Globalization and French Cultural Identity

Philip H. Gordon and
Philip H. Gordon Former Brookings Expert, Mary and David Boies Senior Fellow in U.S. Foreign Policy - Council on Foreign Relations
Sophie Meunier

March 1, 2001

Concerns about the potentially negative effects of globalization are particularly salient in France because of France’s longstanding desire to maintain a universal culture and concomitant fear of cultural domination. This article analyzes the impact of globalization on various aspects of French culture—including the entertainment industry (movies, audiovisuals and books), food, and language—and shows why the French resist globalization more on cultural than economic grounds. The article also looks at French policy responses to the cultural “threat” from globalization and argues that those policies are both less effective and less necessary than many French seem to think.