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Party, Society, Government

Party, Society, Government

David Hanley


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Book Details


According to received wisdom parties have played a mainly destructive role in French political development. Of questionable legitimacy, pursuing narrow sectarian goals, often corruptly, they have brought about division, weakness and the collapse of regimes. A proper reading of history suggests differently. By combining historical research and contemporary political science theory about party, the author shows that for over a century party has irrigated French democracy in often invisible ways, brokering working compromises between groups divided strongly along social, political and cultural lines. The key to this success is the party system, which allowed for a high degree of collusion and cooptation between political elites, rhetoric notwithstanding. This hidden logic has persisted to this day despite the advent of presidentialism and remains the key to the continuing prosperity of French democracy.

"This is admirable for its broad sweep and for the clarity and force of expression of its thesis."  · Modern and Contemporary France

“The book is impressive in its historical and descriptive coverage and correct in its conclusions…Hanley does an excellent job of laying out certain broad tendencies that can indeed be recognized across time in the party system…[the reader] finds many useful facts, explanations, and descriptions of the development of the parties over the past thirteen years.” - French Politics, Culture, and Society

David Hanley is Professor of European Studies at Cardiff University.

Table of Contents

Section Title Page Action Price
Party, Society and Government iii
Copyright iv
Contents vii
List of Tables ix
Figures x
Preface xi
Abbreviations xiii
Introduction 1
Chapter 1. The Problem of Representation 7
Chapter 2. The Third Republic 31
Chapter 3. The National Assembly and the Beginnings of a Party System 49
Chapter 4. The Maturing of the Party System, 1876-1914 57
Chapter 5. From Comfort to Crisis? 82
Chapter 6. The Fourth Republic 121
Chapter 7. Humiliation and Recovery 144
Chapter 8. Party and Society 168
Bibliography 190
Index 200