Saturday, March 6, 2010

Raising Citizens

All states take an interest in how children are raised and educated, since the socialization of future citizens is a fundamental part of ensuring social stability. But the French Republic has been more explicit than most in articulating these issues, perhaps because of the influence of Rousseau, particularly in Emile. Ivan Jablonka, a young historian, now proposes to examine this question by looking at the way in which the state cared for those children for whom it assumed direct responsibility: foundlings, orphans, vagabonds, and delinquents. His book is reviewed here. Jablonka's book, Les Enfants de la République, might be read in conjunction with the book I'm currently translating, Emmanuelle Saada's Les Enfants de la colonie, which looks at the way in which children of mixed blood were treated by French colonial authorities in order to shed new light on the meaning of "Frenchness" and the construction of citizenship.

The Height of Absurdity

Outsourced to Charles Bremner. But the university mavens have only begun to scratch the surface here. Sure, the name "Sorbonne" is commercially valuable, but there are ways to optimize the return on such venerable properties. You have to follow the American example and start matching the names of private firms up with public goods, for a price of course. So where we have 3Com Stadium and the Accenture Open, you can have the Société Générale Universite de Paris IV-Sorbonne or the Gaz de France Ecole Normale Supérieure. OpinonWay Institut d'Etudes Politiques has a nice ring to it. The recent commercialization of the Louvre makes it an obvious candidate for a merger: Louvre Oréal is euphonious. La Très Grande Bibliothèque Google is an obvious tie-in. And perhaps Arcelor-Mittal Elysée would be a way to chercher la croissance avec les dents.