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At the Upper Echelons of the State: Symbols to Build National Unity

Abstract : The French executive reacted within minutes of the attack on Charlie Hebdo, visiting the affected sites and making comments in the media. In the following hours and days, they articulated a frame for the interpretation of the collective trauma and offered a narrative of resilience. This chapter shows that the French executive worked consciously after the attacks to build and preserve a national unity that it feared would break up. The authors argue that the phenomenon of a ‘rally around the flag’ (the executive enjoyed renewed support, evident in public opinion and in the attitudes of political actors) was not a ‘patriotic reflex’ but was politically and socially constructed by President Hollande, Prime Minister Valls, Interior Minister Cazeneuve and their teams. Based on interviews with the actors involved, they demonstrate that symbolic public action was prepared carefully and consciously and intended to prevent potential outbursts of violence.
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Contributor : Florence Faucher Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Wednesday, May 25, 2022 - 12:19:26 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, May 26, 2022 - 3:35:06 AM


  • HAL Id : hal-03678365, version 1



Florence Faucher, Laurie Boussaguet. At the Upper Echelons of the State: Symbols to Build National Unity. Palgrave Macmillan. Facing Terrorism in France. Lessons from the 2015 Paris Attacks, 2022. ⟨hal-03678365⟩



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