Les faux-semblants du Front national
Sociologie d'un parti politique
With Cécile Alduy, Dominique Andolfatto, Sylvain Barone, Julien Boyadjian, Gaël Brustier, Jean-Yves Camus, Thierry Choffat, Fabien Escalona, Delphine Espagno, Jérôme Fourquet, Stéphane François, Joël Gombin, Florent Gougou, Valérie Igounet, Gilles Ivaldi, Nicolas Lebourg, Christèle Marchand-Lagier, Abel Mestre, Caroline Monnot, Emmanuel Négrier, Emmanuelle Reungoat
The False Pretences of the Front National
The sociology of a political party
Since Marine Le Pen was elected president of the Front National in2011, the party has broken all its electoral records, attracted an unprecedented number of new supporters, and elected the most officials ever in its history. But has the party truly changed? Fundamentally, the answer is no. The 'new' FN is an illusion, cultivated by the media due to its fascination with the party. Following a detailed inquiry, such is the conclusion reached by the authors of this volume, who set out to compare the electorate, activists, networks, platforms and rhetoric of both Jean-Marie Le Pen and his daughter Marine.
While the party’s new leader has somewhat tempered her rhetoric, especially with regard to anti-Semitism, and her new platform includes elements cribbed from the Left (regarding economic issues, secularism and culture), her main hobbyhorse is still immigration. While Marine Le Pen has won over voters from groups that had previously been more chary (women and Jews, for example), the primary characteristics of FN supporters and their geographical location have not changed. The FN remains an anti-establishment party, both on account of the inequalities it defends and of its rejection of pluralism. This positioning partly explains the party’s success, but also condemns it to political isolation.
The FN is thus far from being normalised, despite the party’s obvious attempts at presenting a softer, gentler image. It is still not a party ‘like all the others’, nor is it ‘France’s most important party’, ‘on the verge of gaining power’.
Sylvain Crépon is a lecturer in political science at the Université François-Rabelais in Tours and a researcher with LERAP. Alexandre Dézé is a lecturer in political science at the Université de Montpellier 1 and a researcher with CEPEL. Nonna Mayer is the director emeritus of research at the CNRS, and collaborates with Sciences Po’s Centre d'études européennes (Centre for European Studies - CEE).