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Democratizing France

The Political and Administrative History of Decentralization

Democratizing France by Vivien A. Schmidt
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The focus of this 1991 book is on the decentralization reforms legislated by the Socialist government in France from 1982 to 1986. These reforms redefined the role of the central state in the periphery and gave extensive new powers to territorial governments. Vivien Schmidt examines these reforms and their impact in comparative historical perspective. Tracing the history of decentralization from the French Revolution to the present, the book highlights the significant reforms at the beginning of the Third Republic in the 1870s. It then analyses the actual impact of the reforms of both the 1870s and the 1980s on local government institutions and processes. Professor Schmidt uses an innovative mix of methods borrowed from political sociology and cultural anthropology, combined with historical analysis and extensive interviews with national and local politicians and civil servants. She provides important theoretical insights into the changing nature of the French state in addition to revealing significant historical patterns.
Cambridge University Press; March 1991
420 pages; ISBN 9780511877711
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Title: Democratizing France
Author: Vivien A. Schmidt