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Book Sections Year : 2021

Is there a revival of French nationalism?

Ronan Le Coadic
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In a global context of rising populism, the Front National (which became Rassemblement National in 2018) has obtained very high electoral scores in France in recent years. Many observers conclude that there is a "return of French nationalism". Is this analysis relevant? Our hypothesis is that it deserves to be qualified. To verify this, we propose to break the question down into three successive themes for reflection. First of all, can we designate French nationalism as if it were a single phenomenon? The FN/RN is developing a right-wing identity-based and sovereignist approach, but are there not other forms and political colours of nationalism in France? Secondly, the very notion of nationalism, in general, is far from unambiguous. In addition to the multiplicity of definitions, the dimensions of nationalism are diverse and analytical approaches to it contrasting. Finally, is the notion of return relevant? Saying "return of French nationalism", in fact, implies that it had faded or disappeared. Is that, in fact, correct? Has it not rather been constantly metamorphosed, according to the “political offering” and to the socio-historical context? While it is indisputable that the results of the FN/RN have exploded and that the themes of xenophobia, intolerance of Islam and the demand for authority have recently developed in French public opinion, the idea of a "return of French nationalism" is nevertheless an oversimplification of reality, which borders on error. French nationalism has in fact never disappeared, and it would therefore be more appropriate to reason in terms of a sharp rise of a particular type of nationalism (exclusionist right-wing and far-right nationalism) without, however, other types of French nationalism ceasing to exist (banal nationalism and left-wing nationalism). Perhaps this nuanced approach can be extended to cases other than France? Nationalism could then be seen as a universal and permanent - but constantly evolving - collective phenomenon and not as a sudden outbreak of fever that supposedly appears from nowhere.



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hal-03202411 , version 1 (19-04-2021)


  • HAL Id : hal-03202411 , version 1


Ronan Le Coadic. Is there a revival of French nationalism?. JOHANSEN, Bruce E.; AKANDE, Adebowale. Nationalism: past as prologue, Nova Science Publishers, pp.183‑220, 2021, 978-1-5361-9231-5. ⟨hal-03202411⟩
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