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The Front National at forty: a ‘normal’ party now? - inaugural lecture at Aston University

West Midlands

Aston Inaugural: Professor Jim Shields, Tuesday 23rd April 



Aston Inaugurals



The Aston Inaugurals celebrate and showcase the research expertise of the University’s newly appointed professors across a diverse range of topics.   


The fourth lecture in the series will be given by Professor Jim Shields from Aston University's School of Languages and Social Sciences at 6.00pm on Tuesday 23rd April 2013. 


The Front National at forty: a ‘normal’ party now? 


In the 2012 French presidential and parliamentary elections, Marine Le Pen and her far-right Front National (FN) won a combined total of ten million votes, one in six of all first-round votes cast. This was an electoral support unprecedented in the party’s forty-year history. In the course of that history, the FN has grown from a small radical right-wing fringe movement to the third most important political party in France. In 2002, its founding leader, Jean-Marie Le Pen, shocked the political world by coming second in the presidential race; his daughter’s ambition now is to complete the party’s journey to mainstream acceptability. 


This lecture will consider some of the issues raised by the current strength and mainstream aspirations of the FN. It will be the second ‘inaugural’ lecture given by this speaker on this subject at Aston. The first was in autumn 1984 when, as a newly appointed fixed-term lecturer, a very much younger Jim Shields devoted his first lecture to the earliest signs of electoral breakthrough by a largely unknown Front National – never thinking he would be talking about it still three decades later. 


This Inaugural is the story of a long and unlikely personal association with a political party. Despite an academic career spent mostly elsewhere, it is also the story of a long, and unlikely, personal association with a university. 


All of the Aston Inaugurals will start at 6.00pm and will be held in the Sumpner Lecture Theatre located in the Main Building on Aston University campus which is just a short walk from the Centre of Birmingham. 


The event is free to attend and open to all. Complimentary tea and coffee will be served from 5.30pm and a buffet will follow the lecture.  


To book a seat, register via Eventbrite . For further information call please call 0121 204 4542 or email