In this volume, distinguished French and U.S. historians, economists, and political scientists explore the dimensions of France's current crisis of identity. Although every European nation has been adjusting to the dramatic transformations on the continent since the end of the Cold War, France's struggle to adapt has been particularly difficult. Responding to a mix of external and internal pressures, the nation is now questioning many basic assumptions about how France should be governed, what the objectives of national policies should be, and ultimately what it means to be French. Rather than focusing explicitly on the problem of identity, the contributors offer differing perspectives on the issues at the heart of the country's debate about its future. They begin by examining how France's historical legacy has influenced the way the nation confronts contemporary problems, giving special attention to the manner in which past traumatic experiences, socioeconomic and cultural traditions, and the belief in French exceptionalism have shaped current political thinking. They then consider how favoring a more open approach to trade and building a strong franc have changed the culture of economic policy and created dilemmas for the rule of the state as a guarantor of welfare. They go on to explore changes in elite structures, the evolution of the party system, and the spillover of new political conditions that are driving France's efforts to establish a strong national identity in the area of trade. Finally, the contributors examine the central influence of the changing international framework on France's self-definition, on its security policies, its relationship to the European Union, and its basic perceptions of the state and sovereignty. They also consider how the answers to these questions are affecting France's relationships with the outside world and the overriding policy dilemmas faced by all the European nations.

chapter 1|13 pages

Remaking the Hexagon

ByGregory Flynn

part Part One|51 pages

The Weight of History in France Today

chapter 2|13 pages

The Legacy of Traumatic Experiences in French Politics Today

ByJean-Noël Jeanneney

chapter 3|18 pages

The France We Have Lost: Social, Economic, and Cultural Discontinuities

ByRichard F. Kuisel

part Part Two|91 pages

Challenges to French Economic Order

chapter 5|18 pages

The Franc Fort Strategy and the EMU

ByJacques E. Le Cacheux

chapter 6|29 pages

France and Global Competition

ByWilliam James Adams

chapter 7|41 pages

From Barre to Balladur: Economic Policy in the Era of the EMS

ByDavid Ross Cameron

part Part Three|52 pages

Social Change and Political Institutions

chapter 8|19 pages

Change and Stability in French Elites

ByEzra Suleiman

chapter 10|16 pages

Trade and Identity: The Coming Protectionism?

BySuzanne Berger

part Part Four|48 pages

France in the New Europe

chapter 12|17 pages

French Identity and Post-Cold War Europe

ByGregory Flynn

chapter 13|8 pages

Thoughts on Sovereignty and French Politics

ByStanley Hoffmann