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In 2008, France celebrated the fifty years of the promulgation of the Fifth Republic Constitution. It was also the year of the largest modification of the Constitution, the so called 'modernisation'. If 2008 was a key moment in French constitutional history, dynamics of the Fifth Republic Constitution are neither a recent matter nor entirely the results of the successive amendments of the Constitution. For a long time the social, economical, environmental and historical contexts have influenced the Constitution to the extent they have penetrated not only the text itself but more extensively its spirit, the philosophy and ideas of the Republic in general. However, many tensions within the text have been revealed over the years, showing that the modern edifice is perhaps crumbling.
This book questions the foundations of the Fifth Republic, considering the 'old' and the 'new'. It explores the dynamics and changes that not only occurred during the last fifty years of the Constitution but also the presence of old elements, sometimes archaic ones that create tensions within the constitutional text. The book examines the 'human rights' turn as being central to the foundation of the Republic, both as expressions of the Enlightenment and the Revolution, but also as a motor for French colonisation. The book goes on to look at the reaction of the French Republic towards new regional and global developments such as European integration and the response to environmental challenges, while still remaining anchored in the France's past.