Government and politics of France, 3rd ed.

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Publication Date 2003
ISBN 0-333-99440-X (Hbk) / 0-333-99441-8 (Pbk)
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Book abstract:

This book presents a worthwhile introduction to the study of French government and politics for students and a guide for others with an interest in French affairs, following on from two earlier editions. The work comprises eleven chapters. Chapter one provides helpful historical background of French social, economic and intellectual life. Discussion in chapter two moves to the constitution and the multiple revisions since 1992. The following chapters three and four are concerned with the complex dynamics at work at the centre of executive power in France; chapter three addresses the nature of the presidency and the governmental role of the prime minister and the resources that each draws from the formal definitions of their role. Chapter four examines the political aspects of their role and relationships, the ways they have operated and the constraints upon their freedom of action. Chapter five turns to an examination of the administration from ministers through to civil servants, commenting upon its size and the interplay between various levels of a huge bureaucracy. The author moves from discussion of central power to the localised centres of power in chapter six. The extent to which the French parliament has fulfilled its role in making the government behave is part of the discussion in chapter seven which explores the structures and mechanisms of Parliament, considering its functions and the role it plays. Chapter eight looks at the party system and the parties whose fortunes have fluctuated considerably over the closing stages of the twentieth century. The role of pressure and special interest groups and the relationship between the State and civil society are explored in chapter nine. Policy making and politics is the stuff of chapter ten which examines France's relationship with EU policy making, then looks at three policy areas - economic, public services and immigration and nationality. The concluding chapter eleven draws together the earlier arguments and closes, perhaps not surprisingly, with the view that through all the change and upheaval of EU integration and globalisation France will continue to celebrate its difference - vive la différence!

The work will interest students of France and French politics.

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