Contemporary France: A Democratic Education ( Europe Today Series) / Edition 1

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This dynamic introduction to contemporary France analyzes the problems and possibilities of democracy in a globalizing world. France was present at the creation of modern democratic politics in the eighteenth century, yet democratic stability has often eluded the country. Now, as established and new democracies everywhere confront the challenges of globalization—cultural diversity, economic change, the erosion of state sovereignty—France's rich and varied experience contains valuable lessons about what works (democratically speaking) and what does not. Anne Sa'adah describes actors, beliefs, institutions, and policies; she also interprets democratic politics in France in general and explores why and with what political consequences so many people in France experience globalization as a harbinger of national decline. The author is especially attentive to the importance of historical legacies, especially of the centralizing logic of the Old Regime, the Revolution and the expansionary dynamic and internal instability it spawned, World War II, and decolonization. Pivotal chapters focus on France's often dysfunctional system of representation, state-society relations, group politics, social policy, and France's role in Europe and the world.

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Editorial Reviews

This well-informed and sympathetic interpretive essay employs an unusual topical arrangement but covers important themes of French history and culture, institutions and processes, and current problems. Highly recommended.
H-France Review
Students will find her list of recommended readings, including novels and documents, quite helpful, while professors will appreciate her efforts to place the French experience in a global context.
This well-informed and sympathetic interpretive essay employs an unusual topical arrangement but covers important themes of French history and culture, institutions and processes, and current problems. Highly recommended.
Jonah Levy
Anne Sa'adah has penned a wide-ranging and highly readable textbook. Of particular value is the textbook's historical perspective. Sa'adah shows how the constituent pieces of France's historic identity—Republicanism, Gaullism, colonialialism, and statism—continue to structure political debates and struggles even in today's supposedly 'global,' 'post-national' era.
Paul H. Lewis
I was very impressed with Contemporary France because it gives students a grounding in French history since the Revolution that explains the country's ongoing political divisions and attitudes. At the same time, it covers the institutions of the Fifth Republic and shows them at work, trying to resolve contemporary problems. Easy to follow without being patronizingly simple, it is a book that beginners can understand and the better-informed can appreciate.
Janet Laible
This book provides the perfect entry into French politics for undergraduates. Along with being beautifully written, it manages to convey complex ideas and trends in French society and history in a way that is appealing and accessible to undergraduates.
Students will find her list of recommended readings, including novels and documents, quite helpful, while professors will appreciate her efforts to place the French experience in a global context.
W. Brian Newsome
A remarkably adept analysis built on a wide array of primary sources, including speeches, memoirs, press clippings, and government reports.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780742501980
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 2/28/2003
  • Series: Europe Today Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.15 (h) x 0.98 (d)

Meet the Author

Anne Sa'adah is Joel Parker Professor of Law and Political Science in the Department of Government at Dartmouth College.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Introduction: A Democratic Education Part 2 Part I: The Historical and Cultural Foundations of Contemporary French Politics Part 3 Chapter 1: Le Miracle de la France: French Nationalism Chapter 4 Nationalism and the Left: From the Revolution to the Commune Chapter 5 Nationalism and the Right: From the Boulanger Affair to the Great War Chapter 6 World War I Part 7 Chapter 2: World War II and Its Legacies Chapter 8 France, 1939-1945 Chapter 9 Vichy, a Past That Stayed Chapter 10 The Legacies Part 11 Chapter 3: Decolonization and Its Sequels Chapter 12 The Algerian War and Republican Institutions Chapter 13 The Empire Strikes Back: The Algerian War and French Identity Chapter 14 Epilogue Part 15 Chapter 4: Putting Sovereignty First: The Gaullist Vision Chapter 16 The Gaullist Conception of State Sovereignty Chapter 17 Charting Policy Chapter 18 The Gaullist Vision: An Assessment Part 19 Part II: The Institutions, Processes, and Practices of French Politics Part 20 Chapter 5: Political Representation in the Fifth Republic: Back to the Marais? Chapter 21 The Reconstruction of the Left, 1958-1986 Chapter 22 The Failed Recomposition of the Right, 1958-1981 Chapter 23 Institutional and Partisan Confusion, 1984 to the present Chapter 24 Conclusion Part 25 Chapter 6: State-Society Relations in France: An Introduction Chapter 26 Politics and Markets: The Dirigiste State Chapter 27 Selective Capitalism: Social Structure Chapter 28 Capitalism and the Republican Compromise: Ideological Ambiguities Chapter 29 Postwar Economic Growth and Social Change Chapter 30 Conclusion Part 31 Part III: Contemporary Dilemmas Part 32 Chapter 7: Reinventing France: Social Change, Identity, and Citizenship Chapter 33 Winners and Losers in the New France Chapter 34 The New Politics of Identity Chapter 35 Conclusion Part 36 Chapter 8: Getting Past Sovereignty: An Impossible Task? Chapter 37 Rethinking the Means of French Foreign Policy: Sovereignty, Supranationality, and Multilateralism Chapter 38 Testing the Possibilities of French Power: The Yugoslav Disaster Chapter 39 Testing the Possibilities of Supranational Action: Social Protection Chapter 40 Conclusion Part 41 Appendix A: A Chronology of French Regimes Part 42 Appendix B: The Fifth Republic: The Presidents and Their Prime Ministers Part 43 Appendix C: Electoral Laws: An Introduction Part 44 Appendix D: Who's Who in French Politics

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