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Ideological uncertainty and the path of convergence: the impact of the 1970s in France and Britain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)317-330
Number of pages14
JournalModern and Contemporary France
Issue number3
Early online date15 Jun 2016
DateAccepted/In press - 16 Apr 2016
DateE-pub ahead of print - 15 Jun 2016
DatePublished (current) - Sep 2016


This article looks at the fracturing of certainties that began in the 1970s, at the end of the period described as ‘les trente glorieuses’ in France, but a period that was also, to a more modest extent, a period of economic expansionism and intellectual optimism in the U.K. At the level of political discourse and policy options, the economic crisis of the late 1970s prepared the ground for a marked divergence between France and the U.K.: on the one hand, the ‘socialisme aux couleurs de la France’ that was to characterize the ambition of the socialist years under François Mitterrand, and on the other, a return to the corner-shop capitalism of thrift and endeavour that was at the heart of Margaret Thatcher’s remedy for the U.K.’s ills. Looked at, however, from the perspective offered by theories of convergence, underlying that manifest divergence was a deeper gravitational pull to the same path as both countries endured the loss of old ideological certainties and grappled, as we shall argue, with a new ideology that is no less powerful and ubiquitous for refusing to declare itself as such.

    Research areas

  • France, U.K., society, ideology, convergence

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  • Ideological_uncertainty_revised

    Rights statement: This is the author accepted manuscript (AAM). The final published version (version of record) is available online via Taylor & Francis at Please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.

    Accepted author manuscript, 308 KB, PDF document


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