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Party, Society, Government
Republican Democracy in France
214 pages, 20 tables, 2 figs, bibliog., index
ISBN 978-1-57181-966-6 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (February 2002)
ISBN 978-1-57181-337-4 $29.95/£23.95 Pb Published (February 2002)
eISBN 978-1-78920-410-0 eBook
"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
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.
David Hanley is Professor of European Studies at Cardiff University.