Contemporary French Culture in a Global Context

As taught in Semester Two 2009
Dr John Marks, School of Modern Languages and Culture

This module looks at aspects of contemporary French culture in the context of an increasingly globalised culture and economy. In part, the module explores recent attempts to defend, redefine and interpret key aspects of French identity and culture as a means of negotiating ways of living in an era of globalisation and changing social structures.

The module focuses on aspects of everyday life in France that are charged with political and economic significance, namely food/wine production and consumption and sport. These areas all raise questions about a range of issues: the national and the ‘local’ versus the global; constructions of Frenchness in opposition to America; the decline of rural France; the contemporary redefinition of mythical national figures in the shape of le paysan; the continuity and significance of established French values and cultural practices; and the maintenance of a distinctively French social model in the face of globalisation.

A key component of the module delivery will be an in-depth analysis of the much discussed recent documentary film Mondovino, which examines the cultural and economic significance of global wine production. We will also look at the cultural significance of contemporary French football, with particular reference to the successful French national team of 1998 and 2000.

Suitable for study at: undergraduate level 1