This article draws upon developments in UK research on political rhetoric and political performance in order to examine the incident in 2013 when French President François Hollande committed French forces to a US-led punitive strike against Syria, after the use of chemical weapons in a Damascus suburb on 21 August. The US-led retaliation did not take place. This article analyses Hollande's declaration on 27 July and his TV appearance on 15 September. His rhetoric and style are best understood as generic to the nature of the presidential office of the Fifth Republic. The article concludes by appraising how analysis of the French case contributes to the developing literature on rhetoric, celebrity and performance.
Bibliographical noteThis is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in French Politics. The definitive publisher-authenticated version Gaffney, J. (2014). Political leadership and the politics of performance: France, Syria and the chemical weapons crisis of 2013. French politics, 12(3), 218-234 is available online at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1057/fp.2014.17
- François Hollande
- political performance