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3. Hegemony in practice? Despite Vichy’s intention to break with the Republican precedent, the everyday reality during the Occupation was far more complex.

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Presentation on theme: "3. Hegemony in practice? Despite Vichy’s intention to break with the Republican precedent, the everyday reality during the Occupation was far more complex."— Presentation transcript:

1 3. Hegemony in practice? Despite Vichy’s intention to break with the Republican precedent, the everyday reality during the Occupation was far more complex. Antonio Gramsci’s concept of hegemony can, I argued, be usefully applied to Vichy ideology. Gramsci wrote that in order for hegemony to be successful, ‘account [should] be taken of the be taken of the interests and tendencies of the groups over which hegemony is to be exercised. ’ (Gramsci: 1971) In fact, Vichy did just that. Two important Republican cultural reference points were retained by Vichy for the duration of the Occupation: the Marseillaise and the tricolore. Context This poster is a synopsis of the first chapter of my thesis and outlines some of the central arguments of my doctoral research. In the chapter, I examined how our understanding of ideology has been shaped by theorists, including Marx and Engels, Antonio Gramsci and Louis Althusser. I also investigated how these theories of ideology can be applied to the history of ideology under the Vichy regime. The ideology of the Vichy regime : a history of compromise and adaptation David Lees Supervisors: Professor Nick Hewlett and Dr Jessica Wardhaugh R. Vachet, BDIC AFF (1) This is one of the clearest examples of how Vichy envisioned its ideology as a clean break with the Republican tradition. The two houses depict the Republic (left) and Vichy (right). 1. Ideology: A working definition Before looking closely at the history of ideology during the Occupation, it is important to discuss what the term actually means. There is no over-arching or widely-accepted definition of ideology, so for the purposes of this thesis, ideology refers to: ‘A set of ideas, beliefs, opinions and values. A body of concepts that help to legitimate a dominant power.’ 2. A new ideology? Vichy replaced the values of the Republic–liberté, égalité, fraternité–with travail, famille, patrie, as the regime aimed to create a distinct set of guiding principles and beliefs. Philippe Pétain was revered as the Head of the French State and this extreme devotion, or Pétainisme, was at the forefront of the National Revolution. In effacing the values of the Republic and through its emphasis on exclusion of the ‘anti-France’–Jews, Freemasons and Communists–from French society, Vichy signalled its intention to break with the Republican tradition. Theories of ideology can, I found, be usefully applied to the history of ideology under the Vichy regime. Although there was widespread support for the reform of the Third Republic, Vichy successfully garnered consent through adopting Republican symbols. However, I suggested that the complexities of Vichyisme, or Vichy ideology, mean that it cannot be described as a ‘typical’ ideology. Rather, Vichyisme had numerous competing influences. Unlike ‘macro’ ideologies, like Communism or Socialism, Vichyisme had limited aims beyond France. I argued, finally, that one of the few unifying elements to Vichyisme was its opposition to the Republican tradition. It is thus ironic that the regime retained references to the ideology of the Republic. E. Castel, BDIC AFF 30183(4) This image shows the extent to which Vichy aimed to claim the tricolore for itself. The slogan suggests that the regime saw the flag as a unifying symbol. Key questions Can we apply theories of ideology to the Occupation years? How is Gramsci’s concept of hegemony relevant to Vichy ideology? Was the regime’s ideology ever representative of a clean break with the Republican tradition? Conclusions: a typical ideology?


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