Governing and Governance in France

Governing and Governance in France

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Alistair Cole
Cambridge University Press, 8/7/2008
EAN 9780521845830, ISBN10: 0521845831

Hardcover, 264 pages, 23.4 x 15.2 x 1.9 cm
Language: English

As a leading European nation with a particular state tradition and historical legacy, France has long fascinated foreign observers. In recent decades, the 'orthodox model' of French politics and policy-making has been challenged by powerful forces of globalization, Europeanisation, decentralization, administrative reform and changing patterns of state-society relations. In this compelling examination of French politics since the 1970s, Alistair Cole discusses these key challenges and identifies the key drivers of change. He argues that French-style governance is an untidy affair, rather than a neatly ordered and organized hierarchy, and that, though changes in France are comparable to those in other European Union countries, its governance is mediated by domestic institutions, interests and ideas. The pressures facing France are viewed through nationally specific lenses and mediated in ways that ensure that the French polity retains distinctive characteristics.

1. Governing France
2. Reforming the state
3. Decentralisation and local governance
4. Europeanisation
5. State capacity and public policy
6. State-society relations
7. Making sense of the state
8. Governing and governance in France.

'Cole's book is a tour de force bringing together up to date research perspective on public policy and governance together with clear pedagogical presentation of complex changes within France. Far from old debates and characterisation of French exceptionalism, the book provides a unique analysis of the governance of France, based upon massive field work, a systematic use of the main comparative European literature and an original fine grain understanding of social and political changes. From champagne producers, education elites, Britanny cultural leaders, to regulatory agencies or the Council of the state, a different French society is governed through the instruments of a restructured state.' Patrick Le Galès, Directeur de recherche au CNRS, CEVIPOF and Professor of Sociology and Public Policy, Sciences Po2, Paris