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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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Frédéric Sawicki

by an electoral rationality.” 1 To situate the meaning of this innovation for the political culture of the PS, I will first describe the traditional Socialist Party’s repertoire of electoral action. I will then explain how this repertoire became less

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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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Laurence McFalls

In the past century, Germany, for better and for worse, offered itself

as a natural laboratory for political science. Indeed, Germany’s

excesses of political violence and its dramatic regime changes largely

motivated the development of postwar American political science,

much of it the work of German émigrés and German-Jewish

refugees, of course. The continuing vicissitudes of the German experience

have, however, posed a particular challenge to the concept of

political culture as elaborated in the 1950s and 1960s,1 at least in

part to explain lingering authoritarianism in formally democratic

West Germany. Generally associated with political continuity or only

incremental change,2 the concept of political culture has been illequipped

to deal with historical ruptures such as Germany’s “break

with civilization” of 1933-1945 and the East German popular revolution

of 1989. As well, even less dramatic but still important and relatively

rapid cultural changes such as the rise of a liberal democratic

Verfassungspatriotismus sometime around the late 1970s in West Germany3

and the emergence of a postmodern, consumer capitalist culture

in eastern Germany since 19944 do not conform to mainstream

political culture theory’s expectations of gradual, only generational

change. To be sure, continuity, if not inertia, characterizes much of

politics, even in Germany. Still, to be of theoretical value, the concept

of political culture must be able not only to admit but to

account for change.

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A. James McAdams

The future political culture of eastern Germany and, with it, the relationship

between unified Germany’s once divided populations will

depend heavily upon how all Germans respond to a distinctive fact

about the east. The region experienced not one but, counting the

German Democratic Republic (GDR), two separate eras of dictatorship.

This fact can be, and has been, understood in two different

ways, with significantly different implications in each case. The first

is the perspective of the victim. According to this view, the citizens of

the GDR uniquely had to shoulder the burden of having been born,

in effect, “in the wrong place.” Not only did they endure greater

hardships than their western counterparts, such as the rebuilding of

Germany after World War II, but they suffered by themselves

through the debilitating consequences of Soviet occupation and their

inability, until 1990, to act upon the right to “free self-determination”

(to quote the original preamble of the Basic Law). As a result, according

to this argument, easterners were owed special treatment after

unification because of their distinctive misfortunes.

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In Charles Cogan’s article, “The Iraq Crisis and France: Heaven-Sent Opportunity or Problem from Hell?”, French Politics, Culture & Society 22, 3 (Fall 2004), it was stated on page 126 that on 21 December 2002 the French Chief of Staff visited the Pentagon.

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The staff of French Politics, Culture & Society is pleased to congratulate STÉPHANE GERSON, Associate Professor of French Studies, New York University, on winning the fifth Laurence Wylie Prize in French Cultural Studies (2003-2005) awarded by the Association for French Cultural Studies.

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Simeon Mitropolitski

Modern political theory, while defining a democratic political regime, puts an emphasis on institutions and procedures. According to this view, whether a particular country is democratic or not depends on the ability of the opposition to oust the incumbent government without leaving the framework of existing institutions and procedures. Cultural values that sustain the democratic polity, including the spirit of political equality, are given much less attention. These values are assumed to be already present, either as a reflection of our similar physical constitution or as a reflection of the presence of democratic political regimes. This research challenges both the monopoly of the procedural understanding of democracy and the lack of particular interest regarding the construction of egalitarian political culture. I claim, first, that the rise of an egalitarian political culture contributes to the establishment of a democratic political regime and, second, that the establishment of modern schools in the late sixteenth century contributed to the construction of this egalitarian political culture.

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Tereza Novotna

Explanations for the roots and cures of the continuous divergence between East and West German political cultures tend to fall into two camps: socialization and situation. The former emphasizes the impact of socialization before and during the GDR era and ongoing (post-communist) legacies derived from Eastern Germans' previous experience, whereas the latter focuses primarily on economic difficulties after the unification that caused dissatisfaction among the population in the Eastern parts of Germany. The article argues that in order to explain the persistence and reinvigoration of an autonomous political culture during the last two decades in the new Länder, we need to synthesize the two approaches and to add a third aspect: the unification hypothesis. Although the communist period brought about a specific political culture in the GDR, the German unification process—based rather on transplantation than on adaptation—has caused it neither to diminish nor to wither away. On the contrary, the separate (post)-communist political culture was reaffirmed and reinstalled under novel circumstances.