The French political system and French politics in foreign affairs.


The purpose of this course is to make you familiar with the recent history of France, the French political system and the French position in international affairs. Our method to acquaint you with it, is to link analyses about France within a large point of view about the evolution of western democracies and also to link academic analysis with the day-to-day of current affairs.

The evaluation of our course will consist in a test with twenty short questions. Personal participation to the seminar will be a bonus and raise your grade.


1.  The general frame of politics today : the crisis of the representative government in western democracies / societies divided in open and closed social classes.

 2.  The historical frame of the French political system : from the French revolution towards the Fifth republic / from monarchy to the French presidential regime.

 3.  Two French political traditions or patterns : the parliamentary  government as the unique expression of the people / principles without legal consequences. The Fifth Republic : resolving the tensions between the traditions?

 4. The evolution of the French system party and the risk of stalemate of the system : a bipartisan system around the race for presidency / the rise of non-government parties with the multiplication of voting occasions and the rise of abstentionists.

 5. The general frame and evolution of the international political system : from bipolarity  to multipolarity / from war to competition / from bilateral relationships to multilateral links.

 6. The French Gaullist position in the bipolar world of the Cold war / The French position today between realism and idealism.

 7. The French “soft power” :  the world of Francophony / the French touch / the French image through tourism.

 8. 9. Visiting Paris : historical monuments and places where memorable events occurred to through a reading of the architecture of the city.

10. Exam

Teaching Language: English

Professor: Pierre Renaudeau