Robert Elgie and Emiliano Grossman
This chapter begins by reviewing the study of executive politics comparatively. It then reviews the study of executive politics in France, showing how scholars based in France were once at the cutting edge of international scholarship in this area. However, with the turn of French political science to political sociology, the study of the French executive tends to be carried out more by scholars outside France and by comparativists rather than by scholars within France itself. In this context, the chapter proposes a research agenda that urges a focus on the application of the new institutionalism to the French case, particularly the comparative work in this area, for an emphasis on the study of personalization and mediatization; for the literature on political psychology to be applied more systematically; for work on coalitions, and government formation and termination, to be extended; and for constructivist approaches to political leadership to be applied.
Nonna Mayer and Vincent Tiberj
The boom in survey research, the increasing internationalization of political science, and the development of large-scale comparative projects have renewed the study of political culture and invalidated the notion of a French “exceptionalism.” But French scholars, influenced by Marxism, social history, and Bourdieu’s legacy of “critical sociology,” still have a different understanding of political culture, and prefer to use other concepts such as ideology. After a rapid overview of the founding studies and debates, this chapter shows how French research on political culture or cultures in the plural developed in its own way, and outlines the major challenges it is facing today on issues such as race and ethnicity, gender, globalization, and poverty.
This chapter proposes an assessment of the state of the study of legislative politics in France. It starts with a review of how the study of legislative politics has developed comparatively over time and identifies the major current debates in the comparative literature. Then it turns to the French case, explaining its weaknesses and peculiarities, and assessing the current state of legislative studies in France. We see that, for a long time, legislative studies were rare in the landscape of French political science. Things, though, have evolved since the end of the 1990s, when there was a renewed scholarly interest in central institutions and actors of the French political regime as well as the emergence of new work that was better connected with the methods, theories, and topics of mainstream legislative studies. Finally, we underline some dimensions of the agenda for the future study of legislative politics in France.
This chapter deals with the way in which French social scientists study their fellow citizens’ national identity. Following Billig, national identity refers here to the way people feel “emotionally situated” within nations, whatever these emotions are; how and to what extent they believe that being French is part of their personal identity. Over recent decades, social scientists all over the world have investigated the complex feelings citizens have about their nations. In France, however, this issue has been somewhat overlooked. This disparity is a consequence of the political context and the role of social scientists in French public debates, as well as a legacy of Bourdieu’s work which has made them well aware of the power of categorization. As a conclusion, the chapter outlines a research agenda in order to overcome this sociological blind spot.
This chapter provides an overview of the ideological character and electoral strengths of populist parties in post-communist Central and Eastern Europe. It argues that the circumstances of democratic transition gave rise both to radical and to centrist populist parties, and that both subtypes have remained distinct and enduring features of the party systems of these countries. However, while populists have played important roles in defining ideological choices, their electoral strengths and role in government should not be overstated. No general rise in populism has occurred over the period of democratic consolidation; instead, we can observe significant country-level variation in the nature and strength of these parties.
This chapter examines populism in contemporary Western Europe. The argument is made that populism in this region tends to primarily focus on four different issues as a result of the national context in which it arises. The chapter illustrates how various populist parties in Western Europe focus on these four issues of immigration, regionalism, corruption, and Euroskepticism. The argument is made that we can only understand populism in this region if we also understand that populism politicizes these issues. The argument is also that these issue areas, taken at their broadest meaning, constitute attacks on the core pillars of contemporary Western Europe and therefore that populist forces tell us about the fault lines of politics in the region.
Sara B. Hobolt
Understanding the factors that shape public preferences towards the EU and the role of public opinion in the EU is of primary importance to the future of European integration. This article investigates both causes and effects of public opinion: what are the origins of public attitudes towards European integration? And, what are the effects of these attitudes on policy makers and policy making in the EU? An extensive literature has focused on the origins of attitudes towards European integration. The article first traces developments in public support over time, and then reviews this body of literature, focusing on utilitarian, cue-taking, and identity explanations of EU support. Thereafter, it discusses the constraining role of public opinion in European and national elections and referendums, and considers the implications for democracy in Europe.
This article focuses on debates concerning the political economy of EU regional policy. Section 35.1 discusses the key stages in the development of this area of EU decision making from the Treaty of Rome to the Treaty of Lisbon. Section 35.2 introduces the concept of multilevel governance. Section 35.3 explores debates over the economic rationale for the cohesion and structural funds. Section 35.4 looks at ongoing debates concerning the future of EU regional policy.
This chapter deals with the emergence of social movement studies in the French social sciences in the 1990s and its development since then. We show how the exponential growth of this field largely relied on knowledge accumulated from the North American literature, but always with a critical appraisal of its concepts, methods, and results. We stress some theoretical and methodological specificities of the French contribution to the field: the greater recourse to qualitative and in-depth methodologies and the focus on the micro-level of individual activism and micro-level processes; the dissemination of its issues and concepts into a great number of academic domains, hence its trans-disciplinary framework; and finally its long-standing reluctance to engage in comparative studies. We conclude with some reflections on a possible agenda for future research.
This chapter starts by exploring the ways in which comparative research on women’s movements has challenged dominant conceptions in social movement theory, notably the antagonism between movements and institutions and the conflation of protest and disruption. The chapter then turns to the specific insights of French research on the women’s movement and feminism. First, a series of studies have explored the politicization of gender identity and the the historical interplay between mobilizing as women and doing so for women. Second, there has been considerable examination of the complex ways in which feminist protest has become ingrained in state institutions. Third, several works have focused on the process of diffusion and individual appropriation of feminist ideas outside the women’s movement. A recent line of research has placed the emphasis on the intersecting power relationships that shape the contemporary women’s movement.