09 March 2016

How the French think #7

More on Sudhir Hazareesingh's How the French Think: An Affectionate Portrait of an Intellectual People (Amazon link here).

Words, terms and expressions used in italics #4:

the myth of la douce France (p322); social equality and justice in the suburban banlieues (p323);

Noted in passing #4:

  • Dominique de Villepin's speech to the United Nations in 2003 (p312)
  • ... the wonderfully French conception of autonomy: in order to be recognized as 'independent', these bookshops have to be funded by the State. (p315)
  • ... the more profound legacy of Descartes in contemporary France lies in the way his work continues to inspire wider cultural practices and norms  from the pedagogical ideal of the philosophy baccalauréat, centred around the notions of abstract rationalism and critical individual judgement, to the collective reflections and recollections that emerge every summer in France when the baccalauréat questions become publicly known. (p316)
  • The pessimistic turn among the nation's cultural elites discussed in the previous chapter was expressed through a very familiar conceptual repertoire  and many of its elements continue to inform the French style of thinking today: the presentation of ideas through overarching frameworks; a preference for considering questions in their essence, rather than in their particular manifestations; a fondness for apparent contradictions; and a tendency to frame issues around binary oppositions. (pp316-17)
  • ... the French intellectual landscape: the notions of revolution and rupture appear much less frequently ... (p317)
  • ... the progressive eschatology (a mixture of Cartesianism, republicanism and Marxism) that dominated the mindset of the nation's elites for much of the modern era. (p319)
  • Derridian deconstructionism (p320)
  • the mercurial, enigmatic bibliophile François Mitterrand (p320)
  • the primary intellectual characteristics of the graduates from the technocratic Grandes Écoles are a sense of corporation and a resistance to unconventional thinking (p320)
  • a new division between the confident nation and the anxious nation (p322)
  • reflected in French public language (p324)
  • francophonia (or, as Derek Walcott put it, 'franco-phoney') (p324)
  • The French Left's powerful strain of anti-capitalism and its cultural hostility to the bourgeoisie have no other real European equivalent (p325)
  • the 'technocracy' (p326)
  • One thing is certain, however: as they face the challenges of the twenty-first century, the French will remain the most intellectual of peoples, continuing to produce elegant and sophisticated abstractions about the human condition. (p326)

1 comment:

Full circle

After completing a BSc in physics and maths in Australia and extended travels in Africa I found a job in Paris that left me with considerab...