Itâ€™s interesting that Emmanuelâ€™s remarks about biased statistics about the French economy in Anglophone publications led to some comments trying to asses the extent to which France is perceived as â€œthe otherâ€, at least as far as â€œthe Westâ€ is concerned. There have always been claims about a natural rivalry of the two main â€œuniversalistâ€ western polities, France and the US, but there was, in my opinion, never too much hard evidence for such a claim. Still, intellectual traditions as well as institutionalised myths are often a very powerful element of public discourse, and sometimes even assume a certain life of their own if there are enough believers. In this case, there certainly are.
Since France will begin the process of electing a new President this Sunday, and since â€œEuropeâ€ wasnâ€™t exactly a prominent subject on any candidateâ€™s campaign agenda, I thought I share thoughts I once compiled with respect to the Europeanization of the French “other”, some parts of which have already been included in my guest post (in French) at publius.fr a couple of days before the now notorious French referendum on the European Constitution in 2005.