Ties That Bind? The Parapublic Underpinnings of Franco-German Relations as Construction of International Value
Beneath the relations among states, and distinct from the exchanges of an autonomous regional or global civil society, there is another set of international practices which is neither public nor private but parapublic. The Franco-German parapublic underpinnings consist of publicly funded youth and educational exchanges, some two thousand city and regional partnerships, a host of institutes and associations concerned with Franco-German matters, and various other parapublic elements. This institutional reality provides resources, socializes the participants of its programs, and generates social meaning. Simultaneously, parapublic activity faces severe limits. In this paper I clarify the concept of “parapublic underpinnings” of international relations and flesh out their characteristics for the relationship between France and Germany. I then evaluate the effects and limits of this type of activity, and relate this paper’s findings and arguments to recent research on transnationalism, Europeanization, and denationalization.