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Revue de Presse: December 1

6 days ago

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The crisis of liberalism lies in its inability to explain modern phenomena, Katrina Forrester argues in The Guardian. Attempting to understand the turbulent politics of recent years, liberals often point to a decline in norms and civility. Meanwhile, their calls for a more civilized politics often lead to little but a shrinking voting base for liberal parties. For Forrester, what is needed today is less a “revival” of liberalism than a new conception of it capable of reckoning with the fundamental ideological, social, and economic that has given us the likes of Brexit and Trump.

Meanwhile, with Brexit looming overhead, British voters have a choice between “Johnson plus Brexit” and “Corbyn plus two referendums” (i.e.,

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Revue de Presse: November 17

20 days ago

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Bienvenue à notre première Revue de Presse 100% en français. Comme d’habitude, nous avons sélectionné des articles de la presse francophone et anglophone sur la politique et la culture démocratique autour du monde. Ces articles ne sont pas censés former une liste complète de ce qu’il faut avoir lu, ni une représentation de l’opinion des éditeurs du site : seulement une sélection de ce que nous lisions ces deux dernières semaines.

Au long de ses presque deux siècles d’existence, le magazine britannique The Economist a toujours été un organe de presse indispensable pour le libéralisme économique international. Dans une recension pour le New Yorker d’une récente histoire du Economist par Alexander Zevin, Pankaj Mishra

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Revue de Presse: November 3

November 2, 2019

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We’ve taken a break from this format for a few weeks, but we’re back with some of our favorite writing from the month of October. Going forward, we will be resuming the Revue de Presse every other week, which we hope will not only help provide a bit more distance from the day-to-day news cycle, but also give us more time to meet our new goal of doing the Revue in both English and French. So we’ll see you back in two weeks for our first Revue de Presse 100% en français !

Gabriel Zucman is the latest French economist to lead the charge against inequality in the United States. The 32-year-old professor of economics at Berkeley—a former student and now-colleague of Thomas Piketty—recently published a book on taxing the rich

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Revue de Presse: September 29

September 29, 2019

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With the passing of former French president Jacques Chirac, newspapers have struggled to pin down the man’s complex legacy. Le Monde highlights Chirac’s affable demeanor and his connection with French nationality and culture, others have been far more critical of the late head of state. The Washington Post remembers what will surely be thought of as his finest moments, despite drawing him severe backlash at the time: his vocal opposition to the invasion of Iraq in 2003, his firm recognition of France’s complicity in the persecution of Jews during the Holocaust. Mediapart, in contrast, paints Chirac’s political career as a series of twelve strategic “metamorphoses” that enabled him to cultivate and maintain power through

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Revue de Presse: September 22

September 22, 2019

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The historian and Tocqueville21 contributor Sophia Rosenfeld reflects on conspiracy theories in The Nation.   Rosenfeld reviews a new book by Russell Muirhead and Nancy L. Rosenblum, A Lot of People are Saying, in which Muirhead and Rosenblum claim that our current American political moment suffers a new form of “conspiricism,” defined by its low standards of proof and its lack of motivating ideology. Rosenfeld agrees that conspiracy-mongering can be damaging for democracy, even as she argues that these dangers are not as new as the book suggests.

Why do Texans still love T. R. Fehrenbach’s Lone Star, a thoroughly-debunked popular history of their state? And why have more serious histories—often of a social or

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Revue de Presse: September 15

September 14, 2019

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Must our political discourse be civil? Is incivility a mark of defiance, or its own form of virtue-signaling? Are rejections of politeness and refusal to debate deliberate moral choices, or just cathartic indulgences? These are the tough questions that Amy Olberding poses in her essay for Aeon, where she responds to our polemic culture of callouts and takedowns with some introspection on the morals of civility itself.

It is becoming increasing clear that the European Union it is far from a representative democracy for its member states. In his analysis for AOC, Didier Georgakakis argues that the European Commission (whose new list of commissaries was recently published) resembles something closer to a federation of

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Revue de Presse: September 8

September 8, 2019

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Would Tocqueville have gone to Burning Man? The New York Times describes the Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Romer and his interest in the annual desert festival frequented by anarchists, artists, and free spirits—dubbing Romer “de Tocqueville among the Burners.” Romer, who’s increasingly fascinated by “charter cities” and the economics of urban planning, thinks there might be lessons to learn at northwest Nevada’s yearly bacchanal. Is a well-designed street grid enough to inspire cooperation in the midst of chaos?

Another of this week’s comparisons between Tocqueville and the present comes from Harvey Mansfield, the Harvard political theorist (and translator of the UChicago Press edition of Democracy in America).

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Revue de Presse: Sept. 1

September 1, 2019

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Boris Johnson’s decision to “prorogue” parliament has set off a fresh wave of Brexit controversy. In the TLS, Philip Salmon explains some notable historical examples of past prorogations. Salmon notes that even in the “pre-democratic” era, prorogation controversies often invited thorny debates over the people’s will: Is putting a “pause” on parliamentary activity legitimate if it’s sanctioned by a majority, or can minority governments also lay claim to the royal prerogative?

Those who find the unwritten British constitution confusing are not alone. The legal scholar Alison Young appears on Talking Politics as part of the podcast’s summer guides series to discuss the constitution’s role in questions of devolution,

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Revue de Presse: August 25

August 25, 2019

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Welcome to Tocqueville 21’s weekly revue de presse, where we recap some of the most thought-provoking articles we’ve seen on democracy and politics in France, the US, and beyond. As always, the articles we relay here do not necessarily reflect the views of the editors and interns that put this list together, just what we think is worth reading.

In an article for the New Statesman, David Broder considers the future of Italy’s political landscape. After Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte’s resignation, right-wing Lega leader Matteo Salvini looks poised not only to become prime minister, but also to take control of the cabinet and force his party’s policies through. Only such an impending crisis could explain the sudden

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Revue de Presse: August 18

August 18, 2019

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Welcome to Tocqueville 21’s weekly revue de presse, where we recap some of the most thought-provoking articles we’ve seen on democracy and politics in France, the US, and beyond. As always, the articles we relay here do not necessarily reflect the views of the editors and interns that put this list together, just what we think is worth reading.

In a symposium published by Syndicate Theology, four scholars respond to Gary Dorrien’s new book on social democracy in Europe, with responses in turn by the author. As the symposium Aaron Stauffer editor puts it in his introduction, Dorrien’s Social Democracy in the Making has the ambitious aim of placing social democracy and democratic socialism at the heart of the history of

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Revue de Presse: August 11

August 11, 2019

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Welcome to Tocqueville 21’s weekly revue de presse, where we recap some of the most thought-provoking articles we’ve seen on democracy and politics in France, the US, and beyond. As always, the articles we relay here do not necessarily reflect the views of the editors and interns that put this list together, just what we think is worth reading.

Americans have been seeing the fall of Rome as a mirror for their own anxieties for about as long as the country’s been around. In the NYR Daily, Tom Holland maps the common comparison points between contemporary US politics and Rome’s final era, while making clear that this sort of prophesying is nothing new. Meanwhile, in Mediapart, Fabien Escalona investigates fears about the

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Revue de Presse: August 4

August 4, 2019

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Welcome to Tocqueville 21’s weekly revue de presse—now appearing on Sundays—where we recap some of the most thought-provoking articles we’ve seen on democracy and politics in France, the US, and beyond. As always, the articles we relay here do not necessarily reflect the views of the editors and interns that put this list together, just what we think is worth reading.

In Dissent’s latest issue, devoted to the question, “What is the nation for?”, Quinn Slobodian and William Callison offer a biting critique of the left-wing populism of Germany’s Aufstehen movement, led by Sahra Wagenknecht (see some of our discussion of Wagenknecht’s “left nationalism” here). Though the movement claims to represent the voice of working-class

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Revue de Presse: July 27

July 27, 2019

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Welcome to Tocqueville 21’s weekly revue de presse, where we recap some of the most thought-provoking articles we’ve seen on democracy and politics in France, the US, and beyond. As always, the articles we relay here do not necessarily reflect the views of the editors and interns who put this list together, just what we think is worth reading.

With the second round of Democratic Party debates just around the corner, Michael Tomasky’s New York Review of Books essay examines how the rules of the primary process have changed since 2016 and how those changes might affect the current presidential hopefuls. Tomasky considers the Democratic voters who are not necessarily represented on Twitter and explores what the so-called

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Revue de Presse: July 20

July 20, 2019

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Welcome to Tocqueville 21’s weekly revue de presse, where we recap some of the most thought-provoking articles we’ve seen on democracy and politics in France, the US, and beyond. As always, the articles we relay here do not necessarily reflect the views of the editors and interns that put this list together, just what we think is worth reading.

Three months after the astonishing Notre Dame fire, the New York Times published a comprehensive and interactive report on what went wrong at the cathedral. Maps and videos give an up-to-the-minute account of the the blaze and the response by firefighters, church officials, and everyday Parisians.

In a historically-focused and policy-oriented article for the London Review of Books,

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Revue de Presse: July 13

July 13, 2019

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Welcome to Tocqueville 21’s weekly revue de presse, where we re-cap some of the most thought-provoking articles we’ve seen on democracy and politics in France, the US, and beyond. As always, the articles we relay here do not necessarily reflect the views of the editors and interns that put this list together, just what we think is worth reading.

In The Nation, Rosemarie Ho notes that the Democratic Party has been reticent to intervene in the recent pro-democratic protests in Hong Kong, and argues that this silence has had unintended consequences. Ho acknowledges that progressives are perhaps justified in their concerns over interfering in another country’s self-determination, but ultimately concludes that this is a fleeting

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Revue de Presse: July 6

July 6, 2019

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Welcome to Tocqueville 21’s weekly revue de presse, where we re-cap some of the most thought-provoking articles we’ve seen on democracy and politics in France, the US, and beyond. As always, the articles we relay here do not necessarily reflect the views of the editors and interns that put this list together, just what we think is worth reading. 

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Libération‘s EU correspondent Jean Quatremer examines the ongoing frustrations of the efforts to choose a new president of the European Commission. In his take, Merkel’s choice to throw her weight behind the Dutch social democrat Frans Timmermans was a strategic sacrifice of the interests of the right-wing PPE bloc in order to save the Spitzenkandidat system. This is a compromise

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Revue de Presse: June 29

June 29, 2019

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Welcome to Tocqueville 21’s second weekly revue de presse, where we re-cap some of the most thought-provoking articles we’ve seen on democracy and politics in France, the US, and beyond. As always, the articles we relay here do not necessarily reflect the views of the editors and interns that put this list together, just what we think is worth reading. This week, we take a look at the migration debate on both continents, France’s “anti-liberal” left, and more.
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Is Macron a centrist or merely a centralizer? In this article for the London Review of Books, Didier Fassin highlights the ways in which the French president has used a polemicized narrative of “progressives vs. nationalists” to claim pretenses to populist governance

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Introducing Tocqueville 21’s Revue de Presse

June 22, 2019

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Starting this weekend, we’re going to be trying something new on this blog: putting together a weekly collection of some of the most interesting articles, in English and French, that touch on some of the core themes of this blog. The articles we’ll be posting do not necessarily represent the opinions of Tocqueville 21’s writers, but get to the heart of contemporary democratic issues as seen in the politics of France, the United States, and beyond. These collections will be curated by Jacob and Danielle as well as Tocqueville 21’s interns Matt Jackson, Felix Chaoulideer, and Claire Holland. This week, we’ve been reading about right-wing politics in France, democracy and authoritarianism in Egypt, and

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