How has French society been made, by whom and why? And how in turn has it influenced the French? This book sets out the institutionalized rules and norms that continue to structure France, together with the ‘political work’ that has recently changed or reproduced these power relations.
Exploring a range of age groups and types of social activity, including work, business, entertainment, political mobilizations and retirement, Made in France examines where significant change has occurred over the last four decades. Smith argues that while transformation has occurred in France's financial and education sectors, only relatively marginal shifts have occurred elsewhere in French society. To explain this pattern of continuity and isolated change, the book strongly nuances claims that neo-liberalism, globalization or a rise in populism have been its causes. References to these trends have impacted upon French politics to varying extents, Smith argues; however, France continues to be dominated by issues which are specific to the country and linked to its deep societal structures and history. Smith provides a comprehensive account of French society and politics and in doing so proposes an insightful analytical framework applicable to the comparative analysis of other nations.