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State-Sponsored Cultural Production's Influence On Nationalist Politics In France

Due to how their unique markets are impacted by governmental action, the French have claims to cultural products in a way that creates tangible manifestations of national identity. Using the central product regulated by the Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC), wine, I will see how a particular cultural market can contribute to the rise of nationalistic voting in France. Initially, I will understand the issue through reconciling the academic literature around cultural economics, politics, and nationalism with the rich history of wine and culture in France. From this, I will begin my research by tracking the history and recent successes of the Rassamblement National (RN), France’s most codified right-wing political party. Then, to operationalize this question, I will use local elections in comparative wine regions to see how much cultural markets are both explicitly referenced and implicitly played upon in campaign rhetoric. This will be done by evaluating newspaper articles from local elections since the formation of the RN. If the RN’s increased claims to French culture translate to the voters through the media, the rise in RN success could be tied to the cultural nationalizing of the products that French regions pride themselves on. While the literature may expect a direct casual effect between state-led national identity through tangible cultural products and election results, the research does not show a direct effect of cultural claims as the reason for RN success. Yet, France still provides a particularly interesting case study of direct governmental influence in their recognized cultural economies that can still inform the discourse around cultural nationalism in the twentieth century.