France in the New Century Portrait of a Changing Society

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  • Edition: Revised
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2001-01-01
  • Publisher: Penguin Books
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Authoritative, thorough and informative, France in the New Century is an intelligent account of the life of an influential and stimulating (if sometimes exasperating) nation. In examining the entire country, from cultured and stressful Paris through to the turbulent high-rise suburbs and the increasingly independent provinces, John Ardagh has, with the benefit of in-depth fieldwork and decades of familiarity with French life, produced a balanced and vivid account of the political, economic and cultural state of the nation, and what its future may bring.
Dealing with topics as diverse as the policies of Prime Ministers Juppe and Jospin, the rise and present crisis of Le Pen's Front National, the triumph of the multiracial French World Cup football team, the euro, Euro Disney and Eurotunnel, and the changes afoot at Club Med (and much more besides), this book, which draws on material from John Ardagh's best-selling France Today, is an indispensable guide to a complicated country.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. ix
Introductionp. 1
The Mitterrand years: from crypto-marxism to social democracyp. 12
The Chirac years: Juppe's bad tactics, Jospin's good luckp. 27
Corruption in high places: the judges' crusadesp. 41
Paradoxes of the Economic 'Miracle'p. 60
Renewal and growth: from Monnet's 'Plan' to the euro agep. 62
The waning role of the mighty state: privatizations, and the crisis of the 'French model'p. 74
The elitist technocrats of 'X' and ENA: still a strength, or now a handicap?p. 90
Modern industry's success story--as lame ducks are left to drownp. 100
Energy resources: no oil, not much coal--and new doubts about the great nuclear effortp. 113
Renault, Peugeot, Airbus: technical triumphs, but tough world marketsp. 119
A brilliant transport network, and damn the cost--as the TGVs hurtle through the Tunnelp. 131
Social Progress, but Scares about Welfare, Jobs, Racismp. 149
Social security: cutting the costs of the craze for healthp. 150
Labour relations: employers grow more liberal, but unions stay weakp. 162
The struggle against high unemploymentp. 175
The affluent class society: its privileged, its exclusp. 187
Housing: vast improvements, but the HLMs are still too fewp. 199
The drama of la banlieue: from new-town blues to new-town 'Reds'. And now, new-town Blacks and blackshirtsp. 206
Troubled ethnic minorities: the dilemma of being both French and Arab. But now, 'Vive Zidane!'p. 219
The fascistic front and its appeal to angry votersp. 243
The Regions Against Paris: Renewal and Reformp. 257
Datar's victories for regional developmentp. 259
Environmental crusades: better late than neverp. 269
Devolution at last--a mixed blessingp. 282
Paris, adored monster: Mitterrand's mighty monuments--but what about urban sprawl?p. 300
Brittany resurgent: a nation once again?p. 330
Grenoble: the fantastic 'legend' licks its woundsp. 343
Lyon: trade follows the new flag of Europep. 351
Toulouse: medieval pride versus space-age aeronauticsp. 356
Alsace and Strasbourg: Franco-German hopes and dilemmasp. 361
Montpellier and Languedoc: the neo-Cathars find a new destinyp. 371
A Booming Modern Agriculture--But Can the Small Farmer Survive?p. 383
The farming revolution: farewell to the old peasantryp. 385
Brussels's reforms, food surpluses and mad cowsp. 392
Midi winegrowers accept reality: an end to unsaleable plonkp. 401
New roles for the smaller farmersp. 405
Back to nature: the crusade to save the rural 'desert'p. 413
Culture and Intellectuals: Vigorous Performing Arts--but Where is the New Creativity?p. 427
State patronage: Jack Lang's showy fireworks, a hard act to followp. 429
In the provinces: Malraux's 'maisons', and today's highbrow versus lowbrow battlesp. 432
Music: joyful new enthusiasmsp. 443
Theatre: brilliant directors, plenty of foreign plays--but where are the new French ones?p. 458
Cinema: lively successors to the nouvelle vaguep. 466
Television: from the state frying-pan into the commercial fire?p. 486
A free but fragile press: Le Monde and lesser fryp. 501
The novel: stylistic innovation in the post-Robbe-Grillet voidp. 511
The Left Bank philosophers: is post-structuralism still mediatique?p. 518
Educational Reform: Equality Versus Elitismp. 531
Baccalaureats for blue-collar workersp. 532
Education for life and living, or just for the mind?p. 540
The malaise of the overswollen universitiesp. 551
Grandes ecoles: elitist privileges finally under threatp. 566
La jeunesse today: sceptical, serious and elusivep. 570
Private and Leisure Life: New Freedoms, New Hedonismp. 579
Catholics: religion revives, but the Church declinesp. 580
Renewal of family, decline of formality--and the myth of French inhospitalityp. 590
More equality for women--but vive French femininity!p. 597
From abortion reform to 'gay lib'--and the fight against AIDSp. 610
Spending for consolation--and le weekend in a rural dream nest, or chez Disneyp. 619
A new challenge to the hypermarkets: the little shops fight backp. 630
From nouvelle cuisine to Granny's food and le fast-food: decadence or recovery?p. 640
Holiday obsessions: Club Med's straw-hut mystique gets a faceliftp. 653
France, Europe and the Worldp. 678
The push for a united Europe: from Jean Monnet's ideals to the birth of the europ. 678
German and British friends are welcome--but what about franglais and American pop?p. 691
Brilliant export successes--yet a panic about globalizationp. 709
Conclusion: La morosite and beyondp. 715
Bibliographyp. 737
Acknowledgementsp. 740
Indexp. 743
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

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