Archive | December, 2015

Mali. The normalization of German security policy?

Germany’s recent decision to deploy soldiers in Mali is new in the course of its history. Indeed, so far Germany was reluctant to engage with security policy in Africa. Matthias Vogl analyses the reasons for this change of policy and its implications for both the European Union and the African continent. After completing his PhD on European security policy in Africa, Matthias Vogl is now research fellow at the Center for European Integration Studies (ZEI) at the University of Bonn. His research focuses on the comparative approach of regional integration between European Union and West Africa. There was recently a news report about the deployment of a German contingent of up to 650 soldiers – among them reconnaissance forces – to Mali within the framework of the UN Mission MINUSMA. This contingent is about to replace Dutch forces during the next few months. Given the widely known German reluctance to send soldiers into risky scenarios in Africa, one could ask if this attitude is changing now, as MINUSMA is dubbed one of the most dangerous UN missions worldwide. Is German military engagement in Africa, apart from training and logistics, becoming something normal? No doubt, with the ambitious speeches of German […]

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La République des signes: Myths of Frenchness since Le Petit Diouf

Reflecting on Roland Barthes’ Le Petit Diouf, Pr Michael Kelly explores the relationship between nationhood and myth-making in contemporary France. The Petit Diouf is the figure pictured on the front page of a 1955 issue of the French magazine Paris Match. It provides an example of the way daily myths operate in the making of French national identity and eventually reinforce the power of the state. Michael Kelly is a Professor of French in Modern Languages at the University of Southampton. He is a specialist in modern French culture and society, especially the history of ideas and intellectuals, and on public policy in the area of languages and language education, in the UK and in Europe more broadly This post is partly based on the Peter Morris Memorial Lecture that Michael Kelly delivered at the ASMCF Annual Conference last September.   Every country needs a myth of its nationhood. France has more of them than most countries, and the prevalent myths of Frenchness are contested. Barthes put his finger on it in Mythologies, where he showed that almost any story or image can be a myth. He describes sitting in the hairdresser’s and looking at a cover of Paris-Match, showing […]

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