University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Darwin College Humanities and Social Sciences Group > Shaping the structure of the economy to fulfill political objectives: a constructivist and institutionalist political economy perspective on French institutional reforms (1958-69)

Shaping the structure of the economy to fulfill political objectives: a constructivist and institutionalist political economy perspective on French institutional reforms (1958-69)

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The extent to which reconstructing the purposive content of national identity can set in motion and shape the dynamics of institutional change is a neglected issue. To shed some light on this topic, this paper develops the constructivist foundations of the institutionalist political economy perspective. Relying upon discourse analysis and the process-tracing procedure, it analyzes how Gaullist France (1958-69) redefined its national purpose, which led to new objectives and policy paradigms being set by the political process. This paper then seeks to elucidate how the economic activities that would allow these objectives to be implemented were identified. It also investigates how the respective roles of markets and of the state were reconstructed so as to promote these economic activities. These roles nonetheless conflicted with one another to some extent. The cabinet thus had to rank its objectives in order of priority, which shaped its institutional reforms. The dynamics of Gaullist institutional change are analyzed more in depth through a case study on the computing industry and in the context of European integration. Overall, it is argued that the so-called dirigiste Gaullist state had in fact a limited capacity to transform the economic structure so as to implement its political objectives.

This talk is part of the Darwin College Humanities and Social Sciences Group series.

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