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Current Political Issues in France Communication, Politics & Global Issues Program Fall 2023 Semester - Paris

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Current Political Issues in France

Current Political Issues in France Course Overview


CEA CAPA Partner Institution: CEA CAPA Paris Center
Location: Paris, France
Primary Subject Area: Political Science
Instruction in: English
Course Code: POL362
Transcript Source: University of New Haven
Course Details: Level 300
Recommended Semester Credits: 3
Contact Hours: 45
Prerequisites: One introductory course in Political Science.


This course provides a survey and analysis of the major political, ideological, social, economic and cultural issues confronting France in the early 21st century. You will first receive an overview of France's quest for domestic political and social stability as well as international stature and cultural recognition abroad since the founding of the Fifth Republic in 1958.

You begin with a review the political history of the Fifth Republic. A study of the 1958 constitution and the considerable powers it bestows upon the President is central to this history, as is the evolution of the often confusing, ill-disciplined and chaotic party system. You will review how French institutions have changed as a result of the major political upheavals of the last thirty years- the Left's ascent to power from 1981 to 1995, the collapse of the Communist Left and rise of the Extreme Right, the painful experience of successive Cohabitation governments, the political debacle of the 2002 elections, the controversy surrounding the Sarkozy Presidency, and the Left's bid under François Hollande to return to power.

You then turn to the many political issues determining the form and substance of political debate and decision-making in France today. These include the political fallout and ramifications of the 2012 presidential and legislative elections; France's ongoing struggle to respond effectively to Greek debt and the related financial and identity crisis it is provoking in the EU; the many initiatives in France for reforming French political institutions; the current debates over what to do about unemployment, immigration, retirement, financial and fiscal regulation, cultural policies, health care, energy policy, education, housing, gender equality, discrimination; and finally what foreign policy role France can play both in sustaining European integration and in responding constructively to the Arab spring.. These and related current issues figure prominently in readings and discussions and are articulated around the theme of France's ability to adapt to the changes and tensions of the 21st century.

The course concludes with a critical evaluation of France's present-day domestic political stability and social-economic health, of her international diplomatic power and cultural influence, and of her sense of identity and self-assurance.

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