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Laura L. Frader

Siân Reynolds, France Between the Wars: Gender and Politics (London and New York: Routledge, 1997).

Mary Louise Roberts, Civilization Without Sexes: Reconstructing Gender in Postwar France, 1917-1927 (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1994).

Laura Lee Downs, Manufacturing Inequality: Gender Division in the French and the British Metalworking Industries 1914-1931 (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1995).

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Picturing Politics

Female Political Leaders in France and Norway

Anne Krogstad and Aagoth Storvik

This article explores images of high-level female politicians in France and Norway from 1980 to 2010, examining the ways in which they present themselves to the media and their subsequent reception by journalists. Women in French politics experience difficulties living up to a masculine heroic leadership ideal historically marked by drama, conquest, and seductiveness. In contrast, Norwegian female politicians have challenged the traditional leadership ethos of conspicuous modesty and low-key presentation. We argue that images of French and Norwegian politicians in the media are not only national constructions; they are also gendered. Seven images of women in politics are discussed: (1) men in skirts and ladies of stone, (2) seductresses, (3) different types of mothers, (4) heroines of the past, (5) women in red, (6) glamorous women, and (7) women using ironic femininity. The last three images-color, glamour, and irony-are identified as new strategies female politicians use to accentuate their positions of power with signs of female sensuality. It is thus possible for female politicians to show signs of feminine sensuality and still avoid negative gender stereotyping.

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Paul-Henry Chombart de Lauwe

Catholicism, Social Science, and Democratic Planning

W. Brian Newsome

Over the course of his career, urban sociologist Paul-Henry Chombart de Lauwe evolved from a sociological interpreter of human needs into an advocate of the democratization of city planning. The major factors shaping this trajectory were his contacts with liberal Catholic associations, his education under ethnologist Marcel Mauss, his teaching experience at the École des cadres d'Uriage, and his own studies of working-class communities. Chombart de Lauwe took French urban sociology in novel directions and effected an important and underappreciated liberalization of city planning. Analysis of Chombart de Lauwe also challenges recent trends in the historiography of the Catholic Left.

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Déjà Views

How Americans Look at France

Edward C. Knox

As the (un)diplomatic debates over Iraq in the first months of this year and the attendant media coverage amply attested, the well-known lovers’ quarrel between America and France, an “I Love You, Moi Non Plus”2 mixture of frustration and admiration, gratitude and annoyance, is now into its third century and still going strong, as France and the French clearly continue to inspire strong feelings in Americans.

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Joel Blatt

Gayle K. Brunelle and Annette Finley-Croswhite, Murder in the Metro: Laetitia Toureaux and the Cagoule in 1930s France (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2010).

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Laird Boswell

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.

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Frédéric Sawicki

Why is the Socialist Party (Parti socialiste, PS) the first political party in France to implement a systematic and “scientific” door-to-door canvassing for the 2012 presidential campaign? What internal changes led the PS to adopt this practice? This innovation is not just technical; it is profoundly transforming the roles and activities of party members. As Rémi Lefebvre has pointed out, “rationalized canvassing prioritizes electoral efficiency. In the traditional partisan culture of the PS, campaigns were mostly about conviction and political conflict. Canvassing was a way for members to assert their identity and ‘fight’ together. It was mostly about belonging to a group of party members. Rather, scientific door-to-door canvassing is oriented by an electoral rationality.”

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The Other French Exception

Virtuous Racism and the War of the Sexes in Postcolonial France

Nacira Guénif-Souilamas

Twentieth-century France invented for itself an "exception" that successfully preserved the French culture industry. Postcolonial France is experiencing another "French exception" that renders a "virtuous racism" commonplace and legitimates the discrimination that expresses this racism by identifying the undesirable "new French" as scapegoat figures. Four gender-specific stereotypes strengthen the belief that there is a form of sexism exclusive to the segregated neighborhoods of the suburbs that are inhabited primarily by French people of immigrant and colonial descent. Associated with the central figure of the garçon arabe are the beurette, the veiled Muslim French woman, and the secular Muslim. The article argues that the model of abstract, universalist France has become one of a fundamentalist republicanism that plays diverse expressions of otherness and singular identities off of one another in order to preserve a soft regime of oppression.

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Philip Nord

The interwar years have been characterized as a “watershed” in the history of French Catholicism,1 and it is not hard to see why. The Church had experienced the first decades of the Third Republic as a time of trial and persecution. World War I, however, gave believers reason to look forward to a brighter future. The republican establishment had welcomed the political representatives of Catholic opinion into the Union sacrée. The distress of soldiers and war widows had nourished a revival of popular faith.2 With the return of peace, the Catholic laity plunged into an associational activism of unprecedented proportions. The vaulting edifice of voluntary bodies they constructed reenergized the faith and at the same articulated a Catholic countervision of the proper constitution of la cité.

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Social Quality

The French Case

Denis Bouget and Frederic Salladarré

The objective of this study is to establish a set of indicators capable of forming the empirical basis of the concept of social quality for European citizens. Social quality is defined as the extent to which citizens are able to participate in the social and economic life of their communities under conditions which enhance their well-being and individual potential (Beck et al. 2001: 6). Before analysing the four social quality conditional factors, we will describe some facts surrounding the French situation. Firstly, the general social and economic situation will be described through characteristics which are particularly outstanding in France, i.e., in the first place unemployment and flexibility (in a negative sense comprising working poor, involuntary part-time workers, etc.). In the second place, certain striking features in the four conditional factors of social quality will be emphasised.