Contemporary France projects iconic images onto the world on an industrial scale. Anyone can conjure up a mind’s eye cliché of France, everyone has their favourite stereotype of French national character, Francophobia and Francophilia are flourishing. All these pictures and all these emotions have played a vital part in the construction of French national identity. They foster feelings of familiarity with France, as well the sense that the French consider themselves to be uniquely different from any other nation on earth, and quite possibly superior. They promote a unified and proud French nation with a shared and lasting sense of history and its traditions. In reality, France is as disparate, disjointed and changeable as any other Western democratic country.
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