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Contemporary French Politics: Race, Class and Revolt

Key information

  • Module code:


  • Level:


  • Semester:


  • Credit value:


Module description

This module focuses on some key contemporary debates about politics and policy-making in France. After an analysis of the institutions and key political actors of the Fifth Republic, the course looks at how they are affected by a series of longstanding and cross-cutting issues (globalisation and the state, inequality, racism and immigration, insecurity, minority rights, secularism, etc). The course will discuss the specific patterns of policy-making in contemporary France and examine the changing balance between civil society, the market and the state in the twenty-first century.

Assessment details

One 3-hour exam in May.

Educational aims & objectives

This programme aims to enable students to:

  • develop an understanding of key critical perspectives on the relationship between civil society, the state and the market in contemporary France, with a particular focus on the issues of race, class and social movements.
  • develop an understanding of key contemporary political debates, notably those relating to questions of Republican secularism and its impact on the perception and production of both integration and exclusion.
  • examine relevant material and communicate their thoughts and findings with others through presentations, debates and group discussion.
  • research and critically reflect on the issues covered on the course and develop complex written arguments and analyses as a result of this reflection. 

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students will be able to demonstrate the practical and intellectual skills appropriate to a level 6 module. In particular they will:

  • Have extensive knowledge of key issues and debates in contemporary French politics, particularly those relating to race, class and social movements.
  • Have developed a grasp of the relationship between the process of integration in contemporary France and the Republican model of citizenship and integration.
  • Have developed a critical understanding of the principal political currents in contemporary France.
  • Be able to develop and sustain complex arguments and analyses assessing the relationship between civil society, the market and the state in contemporary France.

Teaching pattern

Two hours per week

Suggested reading list

There are no ‘set texts’ for this course. The general readings below provide a useful background to the debates covered on the course. It would be useful to read one or two of these before the course starts. Further reading lists will be provided at the start of the course, and for each week of study.

  • Bruno Amable and Stefano Palombarini, L'illusion du bloc bourgeois. Alliances sociales et avenir du modèle français (Raisons d’Agir, 2018)
  • Emile Chabal (ed.), France since the 1970s: History, Politics, and Memory in an Age of Uncertainty (London: Bloomsbury, 2014)
  • Emile Chabal, A Divided Republic: Nation, State, and Citizenship in Contemporary France (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015)
  • Peter Fysh and Jim Wolfreys, The Politics of Racism in France (Palgrave, 2003)
  • Omar Slaouti and Olivier Le Cour Grandmaison (eds), Racismes de France (La Découverte, 2020)
  • Jim Wolfreys, Republic of Islamophobia. The rise of respectable racism in France (Hurst, 2018)
Module description disclaimer

King’s College London reviews the modules offered on a regular basis to provide up-to-date, innovative and relevant programmes of study. Therefore, modules offered may change. We suggest you keep an eye on the course finder on our website for updates.

Please note that modules with a practical component will be capped due to educational requirements, which may mean that we cannot guarantee a place to all students who elect to study this module.

Please note that the module descriptions above are related to the current academic year and are subject to change.