The Centre for the Study of Democracy and the Institute for Modern and Contemporary Culture invites Fabien Jobard (CNRS/CESDIP) for the first cycle of the seminar series “French Politics: A Neighbour’s ‘History of the Present’”, entitled “An Authoritarian Spiral in France?”

Fabien Jobard’s paper is titled: “Liberal, Authoritarian, or Police State? Defining the French State According to its Police”

Seminar series “French Politics: A Neighbour’s ‘History of the Present’” invites Fabien Jobard


For some years, French police has arguably radicalised its modes of action. The “record” of the yellow vests’ demonstrations (November 2018-November 2019) is unprecedented among Western European democracies since World War 2. Indeed, one person died and more than 2,000 people were injured, among whom 25 were enucleated and 5 lost their hand or foot. President Emmanuel Macron won the 2017 elections with a resolutely liberal political programme, which was inspired by Margaret Thatcher and maybe more by Gerhard Schröder. My talk is an attempt to think the relation between, on the one hand, the form assumed by police and, on the other hand, the type of political regime. Does French police represent the police of a liberal democracy, of an authoritarian democracy, or simply of a police state?

About the seminar series

“French Politics: A Neighbour’s ‘History of the Present’” is a monthly seminar series organised by the University of Westminster (Centre for the Study of Democracy & Institute for Modern and Contemporary Culture), introducing the “crème de la crème” of French research in Social Sciences and Humanities.

This series is designed with the Foucauldian notion of “history of the present” in mind and will tackle some of the most pressing challenges of French politics and political theory today.
The series is divided into three cycles:

  • An authoritarian spiral in France?
  • French universalism vs. Alien identities?
  • Can France think of itself as postcolonial?

With kind support from the French Embassy in the UK - Higher Education Research and Innovation Department (in association with “The Borders of Identity” seminar series supported by the Funds d’Alembert 2019) and the Political Studies Association.


Main Boardroom, 309 Regent Street W1B 2HW London

Contact for more information

Emmanuel Jouai
[email protected]