The Constitution of 1958 states that ‘France shall be a social Republic’, and maintaining the ‘social cohesion’ of the French nation is a goal of French politicians across the political spectrum. In question is the state’s ability to implement the principle of solidarity (in French, fraternité) that, along with liberté (liberty) and égalité (equality), constitutes the famous motto of the French Republic. The first vehicle here is the welfare state, especially what is known in France as la sécu (la sécurité sociale) — the social security system that delivers health care and most social benefits. This took shape over the decade between 1944 and 1954, to foster national solidarity after the traumas and destruction of World War II, and is a key pillar of contemporary French society. The second instrument here is the state education system, and particularly its schools. Shaped by centuries of political upheaval, the school system is designed to socialize young minds into the ways of the French republic, win their loyalty to the nation, and overcome inequalities of class and social background through the implementation of meritocratic and democratic ideals. A key aspect of this vision forms a third pillar of French society; namely, its secular identity, known as la laïcité.
Swipe to navigate through the chapters of this book
Please log in to get access to this content
To get access to this content you need the following product:
- A Social French Republic
- Macmillan Education UK
- Sequence number
- Chapter number