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Private Power and Centralization in France

Private Power and Centralization in France: The Notaires and the State

Copyright Date: 1987
Pages: 360
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  • Book Info
    Private Power and Centralization in France
    Book Description:

    By examining the relationship between the notaires, members of a significant French legal profession with deep roots in French history, and the state, Ezra Suleiman demonstrates that clientelism exists and may be more dangerous in a centralized state than in a decentralized one.

    Originally published in 1989.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-5901-6
    Subjects: History, Anthropology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
  3. List of Tables
    (pp. xi-xii)
  4. Preface
    (pp. xiii-xx)
  5. Abbreviations
    (pp. xxi-xxi)
  6. PART ONE The Problem of the State

    • CHAPTER I Introduction
      (pp. 3-12)

      This chapter briefly outlines the general concerns of this study and explains the unusual nature of the case I have chosen to analyze. Chapter 2 will discuss in greater detail the theoretical underpinnings that guide this work.

      Does the particular organizational form of a state determine, or significantly influence, that state’s capacity to assert its independence from society? Ever since Tocqueville discovered the capacity of civil society in America to organize itself and to establish a democratic polity, there has been a strong tendency to use the kinds of structures that a state possesses as a guide to explaining the...

    • CHAPTER 2 State Structures and State Power
      (pp. 13-30)

      This is a study of policymaking in a centralized state. The vehicle used for this analysis is a case study interesting in itself, for it shows, among other things, how traditional institutions, practices, and even privileges can endure in a society that has made great progress along the path of political democratization and economic modernization. But the significance of the case lies in the doors it opens to an understanding of the roles of the society, the state, and the state’s policymaking capacities. The theoretical concern of this study—namely, the capacity of what is generally considered to be the...

  7. PART TWO The Legacy of History

    • CHAPTER 3 The Eternal Dilemma
      (pp. 33-59)

      It sometimes happens that a problem is so clearly perceived that the solution more or less defines itself. Yet nothing much happens and the problem persists from one epoch to another. In 1894 one writer noted that “the notarial profession is more than ever before the order of the day. In newspapers as in journals, in pamphlets and books, even in Parlement through proposals, everywhere the notarial question is debated, studied, and discussed.”¹ These words describing a state of affairs characterized as a “problem” could have been written at any time in the nineteenth and even in the twentieth century....

    • CHAPTER 4 The Eternal Crisis
      (pp. 60-88)

      There has scarcely been a time when the notarial profession did not consider itself, or was not considered by the society, to be in the midst of a crisis. The semipermanent nature of the crisis is tied to the ambiguous status of the profession. Hence, a crisis exists whenever the notaires do not fulfill their public role in the expected manner and whenever they fall on hard times. In the first case, they are public servants distracted by their private economic activity; in the second they run profit-making enterprises but appeal to the state in their guise as public servants....

  8. PART THREE Marshaling Forces

    • CHAPTER 5 The Need for Change
      (pp. 91-106)

      The crisis that characterized the notarial profession in the nineteenth century and that continued unabated in the first half of the twentieth reached its zenith in the immediate post-World War II period. The rampant fraud within the profession as well as the profession’s relatively undemocratic character were now seen as secondary to the main failing of this corporation, its glaring incompetence. No amount of dissimulation could obscure the fact that the profession as a whole was unable to provide the services that the state required of it and for which it had been granted a monopoly. The longstanding practices of...

    • CHAPTER 6 The Modernization of the Profession: Changing a Mentality
      (pp. 107-131)

      The Armand-Rueff report can be taken as a watershed in the recent history of the profession. The report singled out the notarial profession as the quintessential example of archaism and of those groups that were doing so much to obstruct the economic development of the country. To this attack can be traced the entry of the profession into the modern age.

      The report’s message was not lost on some of the leaders of the profession. Some of the more farsighted saw the Armand-Rueff report as a precursor of more dangerous things to come. This was, after all, not a report...

    • CHAPTER 7 The Modernization of the Profession: Information and the Computer
      (pp. 132-147)

      The notaire’s aptitude for exercising his profession was by all accounts at an abysmal level throughout the nineteenth and for most of the present century. It was not until 1972 that notaires were required to have alicence en droit. In 1905 one jurist could write that “the state is not strict enough in admitting notaires, it requires too little guarantee of ability. Because of this excessive ease, entry into the notarial profession is open to any mediocrity, any washout. . . who failed hisbaccalauréator shrinks at the qualifications required of other positions in society.”¹ In the early...

    • CHAPTER 8 Organization
      (pp. 148-170)

      A group that has survived such harsh criticism, managed to preserve its monopoly and its many privileges, induce its rank and file to accept tumultuous changes, and end up being assured by a socialist government whose ideology was fundamentally hostile to the existence of this group that it could look with confidence to the future must be capable of marshaling considerable strength. In short, it must dispose an organizational capability that it is able to call upon in order to influence its environment.

      The present organizational structure of the notarial profession is a recent creation. The corporatist form of organization...

  9. PART FOUR Policymaking under Centralization

    • CHAPTER 9 Socialism and the Profession
      (pp. 173-195)

      The notaires successfully resisted attempts at a structural reform of their profession during the nineteenth and first half of the twentieth century. The profession’s capacity to resist reforms that might compromise a protected monopoly and better serve the collective interests of citizens increased immeasurably after the Second World War. Aided by a new organizational structure introduced by the Vichy regime, by the severe shock that the Armand-Rueff report occasioned, and by the rapid growth of the postwar French economy, the notarial profession entered the modern age and became ever more effective in defending its own monopoly. Once the scare caused...

    • CHAPTER 10 Socialism and the Reform of the Profession
      (pp. 196-233)

      The socialist project for reforming theoffices ministérielswas not clearly articulated in 1981. Aside from the laudable but vague desire to introduce a greater degree of democracy in French institutions, the government had some difficulty in devising specific policies that conformed to its enunciated principles. The vast changes in economic policies that the government undertook in its first year gave way to more measured policies—both economic and political—and more measured tones of political discourse.

      The socialist government from the outset was faced with an irreconcilable dilemma. The changes it wrought in its first year in power caused...

    • CHAPTER II The Profession and the State
      (pp. 234-255)

      How does a state define a policy and insure its implementation? What means does it make available for incorporating the desires of groups? To what extent does a centralized state allow itself to be influenced by private groups? In examining the abortive attempt at reforming the notarial profession I shall attempt to answer these questions.

      It should be remembered that our example is of a centralized state; and, were policy to be developed and implemented in accordance with a state-defined objective, we should have to conclude that there is a close link between the structures of a state and policy...

    • CHAPTER 12 The Profession’s Bankers
      (pp. 256-274)

      I suggested in previous chapters that there is no simple and direct relationship between the notaires and the state. The notaires deal with numerous state agencies, all of which have either a legal supervisory role or some form of responsibility for or connection to the profession. The importance of an agency for the profession, or the degree of influence that an agency exercises over the profession, is not direcdy tied to the legal definition of the state’s role vis-à-vis the profession. We have seen that the legal tutelle which the Ministry of Justice has over the profession is largely devoid...

    • CHAPTER 13 Planning the Future: The Notaires and the Caisse des Dépôts
      (pp. 275-296)

      The Caisse des Dépôts is more than a mere passive banker to the notarial profession. For the past fifteen years the CDC has been consolidating its link to the profession, reorganizing its administration to meet the ever expanding services it provides the notaires, and intervening on behalf of the profession in the governmental and bureaucratic spheres. In short, a clientistic relationship has developed that is far more significant than a relationship based on a legal tutelle. The reason for this is that, like all clientistic relationships, this one is based on a commonality of interests which assures both sides of...

  10. PART FIVE Conclusion

    • CHAPTER 14 Centralization and the Failure of a Reform
      (pp. 299-330)

      This study has focused on the workings of what is generally regarded as the quintessential centralized state. The literature on state structures has assumed that centralized states, because of their greater coherence, come to have greater capacities than decentralized ones in asserting their independence from society. This assumption is a byproduct of the desire to regard the state as an independent actor. As James G. March and Johan P. Olsen observe, “The argument that institutions can be treated as political actors is a claim of institutional coherence and autonomy. The claim of coherence is necessary in order to treat institutions...

  11. Glossary
    (pp. 331-332)
  12. Index
    (pp. 333-338)
  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 339-339)