During World War II, with the German occupation and the Vichy regime under Pétain, there was a crisis of national identity and a move toward rejection of the ideals of the revolution. During the Occupation, the only true way for a woman to flaunt her extravagance and add color to a drab outfit was to wear a hat.
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There are two territorial collectives: Mayotte and Saint Pierre-et-Miquelon. While tied to the mainland of Europe, the country is open to the Atlantic to the west. It also has coasts on the Mediterranean Sea to the south and the English Channel to the north. France has a large range of terrain and a varied climate and geography.
The major mountain ranges are the Alps in the east and the Pyrenees in the southwest. Each forms a natural boundary with other nations. The Massif Central is a large mountainous plateau in the central area, which includes the ancient volcanoes of the Auvergne region.
While most of the country is in a temperate zone, the Mediterranean area is considered to have a subtropical climate. The four main rivers are the Seine, the Loire, the Garonne, and the Rhône. The winds that sweep across the territory have regional names and are connected to regional identity, the most famous being le Mistral in the Rhône valley.
In , the population was 58,, France has a low population density compared to other countries in Western Europe. In an attempt to keep the population up, family allowances are given to each family per child, with no income restriction. There is much population mobility from urban to rural areas and from region to France region. The population has more than doubled since the mid-nineteenth century, when it was The post—World War II period saw fertility increases in the French version of the baby boom, but the birthrate began to drop in the early s.
Migration has added to the population. At the turn of the twentieth century and after World War I, migration accounted for half the total population growth.
The official language is French, which is by far the majority language, having been imposed on the regional populations since the nineteenth century. Regional languages and dialects such as Breton, Catalan, Corsican, Basque, Alsatian, and Flemish are still in use, and some are taught in regional schools. The law of 11 January permitted the teaching of regional languages in regions in which they were in use. The most recent update of national language policy regarding education came in , permitting the teaching of regional languages at the primary and secondary levels.
In all cases, this is voluntary for pupils. The nation historically has been divided into two linguistic regions: National identity is closely identified with the French language. The purity of the language is officially protected by the Académie Française established by Cardinal Richelieu in the seventeenth century, whose forty members rule over the inclusion of new words in the language.
In , the government instituted a further safeguard by establishing a commission on the French language whose role is to discourage borrowings from English and franglais the combination of the two languages.
The Toubon law of mandates that French be spoken in all official, public spheres of life. The French state also has played a role in the protection of global francophonie. Then president François Mitterrand established the Haut Conseil de la Francophonie in , which sponsors summit meetings among French-speaking countries.
Numerous national symbols are associated with the French Revolution, which established the nation as a democratic republic at the end of the eighteenth century. They were further reinforced during the Third Republic at the turn of the twentieth century. Known as the tricoleur, the flag is blue, white, and red. White is associated with monarchy, red with the republic, and blue with Charlemagne, Clovis, and other early rulers.
La Marseillaise became the official national anthem in It was written in Strasbourg in but became associated with Marseille when troops from that city entered Paris singing it on 30 July It was an important rallying song during the First Republic but was not used on official occasions again until the Third Republic.
The Gallic rooster le coq gaulois became associated with the nation during the Renaissance. It was used at first as a royal symbol but during the revolution came to stand for the identity of the nation. Used variously over time and sometimes associated with the figure of Liberty or Marianne, the rooster came to be known as a symbol of the nation during World War I. Today it is often used by sports teams.
Marianne is a symbol of the republic as a motherland and stands for the rallying cry of "liberty, equality, fraternity. There are multiple ways of depicting this figure.
Statues and images have portrayed Marianne as wearing a helmet and at other times the Phrygian bonnet; during the Third Republic, she began to be seen wearing a crown of ripe wheat. Since the nineteenth century, mayors have commissioned a sculpture of Marianne for their town halls.
Now these busts depict popular models, the first of whom was Brigitte Bardot. The most recent model, chosen in after much discussion and debate, is the actress Laetitia Casta.
Emergence of the Nation. The emergence of the modern nation took place over several centuries and resulted from a combination of the cultural influences of Gauls, Romans, and Franks. France was inhabited mainly by the Gauls, a Celtic-language group, when the Roman conquest of the territory began in the first century B. The Gallo-Roman period ended when the Frankish peoples began to enter the territory from the Germanic east during the fifth century, led by Clovis.
The term "France" comes from the Franks and has had three historical meanings. It referred to the area around Paris; the Île-de-France region, which was originally a duchy; and the area known as the kingdom of France, ruled by Hugh Capet and his descendants. The Treaty of Verdun in established the kingdom of "Western Francia" when land was divided between the heirs of Charlemagne's son, Louis the Pious.
The medieval period was one of political fragmentation even as the state administrative bureaucracy grew. The Church supported the various monarchs, who claimed divine rule. After a long series of wars, France achieved political unity in the sixteenth century under Louis XIV. French became the official language, replacing Latin in official documents, in The revolution of established the First Republic and abolished the monarchy.
Attempts to form the First and Second Empires by Napoleon and his nephew eventually were over-turned by the Third Republic — This period involved a heightened sense of national identity, with a return to the republican values of the revolution. It was also a period of heightened colonial expansion into Africa and Asia. During World War II, with the German occupation and the Vichy regime under Pétain, there was a crisis of national identity and a move toward rejection of the ideals of the revolution.
A Fourth Republic was reconstituted after liberation at the end of the war, and this led to the current Fifth Republic, whose first president was Charles de Gaulle, elected in Le Puy lies in the volcanic mountains of south-central France. France experienced a period of economic prosperity after World War II known as the "thirty glorious years.
The events of May marked a crisis in national identity as workers and students agitated for a more open and equal society. National identity is connected to notions of citizenship, which were established during the revolution. The original criteria included factors such as gender, place of birth, age, and amount of property. Citizenship currently depends on proof of parentage and residence. The national identity is based on several factors, including a concept of shared ancestry coming from the Gallic and Frankish past and territorial roots in the countryside, a shared national language and culture, and the ideals of the revolution.
It has also been shaped by religious conflicts between Catholics, Protestants, and Jews and by religious versus secular influences on government, especially in the realm of education. Current national identity is primarily an invention of the Third Republic and has been shaken by various events in recent history. The degree to which a coherent national identity has existed is debatable despite the assimilationist policies of the government. Linguistic unity was achieved less than a century ago, and regional languages and cultural practices persist.
The growth of the European Union EU and the influx of immigrants eventually will lead to a revised view of what it means to be French.
An important element of national identity is the identity card. Each person on French soil must carry on his or her person a card or document that demonstrates citizenship or another legal status, such as a visa or EU passport. The police have the right to stop anyone at any time to demand to see these documents.
In a multiethnic state, there are two major types of ethnic group identity: Conflict between the centralized state and regional groups such as the Corsicans, Bretons, and Basques heightened toward the end of the twentieth century, when political autonomy became a major movement. Corsica has won the right to limited administrative autonomy. These immigrants have come from various nations. The country has offered political asylum to peoples such as Cambodians and Czechs.
One of the most significant conflicts has been in the area of religious freedom for Islamic groups. The "scarf affair" of , in which three Muslim girls were expelled from high school because they refused to take off their head scarves, drew attention to the conflict between the secular state school system and the religious beliefs of immigrants. There has long been a dichotomy between Paris and the rest of the nation or between Paris and the provinces.
Paris is by far the major urban center, with Lyon following. Not until the s did the urban population surpass the rural population. Four-fifths of the population now lives in urban areas. More than half the urban population lives in suburbs, however. A movement of population back to rural areas, if not back to farming, has existed since the s.
Only 3 percent of the population is employed in agriculture. It is headquartered in Paris, with twenty-three regional areas. Paris is now linked through the English Channel tunnel to the United Kingdom. Several major highways built during the last few decades have improved movement by car. Architecture ranges from the grand works of the powerful in the cities, such as the Versailles palace and the new National Library in Paris, to the vernacular architecture of rural areas.
Buildings dating from the period of state building in the Third Republic are particularly symbolic of nationalism. The architecture of public primary schools built at the turn of the century in small towns and villages symbolizes the presence of the nation-state at the local level. These buildings also house the mayor's office.
Churches symbolize the power of the Catholic Church, from Notre Dame in Paris to the village churches whose steeples once dominated the countryside. Vernacular rural architecture varies from region to region, reflecting climate, family forms, and cultural values. Just as each local region had a local dialect, it had its own style of barns and houses.
The use of space in rural areas varies considerably. There is a stark contrast between the south, where there is more open socializing outdoors and in cafés and a stricter gender division of spatial use, and the north, where there is less of an emphasis on these factors. In southern areas, where men tend to associate in cafés or in the town square, married women were traditionally not present in such public spheres but were confined to the household.
Across the country, however, there is a strong emphasis on privacy within the walls of the house or foyer. Personal space and intimacy are connected, and close friends and relatives have much closeness and physical contact. Acquaintances and intimates are distinguished, and a high degree of formality is used with acquaintances.
Food in Daily Life. Food plays a major role in the country's social life. Wine and cheese are sources of national pride and reflect regional differences. Meals are ritualized, and full of social and cultural meaning. There are also political aspects to the meaning of food. For instance, there has recently been much concern about the quality of "engineered" food and a rejection of foods that have been genetically altered. Another recent concern has been la vache folle mad cow disease ; the French have rejected the importation of English beef, which has been a major issue in the EU.
Breton girls in costumes for a festival. Each commune generally holds a festival during the year. The three main meals are le petit déjeuner break-fast , le déjeuner lunch , and le dîner dinner. Although the midday meal had great importance in an agricultural economy and is still the main meal in rural areas, there is a tendency for families to eat the largest meal in the evening. Breakfast is a light meal of bread, cereal, yogurt, and coffee or hot chocolate.
In restaurants, it is common to have a price that includes all these courses, with a choice of dishes. Children eat a snack after school, le goûter or quatre-heures, which usually includes cookies, bread and jam or chocolate, and a drink. Meals involve a succession of courses eaten one at a time. A typical family meal starts with a soup, followed by vegetables and a meat dish and then a salad, cheese, and dessert. Wine is commonly served at meals. Children begin to drink wine during family dinners in their early teens, often drinking wine diluted with water.
Most daily food preparation is done by wives and mothers in family settings even if both spouses work full-time. The need to prepare wholesome meals that reflect traditional values is an increasing source of stress for working women who feel pressed for time.
Convenience foods are becoming more prevalent, and fast food is a growing trend. Food Customs at Ceremonial Occasions.
Large family gatherings and dinner parties involve more elaborate food preparation and more courses than daily family meals. At such occasions, drink is more important. An apéritif is served with small snacks or appetizers before the meal. Different regions have particular apéritifs: Wines complement the courses. Champagne often is served to mark ceremonial occasions and is drunk after the meal. This is followed by coffee and a digestif liqueur.
It is not uncommon for ceremonial meals to last three or more hours. In Normandy, a tradition that involves having a drink of calvados after each course further lengthens the meal. Holidays are associated with special foods. Elaborate meals are served on Christmas Eve by Catholic families who attend midnight Mass. These meals involve salmon, oysters, turkey, and la bûche de noël cake. In many regions, crêpes are eaten on 2 February, the Feast of the Virgin.
The ceremonial nature and symbolism of food are evident in rural wedding ceremonies. Often, mixtures of food and drink are presented to the wedding couple in a chamber pot in the early hours of the morning after the wedding.
These mixtures can include champagne and chocolate or savory soups with carrots and onion. In many rural regions, it is still common for families to slaughter a pig each winter and make sausages, patés, hams, roasts, and chops for freezing.
These are ceremonial occasions, and each person who helps the family is given a portion of the pig. The "thirty glorious years" of expansion of industry after World War II ended with the oil crises of the s. Since then, the country has rebuilt its economy and has one of the four leading economies in Western Europe. France is also a major agricultural nation and is self-sufficient in this sector.
Agriculture now accounts for less than 3 percent of the GNP, however. The major agricultural crop is wheat. High unemployment has plagued the country since the s, particularly among youth. The unemployment rate was almost 13 percent in Inclusion in the EU has had a major impact on the economy, opening some markets and restricting others.
In , France will convert from the franc to the euro for all financial transactions. After several decades of nationalization of major industries, France deregulated those sectors in the s, to create a freer market. Land Tenure and Property. Until the middle of the twentieth century, agriculture was dominated by small holdings and family farms. Two factors have affected rural land holdings since World War II. There has been an acceleration of the rural exodus leading to a strong migration toward cities, along with a consolidation of farm lands that had been scattered through inheritance patterns.
This was called le remembrement and was more successful in some regions than in others. There are many small businesses and shops on city streets, and street markets thrive in the major cities. In the centers of towns, small shops and specialty boutiques abound. However, there are also large hypermarchés or grandes surfaces at the outskirts of most cities that sell food, clothing, and furniture. Prices are fixed in stores for the most part, but at markets there is still a lot of bargaining.
The commercial services of rural villages have declined during the last twenty years, as a result of depopulation and the attraction of new chain stores. Increasingly, the butchers, bakers, and grocers have closed shop, and people make purchases in small shopping markets or travel to the nearest city to buy less expensive goods.
Industry historically was centered in the northeast and eastern part of the nation, primarily in Paris, Lille, and Lyon. This has changed with the penetration of industry into the hinterlands and the south. The leading industries are steel, machinery, chemicals, automobiles, metallurgy, aeronautics, electronics, mining, and textiles. Tourism is a growing industry in the countryside. Food processing and agribusiness are important to the national economy.
The government controls several industrial sectors, including railroads, electricity, aircraft, and telecommunications. A move toward privatizing these industries has been under way since the early s.
Although the country traditionally took a protectionist stance toward trade and did not play a major role in the world economy, this has changed with the opening of markets through the European Economic Community and the Common Market. Foreign trade grew during the s, under de Gaulle, and by the mids, France was the fourth largest exporter in the world.
Most exports Men working at a vineyard in France. French wine is a source of national pride and an important part of both simple and elaborate meals. During the economic crisis of the s, the balance of trade favored imports, but in recent years exports have grown. The major exports are manufactured goods, including cars and luxury items such as clothing, perfume, and jewelry. Wheat and dairy products are also major exports.
The country imports raw materials such as oil and agricultural products, as well as machinery, chemicals, and iron and steel products.
Employment is categorized by the eight PCS professions and socioprofessional categories: While the nation had a large agricultural population well into the twentieth century, only 3 percent of the people now work in that sector, although 10 percent of the population works in either agriculture or agribusiness. Unemployment almost 12 percent in is higher among women and youth. Labor unions are strong. The current thirty-nine-hour workweek will fall to thirty-five hours in France is a class-stratified society whose middle class did not develop significantly until the s.
Historically, society was divided among the nobility, the bourgeoisie , the peasants, and the urban proletariat. The French system was the basis for much of Karl Marx's analysis of class struggles during the nineteenth century. The dominant class now is referred to as the bourgeoisie, although this term is difficult to define. Primarily, this class is considered to be the group that controls education and industry.
A major source of debate is the issue of social mobility for people of different social origins. Statistics indicate that there is still a strong tendency for children to remain in the occupational class of their parents. For instance, in , almost 50 percent of the children of workers became workers; only 9 percent of them became elite workers. Fifty-six percent of the children of elite workers became elite workers.
The school system is blamed for the lack of social mobility. Symbols of Social Stratification. Social stratification has two main axes: The urban upper class generally has ties to provincial seats of power. The bourgeoisie establish the major tenets of good taste and refinement, of being "civilized.
Symbols of a higher class position include knowing not only about fine art but about the newest trends in avant-garde art, understanding and being able to purchase fine wines, and dressing with understatement while revealing refined aesthetic sensibilities. Class consciousness is very strong.
France operates under the constitution of the Fifth Republic, which was established in The government is highly centralized, although the act of decentralization transferred more power to the regions and communes.
Paris is the capital city. The administration of the governmental system is organized through the levels of nation, region, department, arrondissement, canton, and commune.
The commune is the smallest administrative level. This system of political administration dates back to the French Revolution.
The state controls several state-owned companies in the areas of transportation, energy, and communications. Thirty percent of the workforce is employed by the state. The state bureaucracy is complex and is run by an administrative elite trained at the National School of Administration ENA.
The executive branch includes the president and the prime minister. The president is elected for a seven-year term by popular vote. The prime minister is appointed by the president and serves as head of the government.
In recent years, a form of political "cohabitation" has developed, in which the president and prime minister come from different political parties. The prime minister selects the ministers and secretaries of state, with approval by the president. Legislative power resides in a bicameral parliament composed of the Assemblée Nationale National Assembly and the Senat Senate. The deputies of the Assemblée Nationale are elected by popular vote for five-year terms; senators are elected though an electoral college system for nine-year terms.
The twenty-two metropolitan regions, which recently received a formal role in government, are each composed of several departments. A region is headed by a regional prefect and served by elected regional council members who represent the departments. The regional council elects a president of the council. The department is headed by a prefect, and each canton elects a council member to serve at that level.
Communes elect a mayor and a municipal council. There are a little over 36, communes, and their populations can range in size from under one thousand to that of a large city. The vast majority of communes are in the countryside. Leadership and Political Officials. France is politically divided between the right and the left. There are five major political parties. The Communist Party was formed in Political leaders rise to power by gaining election at the local level, and then accruing more political titles.
It is possible for a politician to hold more than one office at different levels simultaneously, and this is a common method for gaining political support. Election to office depends on social networks, as well as on the personal charisma of the politician. The concept of "legitimacy" is crucial; to be viewed as a legitimate candidate is to have local roots and a strong social network. A successful politician must make good use of symbolism and ritual in order to embody various ideals.
A high degree of formality is associated with political office, and interactions with elected officials require correct etiquette. One should, for instance, address a mayor as Monsieur or Madame le Mayor. Social Problems and Control. The police are a noticeable presence, particularly in urban areas and transport centers such as airports and subway stations. Visibly armed, they have the right to stop any person to demand to see documents of identity. The police force is divided between those who work for the minister of the interior and those who work for the minister of defense gendarmes.
There is also a National Security Police force CRS that is called in during demonstrations and strikes, which occur frequently. An important form of political protest, demonstrations often disrupt urban streets and highways. Labor unions are strong, and striking workers regularly stop social services, such as trash pickup and public transportation, and access to public buildings, such as museums. People at an outdoor café in France. Cafés are social centers for men in southern France and are also popular among tourists.
Major social problems include AIDS, homelessness, and terrorism. The rate of violent crimes such as homicide is low. Terrorist attacks and bombings occur randomly, if infrequently and were at their height most recently during the Gulf War. The National Security Police justify their strong military presence as a deterrent to terrorism.
The president is the commander in chief of the military, and the minister of defense reports directly to the president. France has an army, navy, and air force. France was involved in several armed conflicts during the twentieth century. After the first and second world wars, it was involved in colonial wars in Algeria and Indochina.
The draft is being phased out and will disappear in Universal compulsory military service for a period of at least sixteen months has been mandatory for all eighteen-year-old males and marked an important rite of passage into adulthood. There is an elaborate social welfare program. The social security system was formed in It is funded not by the state but by employers and workers directly. There are several plans, which vary with one's level of employment and professional status.
A minimum level of income is assured for the unemployed and destitute under the RMI Revenue Minimum d'Insertin , the unemployment assistance payment that is paid for through taxation. Benefits of the social security system include family allowances paid per child , infant allowances for pregnant women and newborns, single-parent supplements, benefits for sickness and disability, and unemployment insurance. About half the people belong to a voluntary association, including political parties, and there are , associations.
The Law of Associations regulates noneconomic activities such as sports clubs, cultural groups, and other clubs. There are clubs for immigrants, the elderly, youth, and leisure activities. Much of civic life is organized through associations. Division of Labor by Gender. Peasant households traditionally had a strict gender division of labor Architectural view of Pierrefont Castle, a reminder of the wars that have punctuated French history.
Husband and wife generally worked together, sometimes participating in different tasks related to agricultural labor. The degree to which gender segregation in daily life was upheld varied by region. In general, women carried out domestic tasks of housekeeping, food preparation, and child care; however, they also were involved in farm labor, such as harvesting and tending young animals.
With the growth of industrialization, family farms involved much less cooperation between husband and wife in economic activities. A separation of the domestic sphere from the place of work and the growth of wage earning changed the household division of labor. Women worked outside the home as washerwomen, factory workers, and domestics.
In bourgeois families in the nineteenth century, husbands controlled wealth and their wives were dependent on them, having limited autonomy in the raising of the children. Today, almost half of all workers are female and the dual-career family is becoming the norm.
Women continue to face inequalities in the job market, with lower wages than men for comparable work and more difficult career paths. Women are rare in the highest-paid professions and dominate in clerical work, social work, and primary teaching.
There have been proposals for a "maternal wage" that would compensate housewives for their labor. The Relative Status of Women and Men. The Napoleonic Code of denied power to women in marriage, and women did not gain the right to vote until Only in the s did wives gain the right to open bank accounts or work without the husband's permission.
The Badinter Law of established equal rights for women in marriage. The feminist movement has slowly made advances but continues to struggle. The degree to which farm women have lower status than males is a subject of debate.
Economic and cultural factors influence the power of women at the level of the family and community. Marriage rates and age at marriage are related to socioeconomic class and region. Overall, the marriage rate is declining and the age at marriage is rising.
The average age of marriage for men is twenty-nine, and that for women is twenty-seven. Women tend to marry later when they seek higher education. Rural male celibacy has been associated with rural-urban migration since the s. Geographic homogamy is a strong factor in marriage: Over half of all marriages involve partners from the same department.
There is also a high level of religious homogamy. The divorce rate has increased in recent years, especially since a law that made the process easier and faster. One in three marriages ends in divorce. All marriages are sanctioned by a civil ceremony in the town hall. Religious ceremonies must follow the civil ceremony, so that frequently wedding parties make the trip between mayor's office and the church. Payment for the weddings of young people is most often divided equally between the families of the bride and the groom.
There has been a rise in cohabitation for unmarried couples. A recent law permitting legal unions that are not marriages for couples has given legal status to cohabitating couples, including homosexual couples. The PACS pacte d'association civile et solidaire law, passed in , set up an intermediate union between marriage and cohabitation.
A pacte is easier to dissolve than a marriage. The basic domestic unit is called le ménage. This includes all persons living in the same dwelling. These persons are not necessarily related. There has been a rise in single-person households since the s.
In , 18 percent of all households were composed of single women, and 12 percent of single men. Most households, however, are composed of couples with 35 percent or without 28 percent children. There were three types of domestic units traditionally: In the patriarchal family a rural model that was prevalent in parts of central France , siblings stayed at home and their spouses joined the household.
These large families owned property jointly. In the more hierarchical stem family, which was the most common, there was a pattern of primogeniture. The eldest son would remain in the parental home, but daughters and younger sons were obliged to seek their fortunes elsewhere. That pattern persists in some rural communities, although primogeniture has been illegal since under the Napoleonic Code.
One sibling takes over the farm but "pays off" the parts of the patrimony due to his or her siblings. The nuclear family was most prevalent in southern France and has a more egalitarian basis than the stem family. In June , Selleque, in partnership with Mme. Clement, nee Hemery, founded the Journal des Dames et des Modes. They were joined, in the matter of engraving only, by an ecclesiastic named Pierre Lamesangere. On the death of Selleque, Lamesangere carried on the journal, and made it his chief business from the year The Journal des Dames et des Modes was published at intervals of five days, with a pretty colored plate of a lady in fashionable dress.
On the 15th of each month there were two plates. Lamesangere himself kept the accounts, edited the magazine with as light a touch as possible, and superintended the engraving of the plates. He attended the theatres and all places of public resort in order to observe the ladies' dresses. So successful was the undertaking that Lamesangere acquired a considerable fortune. His own attire was above criticism. At his death his wardrobe contained a thousand pairs of silk stockings, two thousand pairs of shoes, six dozen blue coats, one hundred round hats, forty umbrellas, and ninety snuffboxes.
The Journal des Dames et des Modes reigned without a rival for more than twenty years, from to and forms an amusing collection of thirty-three volumes. Some of his contemporaries used to compare Lamesangere to Alexander.
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