Solidarity as Political Strategy: Post-Crisis Reform Following the French Heatwave

P. Stephenson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


A heatwave in 2003 caused 15,000 deaths in France. This article examines the impact of the public health crisis on French public management, considering how government actors across various state institutions, including central and decentralized tiers of public administration, have been engaged in reform. It studies how these actors in the post-crisis reform process established responsibility and drew lessons. The paper shows that solidarity was used discursively in a game of political blameshifting and experimentation. It also points to the politics behind the framing of crisis enquiries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)402-415
Number of pages14
JournalPublic Management Review
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2013


  • France
  • accountability
  • crisis management
  • learning
  • political reform

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