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The First French Republic was consular, the Second was presidential, the Third and Fourth were parliamentary, but the Fifth seems to have no distinguishing qualities.
Should France abandon the five-year presidential term? Should it proscribe political cohabitation (following the failure of the presidential party to acquire a parliamentary majority)? Is a second chamber necessary? How can the Constitutional Council be made to evolve?
Given the intellectual force of liberalism, its political appeal, its economic effectiveness and its historical significance, why is it so unpopular among French intellectuals? Why does it elicit so little serious discussion? And why is it the object of so much confusion, so many clichés and misunderstandings? Is it simply out of resentment, because intellectuals feel that the market does not afford them the material and symbolic rewards that they believe they deserve? Is it just because they prefer to play a critical role in a society where capitalism is triumphant? Perhaps, but these reasons do not explain everything and they certainly dont explain the systematic rejection of liberal thought in France. A sociologist of knowledge rather than of social determinism, and a specialist in belief systems, Raymond Boudon ruthlessly analyses the cognitive mechanisms that make liberalism so hateful in the eyes of French intellectuals. The result is a keen, detailed review of the clichés that have encumbered discussions for more than thirty years. Raymond Boudon, a professor at the University of Paris-IV, is a member of the Académie des Sciences Morales et Politiques. He us the author of numerous works, most notably LInégalité des chances, La logique du social, LIdéologie ou lorigine des idées reçues, LArt de se persuader, Le Sens des valeurs and Déclin de la morale? Déclin des valeurs. He is the co-author, with R. Leroux, of Y a-t-il encore une sociologie?