This book is an accessible, original and thought-provoking examination of contemporary French politics. The author clearly explains the most important party political, ideological and electoral developments since the Second World War, focusing on the 1980s and 1990s in particular. He takes care to explain changes within a clear theoretical framework which enhances the reader's understanding of observable trends. When Francois Mitterrand was elected President of the Republic in 1981 a new, radical era began in French politics. But within the space of a few years the Socialist-Communist government felt obliged to change tack and abandon many of its more adventurous policies. Hewlett's central question is whether one should talk of "consensus" politics under Mitterrand or even the end of conflict and revolt, for which France had been so famous. He looks at the modern political history of France in comparison with other countries, including Britain, Sweden and Germany. He also considers the significance of various "modernizing" aspects of modern France, including Gaullism, May 1968 and the role of intellectuals. Finally, Modern French Politics relates the examination of change in France to more general theories of change in late capitalism.
This informative and refreshing book is scholarly but does not mystify. It presents an original way of examining party-political, institutional and electoral developments, and will be essential reading for undergraduate and graduate students of French politics and European Studies.show more