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Can Emmanuel Macron Stem the Populist Tide?
In an inversion of the anxieties that might have surrounded a relationship between a female student and a male teacher, Macron’s parents mourned the likelihood that their son wouldn’t have children.

At the terrifyingly prestigious Lycée Henri IV, whose alumni include Sartre, Weil, and Foucault, he was no longer the precocious boy wonder, just a distracted new kid from the provinces who wasn’t great at math. He twice fell short of the scores necessary to enter the illustrious École Normale Supérieure. Instead, he attended Sciences Po, the social-science university, and also got a master’s degree in philosophy.

With a few exceptions, its members were young, affluent white men, who were excited by Macron’s commitment to shaking up a status quo that had been established in the postwar era and hardly updated since.

Of all the lines the candidates slung at each other in the course of the election, the one that remains indelible for me is Macron saying very calmly to Le Pen, who had just confused two French companies, “One makes phones, the other makes turbines.”

Their activity has been particularly robust in France’s “empty diagonal,” a band of low-density settlement that stretches from the Massif Central, in the south, to Lorraine, in the northeast.

By the end of the tour, according to an official count, almost two million people had participated online; more than sixteen thousand grievance books were compiled, twenty-seven thousand letters and e-mails were written, and more than ten thousand meetings were held. Macron spent a total of ninety-two hours on the debate floor. By April, his popularity had rebounded to around thirty per cent, from a low of twenty-three in December—not good, but not nearly as bad as his predecessor’s at the same point in his tenure.

the strategy is to “identify the causes of the populist vote and respond methodically. If we succeed, we will dry it up.” When the input changes, so do the conclusions, but only to the precise degree that they need to.
politics  français  president  interview  2019  france  society  macron  democracy 
9 weeks ago by aries1988
Gauls, gilets jaunes and the fight for French identity

# the roman national
The British used to read Our Island Story — the hoary best-seller whose chronicling of stirring events and great men and women from Albion to Queen Victoria introduced generations of schoolchildren to history. (David Cameron once claimed it was his favourite childhood reading.) Across the Channel, books like the so-called Petit Lavisse did much the same thing, recounting the whole great sweep of what the French term the roman national from the days of the Gaulish general Vercingetorix to the French Revolution and its aftermath.
Historians once found it natural to tell stories that were designed to imbue their countrymen with pride.
“Whatever your ancestors’ nationality, young Frenchmen and women, at the moment you become French, your ancestors are the Gauls and Vercingetorix.”

In 1987 historian Suzanne Citron published an important essay on “the national myth” in which she deconstructed the assumptions behind the traditional narratives then commonly taught in schools.
The purpose was to show how France’s past could not be understood except within a larger context — global, we might call it today — in which ideas and people and goods flowed across borders and shaped one another.

Alain Finkielkraut, self-appointed guardian of the old story, and himself recently on the receiving end of anti-Semitic abuse from gilets jaunes, denounced the authors as “gravediggers of the great French heritage”.

Gaul being — in a favourite nationalist phrase — the “eldest daughter” of Rome

Countries prosper, so the message runs, when they welcome strangers (like the Armenian refugees who gave France Charles Aznavour) and they suffer from the consequences of their own narrow-mindedness.

Now it is not the book’s gleeful dismantling of the récit national that is under attack, but rather its purported underplaying of a long history of inequality and its consequences.
there are real problems with reading globalisation back into the past, not least because trade in general, and foreign trade in particular, was simply far less important as a part of economic life in earlier times than it is today
a more militant, provincial and insurgent history of burdens and privileges.
separate communal and local activism from outright xenophobia

The limitations of the nationalist narrative have been exposed. But what is the alternative? To abandon narrative altogether, in favour of the episodic and the vignette?
is it best replaced by a multitude into which we can dip at will? The idea of a past that is shared may then slowly slip entirely from view.
historiography  debate  narrative  world  nationalism  français  france  history  2019  book  society  conflict  manif  macron  globalization  opinion 
april 2019 by aries1988
Les droits de l’homme, épine des voyages présidentiels en Chine
Le problème du non-respect des droits fondamentaux n’a cessé de s’inviter dans l’actualité avant le voyage de Macron à Xi’an et Pékin, du 8 au 10 janvier.
2018  macron  china 
january 2018 by aries1988
Interview with Emmanuel Macron: 'We Need to Develop Political Heroism' - SPIEGEL ONLINE - International

Nothing here should become habitual, because routine lends one a deceptive feeling of security. You begin not noticing certain things and lose your focus on what's important. Uncertainty and change keep you attentive.

It is a place laden with history. The emperors spent time here, Napoleon I and Napoleon III. In the Fourth Republic, it was the palace of a president without powers. Only in the Fifth Republic did Charles de Gaulle move back in.

Germany is different from France. You are more Protestant, which results in a significant difference. Through the church, through Catholicism, French society was structured vertically, from top to bottom. I am convinced that it has remained so until today.

France is a country of regicidal monarchists. It is a paradox: The French want to elect a king, but they would like to be able to overthrow him whenever they want.

I am a strong believer that modern political life must rediscover a sense for symbolism. We need to develop a kind of political heroism. I don't mean that I want to play the hero. But we need to be amenable once again to creating grand narratives. If you like, post-modernism was the worst thing that could have happened to our democracy. The idea that you have to deconstruct and destroy all grand narratives is not a good one. Since then, trust has evaporated in everything and everyone.

I am putting an end to the cronyism between politics and the media. For a president, constantly speaking to journalists, constantly being surrounded by journalists, has nothing to do with closeness to the people. A president should keep the media at arm's length.
interview  français  deutschland  newspaper  2017  macron  democracy  europe  politics  france  state  president  opinion  comparison  protestant  society  hierarchy  narrative  post  modernity  trust  media  idea  reform  heroism 
october 2017 by aries1988
Getting business moving again
Hugo Mercier, a 25-year-old engineering graduate, shunned corporate life to launch Dreem, a headband that uses promising neurotechnology to improve deep sleep.
entrepreneurial  france  français  2017  industry  innovation  macron 
october 2017 by aries1988

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