French Cultural Studies: An Introduction

French Cultural Studies: An Introduction

French Cultural Studies: An Introduction

French Cultural Studies: An Introduction


French Cultural Studies: An Introduction challenges received theories about France and French culture. Taking into account the major changes which have been taking place in French Studies (with the focus shifting to a broader range of cultural forms), the Introduction adopts an interdisciplinary approach in its wide-ranging study of French culture and society since 1870, and suggests new ways of looking at France and the French-speaking world through the ideas, images, and narratives of more than a century of turbulent history and political change.


This is an introduction to French cultural studies. It therefore offers a wideranging, but selective, view of French culture from 1870 to the present day, and also seeks to exemplify a range of approaches which draw connections between different aspects of that culture, and between culture and its contexts.

The book is divided into three parts based on the chronological divisions 1870- 1944, 1945-67, and 1968-95, paying more detailed attention to the period after the Second World War. Each part is introduced with an outline of the historical and social background, and presupposes little prior knowledge of France or French history. Each chapter contains essays on those aspects of French culture which are of particular interest and significance for the period discussed. At the end of each part are to be found suggestions for further reading which have been selected for ease of access, and with an English-speaking readership in mind. An appendix contains an extensive chronology which juxtaposes social and political events, developments in the world of science and technology as well as those in the arts, leisure, and entertainment. The annotated illustrations, which are distributed through the book, serve to elaborate on questions raised in the section in which they appear, though these are also linked together thematically in various ways. The book concludes with a detailed index of names, works cited, genres, and cultural forms.

The reader may therefore read the book sequentially as an extended analysis of French culture, which explores the themes and issues outlined in the general introduction. Altematively, the book can be dipped into, or browsed through. With the help of the index and the chronology, it will not be difficult for a reader to focus on a particular period, a particular cultural form, or a particular theme. Throughout, the authors have sought to acquaint the reader with the debates that animate French cultural studies today and to suggest interesting avenues of further exploration.

J. F. M. K.

Bristol and SouthamptonSeptember 1994 . . .

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