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"From nation-building to the construction of Europe: The lessons and limitations of the French example"

Jenkins, Brian. (1997) "From nation-building to the construction of Europe: The lessons and limitations of the French example". In: UNSPECIFIED, Seattle, WA. (Unpublished)

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    Since the Revolution, French national identity has been shaped by political conflict, by the claims of rival movements/ideologies and successive regimes to embody the true interests of the nation. The State has therefore been the primary focus for the development of national identity, serving both as an agent for the construction of national consciousness and as a target for the 'counter-nationalism' of popular movements. This paper argues that since the 1960s the dwindling efficacy and credibility of nationalism(s) as a political programme has led to a growing separation between state and nation, and a consequent crisis of national identity. In this context, the populist and racist nationalism of the Front national may be seen as a form of resistance to the effects of economic globalisation, supranationalism and the declining status and autonomy of the French State. The paper also argues that in this difficult transition period involving the progressive decline of the nation-state as a political agency, the theme of citizenship will be crucial in the struggle against exclusivist ethnic nationalism. Central to the more open and voluntarist traditions of French civic nationalism, the concept of citizenship now needs to be separated from its historic associations with the centralising, assimilationist nation-state and adapted to other levels of representation (both sub- and supranational). In this context, the French model of nation-building offers both positive and negative lessons for those seeking to develop a sense of European identity.

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    Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (UNSPECIFIED)
    Subjects for non-EU documents: EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > europeanisation/europeanization & European identity
    Countries > France
    EU policies and themes > EU institutions & developments > institutional development/policy > historical development of EC (pre-1986)
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series and Periodicals: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
    Conference: European Union Studies Association (EUSA) > Biennial Conference > 1997 (5th), May 29-June 1, 1997
    Depositing User: Phil Wilkin
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: English
    Date Deposited: 20 Nov 2006
    Page Range: p. 20
    Last Modified: 15 Feb 2011 17:23

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