March 25, 02

Vol. 17 , No. 08   


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France and Globalization
PATRICK CHAMOREL
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 26, 2002

"France and Globalization" sounds like the odd couple. In the eyes of many Americans, France is a statist country resting on its past glory, fearful of change and American influence. Not the ideal profile to succeed in the new globalized world. Patrick Chamorel presents the argument that reality is somewhat different and more complex.

Chamorel explains that globalization presents a greater challenge to France than to any other major developed country because of the traditional role of the state, the centrality of its culture and its desire to remain an important player on the world scene. But, according to Chamorel, under the influence of the European Union and of market realities, the French economy in the last fifteen years has gone through a dramatic, unexpected and successful transformation.

These too often unrecognized accomplishments, however, don't mean France has given up on its "difference." The reasons globalization - and Americanization-have generated so much more debate in France than virtually anywhere else are mostly cultural: they are perceived as threatening French culture, language, way of life and egalitarian societal model, that is French identity itself. The response of the French government has been to defend the cause of "French cultural exception" and "cultural diversity" and to pursue a comprehensive agenda of "managed globalization" on the internationaI scene.

Are these attempts likely to change globalization as much as globalization has changed France?

Patrick Chamorel is Crown Visiting Professor at CMC for the spring semester and teaches a course on Comparing the Ways the United States and Europe Approach Globalization. His first hand knowledge of French and American politics, international economic policy and business have made him an authority for speaking on France and globalization.

Between 1982 and 1995, Patrick Chamorel was responsible for international affairs in the French Ministry of Industry and then for international trade in the Prime Minister's Office. During that time, he continued to teach and write on American politics and was an American Political Science Congressional Fellow in 1987-88 and a Visiting Scholar at the Institute of Governmental Studies at Berkeley in 1993.

He has been teaching European politics at George Washington University and will be a Public Policy Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center - starting in the fall. In addition to globalization, his research focuses on the policy consequences on the transatlantic relationship of American exceptionalism and European identity.