Newly available in paperback, Redefining the French Republic is an innovative work. Explicitly adopting a multidisciplinary approach, the book investigates continuity and change in contemporary French politics, society and culture. The chapters go beyond the familiar question of whether the Republic is acting in accordance with its vocation, to address the issue of whether that vocation is still viable. Drawing on contributions that reflect a variety of methodological approaches, ranging from theoretical speculations and modelling to the interpretation of fieldwork data, this study examines the dynamics of the relationship between the Republic and its constituencies, in the fields of political relations, territorial identities, social movements, public policy and foreign policy, and in each context juxtaposing what is perceived as the model for that relationship with the current reality. France in the twenty-first century is facing challenges that could not have been imagined a generation ago.
The test for the Republic is whether it will resist the ongoing pressures for redefinition imposed by internal contestation and the emergence of powerful supranational and global forces, or whether it will find a way of adapting to these pressures while preserving a part of the vocation and ambition that make it characteristically French. The book concludes that, though the French polity remains characteristically different from other models of modern liberal democracy, internal and external pressures have challenged the republican model to the core.