- The Oxford Handbook of French Politics
- List of Figures
- List of Tables
- List of Abbreviations
- Notes on Contributors
- A Framework for a Comparative Politics of France
- Republicanism: a transatlantic misunderstanding
- The State Imperative
- The French Welfare System
- Identity, Culture, and Politics: the other and the self in France
- The French Way to Multi-Level Governance: governance with government
- The Europeanization of Public Policy in France: actor-centered approaches
- Globalization: French ambivalence as a critical case
- Executive Politics in France: from leader to laggard?
- Legislative Politics: going international, while staying native
- Constitutional Politics: the French case and theory-building
- Challenges to French Public Administration: mapping the vitality of its knowledge sources
- Regional and Local Government: interpreting territorial politics
- Political Representation: bringing elections back in
- How to Study Political Culture Without Naming It
- Explaining French Elections: the need to meet in the middle
- Parties and Party Systems: making the French sociocultural approach matter
- Political Communication: from international institutionalization to national conquest of scientific legitimacy
- Interest Groups: moving beyond state-centric models
- The Study of Social Movements in France: the “French touch” and a comparative contribution
- Women’s Movements and Feminism: French political sociology meets a comparative feminist approach
- National Identity in France: a blind spot
- French Economic Policy: theory development and the three “I”s
- Environmental and Energy Policy in France: a critical case for comparative political research?
- Gender Policy Studies: distinct, but making the comparative connection
- France and the Evolution of European Integration: the exemplary and pivotal case for broader theories
- Varieties of Capitalism: a distinctly French model?
- Defense and Security Policy: beyond French exceptionalism
- French Aid Through the Comparative Looking Glass: a representative, deviant, or agenda-setting case?
- Toward a Comparative Politics of France
Abstract and Keywords
This chapter aims to characterize the French administrative system and its contemporary transformations, by identifying the dynamics and diversity of the research conducted on this subject in the disciplines of sociology, political science, and in history. Adopting a comparative perspective, it emphasizes the richness of research programs on the French bureaucracy, its institutions, regulation, reforms, and agents. Four pillars of the French administrative system are identified (centralization, territoriality, administrative law, and administrative elites). The chapter emphasizes the renewal of academic studies of French public administration, exploring the various dimensions and effects of neo-managerial reforms (policy elites, street-level bureaucrats, professional groups). The chapter also characterizes the “French touch” in the study of French public administration and claims that French scholars of the bureaucracy, influenced by stimulating sociological perspectives, offer an interesting dialogue with the approaches that are currently dominant at the international level, and might sometimes even reinvigorate them.
Philippe Bezes is CNRS Research Professor (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique) at the Centre d’Études et de Recherches de Sciences Administratives et Politiques (CERSA, Paris, France). His academic interests are administrative reforms and bureaucracies, state restructuring, comparative public administration, institutional change, and public policy. He recently published Réinventer l’Etat: Les réformes de l’administration française (1962–2008) (Presses Universitaires de France, 2009) and is preparing a co-edited volume Public Administration Reforms in Europe: The View from the Top (with Steven van de Walle, Gerhard Hammerschmid, Rhys Andrews; Edward Elgar, forthcoming).
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