The French State in Question places the idea of the state back at the heart of our understanding of modern French history and political culture, and challenges the accepted view of the Third Republic as a 'weak' state. At its core is an examination of a central problem in French politics of the belle epoque: should the employees of the state have the right to join trade unions and to strike? The book examines this as a problem of intellectual history: it seeks to explain why this was such an intractable question, and does so by demonstrating the importance of legal theory and the idea of the state in French political culture. In this important and innovative essay in the history of ideas, Stuart Jones shows how during the Third Republic French legal thinkers engaged in a vigorous rethinking of the idea of the state, and assesses their significance for the development of French political discourse.
"Richly documented, with an extensive, select bibliography and excellent index, this is a highly readable study of the social perspectives that made the conflicy between the right to associate and the rights of the state so central to the definition of French political realities and so difficult to resolve." Tobin H. Jones, French Review "...this is a very useful addition to the Cambridge Textbooks in Linguistics series...Its intended readers will find it a difficult, challenging, but ultimately extre,ely rewarding experience." Francis Cornish, Linguistics