The French State and its territorial challenges

21 avril 2011 par Francesca ARTIOLI

Alistair Cole
Professor of European Politics, Cardiff University


The French case, traditionally viewed as the exemplar of a powerful state, is a particularly interesting one to confront arguments about convergence and isomorphism with the resistance of national administrative and institutional structures and state traditions.  This article focuses upon the territorial challenges to the French State and its strategic responses to these. Though there is a very abundant academic literature on decentralisation in France, rarer are accounts which frame the State in terms of its overall territorial challenges, encompassing the reform of its own structures as well as the complex relationship with local and regional authorities.  While acknowledging the pertinence of arguments based on trans-national convergence and isomorphism, the aritcle argues that the linked processes of ‘endogenous governance’ and acclimatized change best account for the interplay between strategic intent, institutional and interest-based configurations and the weight of the contradictory coalitions at play in French territorial politics and inter-governmental relations.

Working paper en pdf


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