The 2007 Presidential election has been the occasion of a fierce debate between Nicolas Sarkozy and Segolène Royal on the issue of national identity. The victory of Nicolas Sarkozy has led to the creation of a Ministry of National Identity and Immigration, linking in a controversial way the management of newcomers and their acceptance of allegedly historical national "values." This article examines the debate during the campaign. It provides an analysis of the reasons why the definition and defense of national identity was discussed in the course of the election, and outlines the viewpoints of the two candidates on this issue. Finally, it argues that the temptation to fix politically the content of national identity is an ancient one in France. What has been presented as part of Nicolas Sarkozy's "rupture" with the past in this domain is in fact the latest development of a form of "state nationalism" that has been prevailing in France in recent decades.
“L'Affaire des Quotas” and the Shattered “Image of 1998” in Twenty-First-Century France
Christopher S. Thompson
Since the mid-1990s, France's national soccer team has been given considerable significance in French debates about post-colonial immigration, national identity, republican citizenship, and the enduring legacies of French imperialism. This article explores the role played by representations of the team in those debates with a particular focus on the so-called “affaire des quotas” of 2010–2011. It argues that those representations reveal that the boundary between the purportedly inclusive civic nationalism of French republicanism according to which any person willing to embrace the duties and rights of democratic citizenship may theoretically become French, and the exclusionary ethnic nationalism of the xenophobic Front national is far less impermeable than is generally assumed in France. Indeed, race and ethnicity inform notions of French citizenship even among persons who reject the essentialist views of the Far Right.
This article analyzes references to history and, a fortiori, to memory in official French discourse during and after German unification. It shows that the understanding of the past complies, in every sense of the word, with France's European policy. Entirely oriented towards the promotion and justification of the European future, official memory distorts some historical facts in order to exorcise the present of a cumbersome past. Because it serves as a means of deferring to the national interest rather than as an end in itself, this representation of the past shows the limits of the official memory.
This article examines the political style and rhetoric of the Manif pour tous (MPT), the main organization opposing same-sex marriage in France, from summer 2013 to the present. It exposes how the MPT’s style and rhetoric differ from those of their American counterparts, and what this tells us about the different strategies of political movements in France and the United States generally. It is based on an analysis of the language used by activists whom I interviewed in 2014 and 2015 and on a discourse analysis of the MPT’s website, Facebook page, Twitter feed, and press releases since 2013. This analysis of the distinctive features of the MPT brings to light underlying concerns about French identity in the face of globalization. In other words, for the MPT and its members, what is at stake is not just same-sex marriage but the very definition of Frenchness.
Caribbean Activism and the Invention of a National Memory of Slavery in France
French society and given too much space for particular group identities. Indeed, from the late 1990s into the 2000s, the struggles of Caribbean activists turned the national conversation toward France’s involvement in the enslavement of Africans. The
From French Others to Othering Frenchness
national identity on its head—showing how postcolonial outsiders could also construct imperial identities, rather than simply having indigenous identities thrust upon them—it also reveals how anti-imperial agents weighed in on Frenchness as they examined
Jeffrey Jackson The Place de la Bastille: The Story of a Quartier by Keith Reader
Carol E. Harrison Heroes and Legends of Fin-de-siècle France: Gender, Politics, and National Identity by Venita Datta
Marie-Emmanuelle Chessel Women and Mass Consumer Society in Postwar France by Rebecca Pulju
Mark Ingram Trade of the Tricks: Inside the Magician's Craft by Graham Jones
Pepper D. Culpepper Contingent Capital: Short-Term Investors and the Evolution of Corporate Governance in France and Germany by Michel Goyer
Negotiating Space for Ethnic Minorities in Europe
Jennifer Fredette, Constructing Muslims in France: Discourse, Public Identity, and the Politics of Citizenship (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2014).
Maxwell Rahsaan, Ethnic Minority Migrants in Britain and France: Integration Trade-Offs (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012).
This article reviews two books that address the inherently complicated puzzle of ethnic minority accommodation in Europe. These works recognize the pressing need to understand the parameters within which minority populations and states build relationships and delineate identities, and thus the process of minority inclusion. In doing so they contribute to interdisciplinary scholarship devoted to examining how host societies manage the real and perceived threats to social, economic, and political cohesion. But questions remain. How should we define the concept of successful integration and how must we measure it? What are the factors driving successful versus failed integration? How do these factors change over time and across national contexts?
The Transition from Ultranationalism to Pan-Europeanism by the Interwar French Fascist Right
This article considers the emergence of pan-European discourse and the creation of transnational networks by the intellectual extreme Right during the interwar and occupation years. Through a close reading of the essays, speeches, and texts of French fascist intellectuals Abel Bonnard, Alphonse de Châteaubriant, and Pierre Drieu la Rochelle, the author contends that it was during the interwar and wartime decades that the French extreme Right transitioned from its traditional ultranationalism to a new concept of French national identity as European identity. More importantly, these three leading fascist intellectuals worked to distinguish their concept of European federation and transnational cultural exchange as anterior to and independent of submission to Nazi Germany. It was, therefore, in the discourse and the transnational socio-professional networks of the interwar period that we can find the foundation for the new language of Europeanism that became ubiquitous among the postwar Eurofascists and the Nouvelle Droite today.
Eugen Weber's Peasants into Frenchmen has had an enduring impact on historians of European nationalism. This article situates Weber's influence on the field of nationalism and focuses on regions that played a crucial role in his analysis: peripheries. Peripheries are central to historians studying the construction of the French nation and the forging of contemporary European identity. Scholars have moved beyond Weber by developing a dynamic model of the relationship between center and periphery, and they have paid close attention to the relationship between regional and national identities. While the field of nationalism has evolved substantially since Weber's time, the questions he posed over thirty years ago still lie at the center of scholarly concerns.