre Laroque became concerned with maintaining the balance between the necessity of state intervention and the preservation of individual and collective rights, thus explaining his interest in administrative decentralization. By the mid-1930s, after being assigned to the Conseil National Économique, he became interested in industrial conflict and applied a similar approach to the issue of collective bargaining. Impressed by the social achievements of Fascist Italy, Laroque advocated the corporatist management of industrial relations, an objective that he promoted in a succession of political and intellectual forums associated with the nonconformist movement. A new collective bargaining mechanism would bring together the state, business, and labor in order to mediate and resolve industrial disputes. Unlike the Fascists, however, this form of corporatism did not break with democratic or republican principles; rather, it was a decentralized administrative structure that compensated for the weaknesses of the collective bargaining process while providing a new forum for the cultivation of social solidarity.