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French Dissertation Topics

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Example french dissertation topic 1:

The Common Agricultural Policy: Presenting a French viewpoint.

Concerned as to the misrepresentation (in the British press) of the views of French farmers and the importance of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) to both their well-being and the long term viability of French agriculture, this dissertation challenges existent stereotypes by presenting a French view. First, the dissertation critiques the stories in the British press and ascertains the view of the British public regarding these stories through the undertaking of 20 face to face interviews. Secondly, it presents and evaluates French political commentaries on the CAP. Thirdly, it evaluates and presents a summary of the view of French farmers (compiled through interviews). In so doing it hopes to dispel many of the myths surrounding the attitudes of French farmers and their working practices and, through that, to foster greater continental understanding between citizens of France and Britain.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Chatellier, V. (2000). 'La modulation des aides directes à l'agriculture française'. INRA Sciences Sociales, vol. 5/99, pp. 12-16.
  • Doherty, B. and Hayes, G. (2012). 'Tactics, traditions and opportunities: British and French crop-trashing actions in comparative perspective'. European Journal of Political Research.
  • Lowe, P., Buller, H. and Ward, N. (2002). 'Setting the next agenda? British and French approaches to the second pillar of the Common Agricultural Policy'. Journal of Rural Studies, vol. 18(1), pp. 1-17.

Example french dissertation topic 2:

Celebrating hardships and history through song: Critical responses to the cinematic release of Les Misérables.

Though the West End musical version of Les Misérables has been running for 27 years, the recent release of the film version of Les Misérables starring Anne Hathaway has reignited the viewing public's fascination for this story by Victor Hugo. In so doing, it has brought a staple of French culture and literary history to the masses. So as to enable further comment on cultural diversity, this dissertation evaluates viewers' reactions to the film (in Bournemouth, where 30 viewers will be interviewed) with those of 30 film-goers in Toulouse. Accordingly, this is a dissertation that not only requires a through understanding of French culture and cinema but also the advanced levels of linguistics attained during a French degree course.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • McKelvey, M. (2001). Translating the musical Les Mise´rables: A polysystemic approach. Doctoral dissertation, Concordia University.
  • Nassiboullina, L. (2011). Comparative analysis of the French, English, and Russian versions of the musical Notre-Dame de Paris. Doctoral dissertation, Concordia University.
  • Stephens, B. (2009). 'Victor Hugo'. French Studies, vol. 63(1), pp. 66-74.

Example french dissertation topic 3:

Towards a new entente-cordiale?

Researching a contemporary issue in Anglo-French politics, this dissertation looks at the decision of the two governments to share defence resources such as nuclear warhead design and testing and aircraft carriers. In so doing this dissertation contextualises the study with reference to previous defence pacts and treaties between the nations and also comments on how French nationals perceive the suggested creation of a single European army. Thereafter these views are contrasted by those recorded in similar primary data collection undertaken within the UK so that the study may proffer a more holistic (rather than single-country based) evaluation of the benefits that co-operation bring.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Gomis, B. (2011). Franco-British defence and security treaties: Entente while it lasts? London: Chatham House.
  • Jones, B. (2011). Franco-British military cooperation: A new engine for European defence? Paris: European Union Institute for Security Studies.
  • Tertrais, B. (2011). L'apocalypse n'est pas pour demain: Pour en finir avec le catastrophisme. Paris: Editions Denoël.

Example french dissertation topic 4:

Assessing the French colonial legacy: A study into contemporary Algerian unrest.

Using predominantly primary research, this dissertation will undertake research in both the south of France and Algiers. Interviewing French natives in both countries as well as native Algerians, it seeks to evaluate underlying prejudices. In addition, it will ask respondents to comment on what they believe to be the on-going moral duties of the French nation to those countries that they hitherto ruled as part of their Empire. This is a challenging dissertation title, the subject matter of which will continue to develop during the undertaking of the research. It accordingly presents the writer with an ability to offer up-to-date analysis on events as they occur and makes the subject matter of the ensuing dissertation readily publishable.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Aldrich, R. (2012). 'Coming to terms with the colonial past: The French and others'. Arts: Journal of the Sydney University Arts Association, vol. 28, pp. 91-116.
  • Dine, P. (2008). 'Decolonizing the Republic'. Contemporary French and Francophone Studies, vol. 12(2), pp. 173-181.
  • Migdalovitz, C. (2011). Algeria: Current issues. Washington, DC: Congressional Research Services.

Example french dissertation topic 5:

Le blog: France's passion for blogging.

France has adopted the medium of the blog with a passion, in the political, cultural, gastronomic, and indeed, every sphere of life. This dissertation considers why blogging has taken off in France, and the effect it has had on traditional print media. In addition, it examines the socio-linguistic form of French blogs, and it investigates whether the fondness for blogging can be traced to France's early adoption of domestic telecommunication, or perhaps early blogging activities in Québec. This dissertation would be best served by a student familiar with both colloquial and formal French language skills, and the technically savvy.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Blattner, G. and Williams, L. (2009). 'Linguistic and social dimensions of French-language discussion forums'. In, Abraham, L.B. and Williams, L., (eds) Electronic discourse in language learning and language teaching. New York: John Benjamins, pp. 263-290.
  • Douglass, K. (2009) 'Second person pronoun use in French-language blogs'. In, Abraham, L.B. and Williams, L., (eds) Electronic discourse in language learning and language teaching. New York: John Benjamins, pp. 213-240.
  • Lehti, L. (2011). 'Blogging politics in various ways: A typology of French politicians' blogs'. Journal of Pragmatics, vol. 43(6), pp. 1610-1627.

Example french dissertation topic 6:

Fifty years on: Attitudes on slum dwelling and accommodation standards in Marseille.

Subsequent to the Second World War, and particularly during the 1960s, France witnessed a boom in the construction of high-rise apartments as planners and politicians sought to curb urban sprawl. The eradication of the slums of Marseille was part of the post-war reconstruction programme, and the slums had been described as especially bleak. The war in Algeria occurred simultaneously with the development of the high-rises, and many Algerian families were allocated housing in the former slum areas. Given the increasing ethnic diversity of the area, this is a dissertation that also addresses issues of community identity and cohesion and as such, makes a valuable contribution to understanding contemporary issues in French urban policy making and societal cohesion.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Horne, J.R. (2002). A social laboratory for modern France: The Musée Social & the rise of the welfare state. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
  • Lyons, A. (2004). Invisible immigrants: Algerian families and the French welfare state, 1947-1974. Irvine, CA: University of California Press.
  • Nasiali, M. (2012). 'Ordering the disorderly slum: "Standardizing" quality of life in Marseille tenements and Bidonvilles'. Journal of Urban History, vol. 38(6), pp. 1021-1035.

Example french dissertation topic 7:

A study of the art of the Paris Métro.

Combining aspects of architectural study with those of French culture, this dissertation celebrates the artwork of the Paris Métro. Taking a station by station approach the dissertation describes the aesthetics of the buildings, as well as the tile and ironwork on display to commuters on a daily basis. Noting both thematic similarities as well as those stations that 'break the mould', this dissertation would ideally suit someone who has just returned from their 'year abroad' in Paris. A comparison between the styles apparent in the Paris Métro with those of New York's subway or that of another major city would add an interesting further comparative element to this study.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Broadwell, V. (2007). City of light, city of dark: Exploring Paris below. Bloomington, IN: Xlibris Corporation.
  • Christie, M. (2009). 'Métropolitain: Trains in Paris', Green design and the city conference. 24th September 2009, Pittsburgh, VA.
  • Fritzsche, A. (2010). Subterranean railways of London and Paris: Comparative history of the Underground and the Métro in the life of the metropolis. Berlin: GRIN Verlag.

Example french dissertation topic 8:

An ethnocentric analysis of the writings of Julia Kristeva, with particular reference to attitudes towards Islam.

Ian Almond has criticised Julia Kristeva as failing to demonstrate a balanced view of Islam, particularly with regard to women's role therein. This dissertation examines Kristeva's work, and evaluates whether Almond's claim is justified. Additionally, the work considers to what degree the rise of Islam in France has affected Kristeva's work, and whether instead she presents an idealistic Christian world. Issues of the accuracy of nuances in translation are debated as being a factor in such claims. This is contrasted with the reputation that Kristeva holds for being a pioneer of what has come to be known as 'political correctness'.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Almond, I. (2007). The new Orientalists: Postmodern representations of Islam from Foucault to Baudrillard. London: IB Tauris.
  • Smith, A-M. (1998). Julia Kristeva: Speaking the unspeakable. London: Pluto.
  • Still, J. (2007). 'French feminist criticism and writing the body'. In, Plain, G. and Sellers, S., A history of feminist literary criticism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Example french dissertation topic 9:

An evaluation of French energy policies in the early 21st century.

Whereas Germany has backed away from a nuclear-based future, the French authorities have continued to embrace the technology. Charting not only the rise of the French nuclear power system but also present proposals to increase the number of nuclear powered power stations; this dissertation first provides an overview of the strategic strengths of the French power industry as it stands. Thereafter, it seeks to understand (compared to that of neighbouring European countries), the continued French adherence to the nuclear option through conducting interviews with both political commentators and consumers. A comparative element to this study would be desirable for a joint-honours linguist but is in no way essential.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Grubler, A. (2010). 'The costs of the French nuclear scale-up: A case of negative learning by doing'. Energy Policy, vol. 38(9), pp. 5174-5188.
  • Hadjilambrinos, C. (2000). 'Understanding technology choice in electricity industries: A comparative study of France and Denmark'. Energy Policy, vol. 28(15), pp. 1111-1126.
  • Hecht, G. (2009). The radiance of France: Nuclear power and national identity after World War II. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Example french dissertation topic 10:

French public opinion of the Euro - A [re]evaluation.

With the election of a French socialist President, continued austerity throughout Europe (both within and outside the Euro zone), French participation in the financial bailouts of Greece and other failing economies, rising internal trade deficits, rising unemployment and the emigrating of French nationals (such as Depardieu) to Russia as a consequence of punitive new tax rates; this dissertation strikes at the heart of contemporary French political discourses. Combining issues of French culture, politics, and economics this is a dissertation that requires both a solid grasp of economics as well as the realities of both French and European politics. This is a fascinating subject ripe for further primary investigation.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Eichengreen, B. (2008). 'The breakup of the Euro area'. In, Alesina, A. and Giavazzi, F., Europe and the Euro. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, pp. 11-51.
  • European Commission (2008). Public perceptions and attitudes in the Euro area. Brussels: The Directorate-General for the Economy and Finance.
  • Lemonnier, C. (2008). 'L'Union monétaire, l'euro et l'opinion publique', Bulletin de la Banque de France, vol. 171, pp. 69-81.

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