François Vergniolle de Chantal

The Republican Party’s identity as fashioned since 1964 is poles apart from the moderate conservatism that had characterised the party until then. The party ideology has become populist, religious and nationalistic. It results from Barry M. Goldwater and later Richard Nixon’s "southern" electoral strategy. The party cashed in on the discontent sown among the southern population by racial integration, and has consequently made the former Confederate States its stronghold. This shift has been so large in scope that it constitutes the main feature of US politics in the past four decades. Political initiative has since then been primarily rightwing, weakening the Democrats. When the GOP won a majority in the South, the Democratic coalition suffered a trauma it has yet to recover from. The nationalist reaction to the 9/11 attacks gave the Republicans a supplementary political base. Nevertheless, this comeback does not have sufficiently stable elements allowing for a lasting Republican coalition. The Republicans’ strength resides in the fervour that surrounds them, as well as, as we will argue, in the Democrats’ inability to define a tactic to face the Republican challenge. Yet, the balance of (electoral) power does not tip to the Republicans. Although demographical and geographical factors favour the right, social evolutions tend to favour the Democrats. The latter may lack strategy, but they do not lack resource. The situation is exactly the opposite for the Republicans.

Anne Rulliat

The city of Shanghai, which has been hard hit by the various reorganizations of state enterprises since the early 1990s, is a forerunner in policies to battle unemployment, to the extent that its achievements are often referred to by the expression the Shanghai model(Shanghai moshi). The city has been experiencing a variety of forms of unemployment since the year 2000, affecting not only workers in state enterprises but all categories of the population, particularly young people. This study examines the Shanghai model, first describing the causes of unemployment in Shanghai, and then tracing the development of the measures taken in the past ten years or so. From the widespread structural unemployment in the years 1996-1997 to the more contextual unemployment in recent years, the city has devised a whole array of measures that are constantly evolving. Some are specifically adapted to the organization of Chinese society, but a number of others are similar to those adopted in OECD countries. In opposition to the liberal discourse on the mercantilization of labor, these measures demonstrate a strong state voluntarism in employment policies. The preservation of social stability serves as a yardstick to gauge the effectiveness of these public policies.

Marc Valeri

The sudden slump in oil production since 2001 has only heightened the question of an alternative to an economy based on oil revenues, whereas the sultanate had undergone exponential development over the three preceding decades. From this standpoint, the policy of Omanizing the labor force conditions all other issues, as it is not merely an economic matter, but instead deeply alters the social fabric that remained intact during the era of prosperity, thereby questioning the very legitimacy of Oman’s economic model. Omani society is currently experiencing a rise in frustrations reflected in a resurgence of particularist prejudices and demands. Alongside this phenomenon is an exacerbation of inequality, particularly due to the enmeshment of economic and decisionmaking powers in the hands of the oligarchy that has benefited from these revenues since 1970. To what extent do the changes Oman is going through today harbor a threat for the stability of a regime considered to be one of the most stable in the region?

Renaud Egreteau

The Burmese junta that came to power in 1962, and reaffirmed its domination by a second military coup d’état in September of 1988, has steadily increased its control over the nation’s institutions and over the running of the country (renamed Myanmar in 1989). In August of 2003, the decision taken by General Khin Nyunt, Prime Minister and head of military intelligence, to propose “a road map to democracy” suggested that a gradual “transition to democracy”, closely supervised by the military regime, was possible. But the ousting of Khin Nuyunt in October 2004 spelled the return of the regime’s hardliners and of the last of the army’s nationalist chiefs, adamantly opposed to any negotiations with the democratic civilian opposition led by Aung San Suu, held under house arrest since May 2003. Thus the regime, strengthened by a favorable strategic environment, has a good chance of remaining in power by setting its own rules for “democratic” procedures, its aim being to keep the country stable rather pursuing a process of liberalization. Such a policy will inevitably be detrimental to the interests of the opposition and the ethnic minorities.

The peace agreements that were signed in May 2004 may imply the end of the war in South Sudan. In order to assess the likelihood of success, one has to discuss the changes after the Islamists were brought to power in 1989 by a military coup. Of special interest are the impacts of their internal divisions, the emergence of oil money as significant revenues for the State and the consequences of 9/11 in the Middle East. Moreover, difficulties to implement the agreements in South Sudan should not be underplayed. The underdevelopment of this region, the existence of militias still supported by Khartoum and the history of the civil war among Southern Sudanese could give room to bitter divisions and proxy wars involving Khartoum’s government. The current crisis in Darfur reflects the weaknesses of the peace process despite a strong international involvement. Structural issues such as citizenship have not been addressed and this very crisis shows how little the regime intends to reform itself.

Matthieu Salomon

Since the 1980s – and, more symbolically, since the 6th Communist party Congress – Vietnam has been engaged in reform, which is referred to as “dôi moi”, i.e. renewal. While their aim is, first and foremost, to change the rules governing economic activity, these reforms have, since the 1990s, also been associated with political, institutional and legal change. Influenced, on the one hand, by endogenous constraints arising out of the necessary adaptation of the politico-legal environment and of the evolution of the power-legitimation processes and, on the other hand, by exogenous constraints born of the desire for integration into the international community and economy, the discourse of the Vietnamese authorities and the country’s fundamental political texts have both been modified. It seems undeniable that, despite its weightiness and areas of permanence, the Vietnamese politico-legal system is, de facto, slowly evolving and becoming “normalised”. The intention here is not to suggest that Vietnam is undergoing a “democratic transition” bringing it closer to a western model of reference. The aim of the regime may be defined thus: “to consolidate the single-party system while satisfying the demands for modernisation”. By means of an analysis of the system of people’s assemblies elected by the population and of the legal – i.e. juridical and judicial – system, this study attempts to provide an insight into the regime’s capacity for politico-legal innovation and, notably, into its capacity to structure new arenas for debate. It examines the complex evolutions which have affected the rules and players of this too-often-neglected aspect of a changing Vietnam.

Florence Padovani

The study of the population movements caused by the major Chinese hydraulic projects reveals the true extent of the change which has come about in relations between the State and society in China. The construction of the Three Gorges dam – which led to considerable controversy both within China and beyond – is a prime case in point. As well as its social consequences, this infrastructure project has ramifications in the political, economic and legal domains, notably because of the forced migrations which it has entailed. The manner in which this question has been managed – both by central government, which planned the project, and by the provincial governments, which had to manage time constraints and financial and human resources at first hand – illustrates the extent to which the country has moved away from the authoritarian approach which had currency under the rule of Chairman Mao. The study of the project provides insights into the manner in which the authorities on the ground actually applied the directives received from the Centre, and into the difficulty encountered by the rulers in Beijing in ensuring that their centralised vision of the new China holds sway. The way in which the sensitive issue of forced migrations has been managed highlights what is at stake in the disputes between the various players, i.e. officials in the many ministries concerned, local and provincial authorities, displaced populations and host populations. The specific modes of justification employed by each group provide pointers towards an understanding of the complexity of China's new "civil society".

Enlargement today is a priority on the European agenda. Examining Portugal and Greece from a comparative perspective with respect to Poland, this Study analyzes the original and specific paths each of these national configurations have taken as regards administrative and institutional changes, particularly through the regional dimension, policy reorientations and modes of government. Given the large body of acquis communautaire that must be integrated, the nature of Commission involvement and the highly regulatory nature of European directives, this dimension emerges as the most significant in the process of Europeanization: public administration acts as a filter in this dynamic and nation-states are paradoxically strengthened by European integration. This comparison is an opportunity to underscore the importance of innovations and the singularity of modes of government, suggesting that certain arrangements put into practice in cohesion countries may provide sources of inspiration for the new entrants, which are faced with similar problems of administrative competence, bureaucratic blockages and political and state legacies that are remote from the European model of public administration, civil service organization and rules. With the effect of European constraints, a threefold dynamic is at work: a dynamic of delegation, or privatization, through the creation of agencies, offices and institutes, a dynamic of politicized (re)centralization, and a dynamic of political, institutional and social innovation. Thus components of these models are constantly borrowed and reshaped, hybrid constructions are formed and configurations take shape that are no less European than what can be found in the “heart” of Europe.

Christian Milelli

The « new economy » in South Korea rhymes with the Internet. In 2003, the “land of morning calm” has actually become the most connected country in the world. The present study tackles this phenomenon from a number of angles. The Internet is not only considered as a physical network but a lever of transformation of the country’s economic and social life. Although the role of the state has been decisive and remains focal, it is not enough to explain the extreme rapidity with which the new electronic medium spread, which is due to a broad range of causes. The Korean experience differs from former ones in that it extends well beyond the market sphere (e-commerce) to areas such as education, volunteer associations and even politics. The emergence of a national dimension constitutes another characteristic that at first seems paradoxical, since the Internet is so universal in scope. Yet observation of the evolution of Internet traffic on the national level confirms this trend. South Korea is far from an exceptional case in Asia, but the country has taken the lead over its neighbors, becoming a new “model.” Beyond these singular features, the Korean experience in the use of the Internet again demonstrates that a global “information revolution” – in other words, a process that is quickly reshaping the material bases of an entire society – is underway.

Emmanuelle Le Texier

Since the early nineteen-eighties, the new political visibility of Latinos has been referred to as the awakening of a “sleeping giant.” Their increased political expression, be it in the form of protest action during civil rights movements or electoral participation, marks a turning point in the integration of Hispanics in the American public sphere. With a growing number of voters, candidates and elected officials, Latinos have emerged on the political scene. The increasingly influential role of pan-ethnic interest groups and new opportunities for political participation created by the development of transnational networks have contributed to the elaboration of this new participative framework. Yet their electoral and political influence remains below the demographic, economic, social and cultural importance of these some 35 million individuals who make up over 12 percent of the U.S. population. Most of the minority groups still encounter major obstacles to political access. These are partly structural, but also internal to the group: not only is it divided over domestic or foreign issues, it is fragmented by national origin, status and generation. The singular nature of immigration from Latin America, the continuity of migratory flows and their diversity, all constantly rekindle divergences over what strategy Latinos should adopt for participating in the public debate. They also highlight the fictional, both functional and dysfunction, nature of ethnic categorization in the United States. The ethnic card may be an instrument of participation, but it can also prove to seriously fetter minorities’ entry into politics.