Although the term ‘open soci­ety’ has lit­tle trac­tion in France, the demo­c­ra­t­ic prin­ci­ples at the core of an open soci­ety are embod­ied by France’s repub­li­can nation­al mot­to of free­dom, equal­i­ty and fra­ter­ni­ty (lib­erté, égal­ité, fra­ter­nité). In their analy­sis of Voic­es on Val­ues sur­vey data Cather­ine Fieschi, Paul Gau­dric and Paul Lagneau-Ymon­et show that French respon­dents over­whelm­ing­ly sup­port free­dom of thought and expres­sion, along with the rule of law, where­as prin­ci­ples specif­i­cal­ly con­cerned with open­ness are less well regard­ed.

In seek­ing to explain the dif­fer­ent val­ue ascribed to demo­c­ra­t­ic rights and open­ness and their rela­tion­ship the authors iden­ti­fy and dis­cuss two top­ics: law enforce­ment and migra­tion. On the for­mer, the authors observed a readi­ness to accept tougher secu­ri­ty mea­sures even if this means a trade-off on some fun­da­men­tal rights. On migra­tion, there is strong demand for the gov­ern­ment to do no more than it does at present to “wel­come migrants.”

Draw­ing on their expert inter­views, the authors dis­cuss past and cur­rent ini­tia­tives to pro­mote an open soci­ety in France and com­pelling­ly argue why in France open soci­ety val­ues should be engaged with at the con­sti­tu­tion­al lev­el, pro­vid­ing valu­able insights and ideas for any­one work­ing on the pro­mo­tion of an open soci­ety in France or across Europe.

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