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date: 06 March 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines what the international literature tells us about French security and defense policy, but also what the French case teaches us about this literature. French scholarship on security and defense policy has demonstrated three main trends: the legacy of Charles de Gaulle’s vision and policies, a strongly policy-oriented production, and the influence of sociological approaches in French political science more generally. These trends have given the impression that the Fifth Republic’s security and defense was unique among Western democracies. The chapter tries to bring together the main elements of a research agenda that can connect the French case to the international literature, including: expanding the sociology of security and defense policy actors and institutions; analyzing the changing articulation between defense policy and war; and tracking the reaction of the French “strong state” to the the privatization of defense functions, the civilianization of the military, and growing international cooperation.

Keywords: France, security policy, defence policy, strategic studies, international relations, military, Charles de Gaulle

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