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The French RepublicHistory, Values, Debates$
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Edward Ducler Berenson, Vincent Duclert, and Christophe Prochasson

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780801449017

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801449017.001.0001

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(p.136) 15 Citizenship
The French Republic

Cécile Laborde

, Arthur Goldhammer
Cornell University Press

This chapter analyzes citizenship in the French republican context, arguing that embrace of the nation-state ideal of citizenship has served to obscure the fact that this legacy is today largely inoperative. Citizenship was constructed in France as a concomitant of the “nation-state.” It was based on the ideas of individual autonomy and the primacy of the nation-state and articulated in conjunction with the ideals of universality and equality. Paradoxically, it was in a context of profound questioning of the sociological basis of citizenship that the theme forced its way into political debate in the 1980s. Attempts to elaborate a “French republican model” have revived interest in the history of discourses and practices associated with the idea, and this has in turn influenced contemporary thinking. The chapter therefore offers some perspective on both past and present understandings of citizenship.

Keywords:   citizenship, nation-state, French republican model, sociological basis, contemporary ideas, individual autonomy

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