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The French Socialist Party and Its Radical Ambiguity

Cole, Alistair Mark 2011. The French Socialist Party and Its Radical Ambiguity. French Politics, Culture & Society 29 (3) , pp. 29-48. 10.3167/fpcs.2011.290303

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Abstract

The French Socialist Party has maintained a deeply ambivalent relationship with political radicalism. Throughout its long history, political radicalism has been experienced both as an internal political contest (hence as a form of intra-party struggle for influence) and as a relationship within (and beyond) the broader party system. This article identifies three levels of analysis as heuristics to facilitate a study of the French Socialist Party over the long term. From the perspective of the party as a whole, the party evolves according to its own eco-system, and is shaped by deeply embedded cultural and political traits. A different level of analysis frames the question of political radicalism organizationally, in terms of relations within and beyond the party. Finally, one can also understand the party's relationship with political radicalism instrumentally and strategically, in terms of electoral alliances. Though there is a tension between these three approaches, each contributes to understanding why the French Socialist Party is sometimes considered a European exception.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Department of Politics and International Relations (POLIR)
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe)
Uncontrolled Keywords: socialists; left; France; Mitterand; Jospin
Publisher: Berghahn Journals
ISSN: 1537-6370
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 03:14
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/18742

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