Why is France so French? Culture, institutions, and neoliberalism, 1974-1981

Monica Prasad*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


French capitalism has changed in many ways in the last two decades, but France has not seen the extreme neoliberalism of Britain and the United States. The author first provides evidence that the French pattern is not caused by adherence to cultural traditions of egalitarianism. The author then uses historical and interview data to compare the French case with the American counterexample. The argument is that France has adopted a "pragmatic neoliberalism" because in the postwar period it had adopted a "pragmatic state interventionism" designed not to further goals of social justice, but to turn an agricultural country into an industrial one. Moreover, neoliberalism in the United States required a remarkable degree of extreme political innovation which has not been possible in France.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)357-407
Number of pages51
JournalAmerican Journal of Sociology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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