Emile Chabal's A Divided Republic: Nation, State and Citizenship in Contemporary France
(Cambridge University Press, 2015) is an in-depth analysis of the languages and preoccupations of French civil society and political culture from the 1970s to the present. Picking up where many historical studies leave off, the book pursues the legacies of the period of France's Trente Glorieuses
, including a number of critical political shifts and turning points during the last four decades. A study focused on French elites, the book moves from consideration of the contributions of intellectuals, academics, and journalists, to the ways that changing ideas and vocabularies played out in the everyday life of French politics.
Concerned with the broad consensual middle ground of French politics since the 1970s, the book is divided into two parts: the first examines French neo-republicanism in the wake of De Gaulle, while the second looks at a range of liberal critiques of the varieties of that republicanism. Seeking to push past traditional categories of left and right in the French context, the book looks closely at how actors across the political middle responded to the major issues that seemed to most challenge definitions of national identity. Considering the impact of postcolonialism in debates about laicite
, and immigration, A Divided Republic
also looks at parite
, the idea of the Anglo-Saxon in French political discourse, the question of regional differences, and the role of the language of crisis in state reform. Attentive to the always evolving and contested meanings of ideologies, terminologies, and their strategic deployment, the book will be highly compelling reading for anyone interested how the political thinks, speaks, and acts in contemporary France.
Roxanne Panchasi is an Associate Professor in the Department of History at Simon Fraser University. A historian of culture and politics in the twentieth century, her current research focuses on the representation of nuclear weapons and testing in France since 1945. She lives and reads in Vancouver, Canada. Please drop her a line at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have a recent title to suggest for the podcast.