(p. v) Acknowledgments
(p. v) Acknowledgments
This Handbook is the product of a highly collaborative and international research endeavor that began in the summer of 2011 when Robert Elgie was first contacted by Oxford University Press to consider editing an Oxford Handbook of French Politics. From the beginning, the aim was both to include a line-up of editors and contributors that represented the full range of work and scholarship being undertaken on French politics and to deliver a unique and hopefully stimulating study of French political life in all its complexity. Almost five years later, the Handbook is complete. With contributors based in France, Canada, Ireland, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States, we, the editorial team, are confident that we have delivered a Handbook that captures the diversity of the study of French politics as it is practiced both inside and outside France. We are also confident that we have delivered a unique product. The approach we have adopted in this Handbook is one that sets it apart from other general studies of French politics. As for whether or not the Handbook is stimulating, only time will tell. However, we can only hope that readers will find the contents of the chapters as thought-provoking as we have when editing them.
The Handbook’s uniqueness lies in the extent to which we established a uniform framework on the basis of which contributors were asked to analyze the study of French politics in their area. We asked contributors to follow a three-part structure. In the first part of the chapter they were asked to summarize the development of scholarship in their area outside France. This is what we call the “outside-in” section. In the second part of the chapter they were asked to summarize the development of scholarship in their area inside France. This is what we call the “inside-out” section. In this section we also asked contributors to provide a brief résumé of real-world developments in France that related to their area of investigation. In the third part of the chapter we asked contributors both to reflect upon the current state of the scholarship both inside and outside France and to propose an agenda for future research in their area accordingly. Our “outside-in” and “inside-out” approach allows the project to examine systematically the interplay between homegrown French political science and international political science. Indeed, the international dimension has been an integral part of the ethos of the project from its conception, as has the conviction that we would eschew the typical focus on French exceptionalism. In this way, we hope to provide a volume that will appeal to scholars who are not necessarily specialists on France already, but who are interested in a theory-driven approach. In addition, by asking contributors to be sensitive to real-world political considerations in the section on France, we want also to address problem-centered concerns.
(p. vi) If the Handbook is stimulating, then it will come from the successful application of these quite ambitious goals. All of our contributors worked tirelessly to follow the framework, going through up to three full iterations of their chapters in response to our feedback. The three of us together provided integrated comments on each chapter at each round of revisions; our different takes and perspectives allowed for richer outcomes. The end result for every chapter, we believe, is a coherent and high-quality product that, we hope, will make an important contribution to the study of French politics both inside and outside France as well as to larger comparative politics theory-building well beyond the deep expert understanding of the French case contained in each chapter.
We must thank first and foremost all of our contributors. In all of the areas we were able to convince and cajole the top scholars, both established and emerging, first to join the project, then to adhere to our framework, next to respond to our often detailed critiques, and finally to follow our timetable. All three of us were honored and delighted to work with such a dedicated group of scholars. We would also like to give special recognition to Andrew Appleton, who was an integral part of the project’s conceptualization and launching in the first year. He made key contributions to developing the approach and framework of the Handbook as well as recruiting our contributing authors.
From the beginning, Dominic Byatt at Oxford University Press has provided us with crucial support and understanding as our time horizon for completion shifted. He is the ideal editor, giving us the autonomy to pursue an innovative project and the time to successfully carry it through.
Our home institutions provided each of us with an important platform for our collaboration: Dublin City University, Washington State University, and Sciences Po, Paris. Sciences Po contributed the most to this project through the Centre d’Études Européennes under the leadership of first Nonna Mayer and then Renaud Dehousse. We were able to meet several times at Sciences Po thanks to Emiliano’s faculty position there and Robert and Amy’s visiting professorships.
Finally, we would like to thank our families and friends, who provided crucial sustenance and good humor in the tougher moments of this five-year project when the light at the end of the tunnel was not clearly in sight.
Robert Elgie, Dublin, Ireland
Emiliano Grossman, Paris, France
Amy G. Mazur, Moscow, Idaho, USA
December 15, 2015