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France and the Mediterranean

International Relations, Culture and Politics


Edited By Emmanuel Godin and Natalya Vince

This multidisciplinary edited volume examines wide-ranging exchanges between France and its Mediterranean neighbours and their impact. It questions the changing notion of a Mediterranean space and its representation, centrality and relevance in terms of France’s international relations under Sarkozy’s presidency, from the launch of the Union for the Mediterranean and its complex articulations with the European Union’s own agenda in the region, to the tortuous relations with Libya, made even more complicated by the 2011 ‘Arab Spring’. Beyond the realm of state relations and formal policy networks, the volume examines the crucial role played by diasporas, the interplay between postcolonial and transnational representations in the fields of cultural diplomacy, cinema and architecture, and considers how these can produce merged or hybrid identities. Later in the collection, the politics of ethnicity in post-war France, the interplay between negative perceptions of Islam and the changing memory of the Algerian War, and the evolution of Franco-Algerian relations since 1962 are used to question the weight of the colonial past when analysing the relations between France and North Africa.


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Acknowledgements xi


Acknowledgements We first submitted this book to Peter Lang on 13 January 2011. The next day, President Ben Ali was forced to f lee Tunisia with part of his family and found refuge in Saudi Arabia. Throughout the Arab world, protests (as in Algeria and Morocco), ‘revolutions’ (as in Tunisia and Egypt), civil war (Libya) and ferocious repression (Syria) have extensively altered the political contexts of countries on the southern shores of the Mediterranean. On its northern shores the impact of what is now referred to as the Arab Spring have been no less consequential: France, as other European coun- tries, has had to find ways to ensure that her past support for Arab dicta- tors and their regime did not damage her inf luence and interests in the Mediterranean. The Arab spring has thus compelled us to revise the volume we first submitted in January 2011 and if it is too early to draw unambiguous con- clusions about how Franco-Mediterranean relations have been altered since January 2011, we hope that it will provide some insights into the complex relations that France and the French entertain with the Mediterranean at many dif ferent levels. The Association for the Study of Modern and Contemporary France (ASMCF), the French Embassy, London, and the Centre for European and International Studies Research (CEISR) at the University of Portsmouth of fered their generous financial and logistic support to organise the 2009 ASMCF conference on ‘France and the Mediterranean’. This conference provided the intellectual impetus for...

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