What role does la francophonie play in French

What function does La Francophonie drama in Gallic Foreign Policy?

La Francophonie is a cardinal dogma of Gallic foreign policy, even at the morning of the 20 first century. Unlike the British Commonwealth, which has dwindled in significance since the disbanding of the old European imperiums after the terminal of the Second World War, La Francophonie has been able to keep a exalted place of cultural, rational and political significance in modern-day France in malice of the rapid patterned advance of globalization that has seen traditional national boundary lines apparently eroded nightlong. The grounds for this will be explored within the treatment herein, which will follow a needfully analytical attack so as to look beneath the facade of the image that France wishes to project of herself in order to find the true ideological nature of the portion played by La Francophonie in foreign personal businesss. In add-on to analysis, the treatment will likewise follow a chronological attack, following the development of La Francophonie to see how its intent has changed in the past 30 old ages. A decision will be sought that efforts to demo that France is alone amongst cotemporary NATO and EU powers in its trust upon a common criterion of pattern in the cultural, political and economic domains. First, nevertheless, a brief overview of La Francophonie and the OIF ( Organisation Internationale de La Francophonie ) must be ascertained, so as to set up a conceptual model for the balance of the treatment.

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The term, ‘La Francophonie’ was foremost coined by Gallic geographer Onesime Reclus in 1880 to specify the burgeoning Gallic settlements and French-speaking parts of the universe from Northern Africa to Northern America to the Caribbean. This was non an particularly fresh thought as the construct of organizing imperial brotherhoods based upon the linguistic communication, imposts and ideals of the alleged ‘mother country’ was in trend throughout the European colonial power houses of the age, most notably in the administrative and cultural Centres of Britain and Germany. It is an of import point and one that should be borne in head throughout the balance of the treatment: La Francophonie is, in kernel, an imperialistic paradigm that has its roots in the flower of the 19th century European colonialism. This should non come as a surprise. As Steven Howe explains, the historical imperial experience is at the nucleus of the modern-day universe order.

“A great trade of the world’s history is the history of imperiums. Indeed, it could be said that all history is imperial – or colonial – history, if one takes a wide adequate definition and goes back far enough.” [ 1 ]

La Francophonie is, hence, a discernibly anachronic political orientation ( apparently captive upon procrastinating the spread of globalization ) that has since collapsed in London and Berlin yet which conversely ( and oddly ) remains a strong tool of cultural and political individuality in modern France. The grounds for this reside in the class that Gallic, and so universe, history has taken since the release of France in 1945. On the one manus, freedom and autonomy – the duplicate ideological pillars upon which the 1789 revolution were founded – have been transported with a great grade of success across the Earth ( rendering Paris’ function as the ‘clearing house of modern thought’ obsolete ) and, on the other, the Gallic linguistic communication has been forced to take a back-seat to the rampant March of Anglo?Saxon English that has long been the linguistic communication of the planetary concern and political communities. In both of these cases the function played by the United States has been profound, possibly traveling some manner to explicating the ageless clumsiness of Gallic foreign policy, in peculiar La Francophonie, towards the Washington?inspired hegemonic policy of globalization that seeks to convey American consumer civilization to every corner of the planet.

The modern impression of La Francophonie was born from a century of cumulative co?operation between the apparently disparate planetary parts of the Gallic lingual and cultural imperium. Cross?national associations of professions such as instructors, journalists and legal experts morphed into the creative activity of the concrete political construct of La Francophonie, officially institutionalised in March 1970 in Niamey. It should be noted that this rich history of Gallic talking provinces working together was non a phenomenon that was concerned entirely with the inquiry of preserving and distributing the usage of French as a primary linguistic communication. Gallic civilization and imposts every spot every bit much as the Gallic linguistic communication was – and remains – a critical constituent of La Francophonie. It is a complex construct for pupils from an English speech production and British cultural background to grok, yet the power of Gallic linguistic communication and imposts in the intent and place of La Francophonie in French foreign personal businesss should in no manner be underestimated. As Fernand Braudel has re?iterated, linguistic communication and civilization are cardinal constituents of Gallic individuality – a national construct rooted in mediaeval Europe and the Treaty of Verdun in 843. [ 2 ]

The administration consists of 50 three member provinces and authoritiess, two associate member provinces and 13 perceivers of the acmes. The original vision of La Francophonie called for the exchange of thoughts and information between the member states of the administration to advance the ideals of Republican France: “equality, complementarity and stability.” La Francophonie is accordingly per se tied to the radical forces that conspired to ramp the Bastille in 1789 even if the administration does non specifically allude to the Gallic Revolution within its official remit. As James McMillan testifies, in the gap decennary of the 20 first century, this blazing mistiming may non be such a negative phenomenon, at least where France itself is concerned.

“In the face of the rise of a new and distressing version of individuality political relations on the Gallic far right, the war cries of the Republic – autonomy, equality and fraternity – retain their relevancy. They remain to be to the full realised.” [ 3 ]

The Republican motto can non, nevertheless, mask the protectionist nature of the fundamental law of La Francophonie, which has, since its origin, sought to protect Gallic imposts, ideals and the linguistic communication itself from what it perceives as an external assault. This protectionism is non merely a merchandise of Gallic political tradition but is besides perplexingly outstanding in states such as Canada that has used English as the official national linguistic communication throughout the class of its history. Therefore, it should be understood that the function played by the dominant rules of La Francophonie is a slightly intangible philosophical binding of the loose pudding stone of Gallic speech production and Gallic cultured states across the planet that is evocative of the exalted function assigned to German during the interwar old ages when a certain sense of siege outlook was adopted against any provinces that did non utilize the German linguistic communication or adhere to German civilization. This is, of class, non to compare the ideals of La Francophonie to the deformed political political orientation of National Socialism ; this comparing simply serves to underline the alone nature of the construct of La Francophonie in the modern universe order where it has no equal modern-day comparing.

It can be seen that much of what ties the member provinces of La Francophonie together resides in the past and in a slightly nostalgic vision of French and universe history. Furthermore, the drift behind its modern-day preparation remains captive upon looking into the past every bit much as to the hereafter. It would, though, be wrong to concentrate merely on the historical and protectionist policies of La Francophonie. Indeed, one demand merely glimpse at the four cardinal rules that dominate the purposes and aspiration of the OIF in order to appreciate the political liberalism that is the driving force behind the theory of La Francophonie. These four guiding rules ( advancing democracy, peace and human rights ; back uping instruction and research ; developing cooperation for sustainable development ; and advancing the Gallic linguistic communication and cultural diverseness in all of the member provinces ) are used in concurrence with the of import portion that France has to play in the European Union, which is besides a acute booster of peace, democracy and human rights across the Earth. Therefore, the theoretical function that La Francophonie has to play is in portion a synthesis to the of import diplomatic portion performed by the EU on the international phase while at the same clip it has a foreign policy agenda all of its ain, functioning to further the demands of Gallic speech production parts of the universe merely, apparently unconcerned with the remainder of the planetary community, peculiarly those countries that speak English. There is, hence, a certain paradox at work in the preparation and announcement of La Francophonie, one which is diagnostic of the societal, political, economic and cultural unease that has beset France in the past two decennaries.

“The strengthening of socio?cultural undertones in Gallic society during the past 20 old ages has stressed the primacy of single aims and the satisfaction of ego over corporate aims and the building of society.” [ 4 ]

Although in ownership of a clear and concise set of purposes and aims, La Francophonie, it must be stated, has suffered from a certain grade of political powerlessness in the yesteryear, surely with respects to the inquiry of what intent it has on the international phase outside of the traditional Gallic talking communities of the universe. This sense of disaffection increased during the late 1980’s and early 1990’s as the proliferation of new engineerings, fired by the duplicate engines of the Digital Revolution and the victory of nomadic telephone, made the issue of the Gallic linguistic communication ( in add-on to the ideals of the Gallic Revolution ) seem even more out of day of the month and out of touch with the technological world of the twenty-four hours. When one considers that English has become the cosmopolitan linguistic communication of the Internet, the decreasing relevancy of La Francophonie on the universe phase becomes instantly and starkly apparent. Furthermore, the rapid political enlargement of the EU during the same clip frame, that saw the political Union addition from 13 to twenty five member provinces, has placed farther inquiry Markss over the raison d’etre of La Francophonie and the OIF. To many perceivers, it appeared that the thrust to keep Gallic as one of the most of import linguistic communications and civilizations in the universe was no longer necessary as the 20th century drew to a stopping point. As Malcolm Cook and Grace Davie attest, “a peculiar concern for the Gallic is the function they play both in Europe and on the universe stage.” [ 5 ]

With this evident terminal diminution of the function of La Francophonie in French, European and universe personal businesss in head, the 1995 OIF acme ( the Cotonou Summit ) sought to right the balance of La Francophonie with respects to promoting its function on the universe phase without releasing any of the lingual and cultural purposes that have ever defined the primacy of France and the Gallic in foreign personal businesss. At this acme it was decided that the caputs of all take parting authoritiess should band together to do the OIF a to the full fledged political establishment in its ain right, traveling off from the strictly theoretical footing of the past towards a more practical vision of La Francophonie for the hereafter. As a consequence the place of Secretary General of the OFI was inaugurated at this clip with the former United Nations’ Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali being the first to keep the new station – a move which lent an tremendous sum of political prestigiousness to the OFI on the universe phase. Furthermore, at the 2004 Summit in Burkina Faso, 40 nine caputs of full member provinces agreed to follow a 10 twelvemonth strategic model that would realize the four cardinal edifice blocks of La Francophonie into a concrete socio?political programme for proactive alteration until the twelvemonth 2015.

However, while this represents a ample leap forward from the instead equivocal intent of La Francophonie in the old ages predating 1995, there are still many inquiries that can be asked of the function played by the OFI in French foreign personal businesss. Decoding the difference between the OFI and the EU with respects to the two organisations’ stance over human rights is, for case, a peculiarly slippery undertaking. Likewise the vocal encouragement of fledgling democracies, which is a cardinal characteristic of US foreign policy. Of more concern to the one hundred and seventy five million Gallic talkers spread out over five continents and the seven hundred million people who live within the boundaries of the Organisation Internationale de La Francophonie, there is besides the job of doing the populations of the parts aware of the demand for the OFI by doing seeable the programs put into action at the Cotonou Summit.

“True, La Francophonie has a cardinal political function to play. But La Francophonie must go on to be utile, seeable, and practical. It must be prepared to be judged on what it truly contributes to communities. It is non a affair of back uping instruction for education’s interest, civilization for culture’s interest, or promoting people to larn to talk Gallic because it is politically right. Today, we must determine people’s environments to better their life conditions. We must give the adult females and work forces of La Francophonie the agencies to take control of their development.” [ 6 ]

Viewed through this prism, La Francophonie suffers from the same crisis of political individuality that has afflicted the European Union – a organic structure that remains something of a enigma to 100s of 1000000s of European citizens. The function of La Francophonie, though clearly defined by the envoies who make up the OFI, is non every bit transparent to the grass roots talkers and protagonists of Gallic linguistic communication and imposts. This remains a serious cause for concern among Francophiles as, while the intent of La Francophonie struggles to do itself seeable to the outside universe, the relentless double consolidation of English as the planetary linguistic communication and American as the planetary consumer civilization continues at an unprecedented gait.

Before turning attending towards explicating a decision, reference must be made of Gallic foreign policy in action ( as opposed to theory ) on the universe phase in recent old ages. While the purposes of the OFI have undoubtedly become more intense and focused since 1995, events on the universe phase have been irrevocably affected by the terrorist atrociousnesss of September 11Thursday, 2001. This momentous event has served to trip a re?structuring of the planetary community along spiritual every bit good as ideological lines. More significantly every bit far as France and the policy of La Francophonie are concerned, the media?generated involvement in battling fundamentalist visions of Islam has placed the concerns of Gallic linguistic communication and imposts partisans much further down the list of national precedences, surely behind the issue of regional security, which has become the most of import remarkable foreign policy issue for Europe and its fringe since 9/11. Therefore, La Francophonie, while still really much in grounds in parts of the universe such as Quebec, has become more hushed without rather losing its relevancy to the wider international community. France, its colonial history, its linguistic communication and its imposts remain of import communicating blocks between the West and the underdeveloped universe as the recent war in Southern Lebanon has illuminated when France played a polar function in the dialogues for peace between Israel and Hezbollah, the hawkish arm of the former Gallic district of Lebanon. In the concluding analysis, hence, the function of La Francophonie is surely non defunct with respects to Gallic foreign policy, although another, wide graduated table restructuring along the lines of the Cotonou Summit in 1995 appears inevitable.


The function of La Francophonie is notoriously vague and politically equivocal. What seems clear is that it is a policy of integrating between assorted disparate parts of the universe that have a lingual and/or a cultural connexion to France. Its ideals are rooted in history, in peculiar the 1789 revolution and the dominant sentiment that the Gallic vision of freedom, autonomy and equality as preached by pre-eminent philosophers such as Rousseau and Voltaire remains the steering vision of democracy for the 20 first century. La Francophonie is hence inherently self-contradictory as it strives to happen a topographic point in the hereafter for a impression of France that has already been defeated infinite times in the recent yesteryear. This is non, nevertheless, to reason that La Francophonie has little touchable intent and that it does non in some manner dictate the form of modern-day Gallic foreign policy. Indeed, the go oning refusal to endorse the US?led ‘war on terror’ is a symptom of this cultural protectionism that seeks to pull a line between France and the English speech production parts of the universe on moral every bit good as political and lingual evidences. Therefore, La Francophonie is in the terminal testimony to the power of theory over pattern in international dealingss.


BRAUDEL, Fernand.The Identity of France, Volume One: History and Environment, London, Fontana, 1990

BRUBAKER, Rogers.Citizenship and Nationhood in France and Germany, Cambridge, Mass. , Harvard University Press, 1994

COOK, Michael and DAVIE, Grace.Modern France: Society in Passage, London, Routledge, 1999

HOWE, Steven.Empire: a Very Short Introduction,Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2002

MCMILLAN, James.Twentieth Century France: Politicss and Society in France, 1898?1991, London, Hodder Arnold, 1992

MCMILLAN, James.Modern France, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2003

MENDRAS, Henri.Social Change in Modern France, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1991

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