French employers and businessmen in the political and election arena (19th-20th centuries): An historiographical approach

By Philippe Hamman

This paper tries to summarize a certain number of major points of the historiography dealing with the question of the place of the French employers and the business community in the political and electoral arena since the mid-19th century. More precisely, by questioning the different ways historians and other researchers in social science analyze this subject, we aim to shed light on the entry, the place and the significance of these manufacturers and businessmen in direct political competition i.e. going beyond the recurring but often vague mentions of the employers’€™ “influence”€ over political life, found even in the scientific literature. For this purpose, we analyze several issues dealing with the temporal dimension of the processes. This progression of reasoning leads us to examine several concrete scenes of interaction between political and economic arenas, relating to the issue of socio-spatial scales i.e. the different levels (local, regional and so on) of the employers’€™ investments in politics.


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