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Notre-Dame De Paris, Worldwide Emotion Shaping National and European Heritage Policy

European Union
National Identity
Mobilisation
Influence
Anne-Laure Riotte
Université Paris II Panthéon-Assas
Anne-Laure Riotte
Université Paris II Panthéon-Assas

Abstract

On May the 3rd, 2019, Amélie de Montchalin, Secretary of State to the French Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs, received her European counterparts, at a ministerial conference. Franck Riester, French Minister of Culture, held a parallel meeting with his European counterparts. These meetings followed a letter from the French President to his European counterparts. Following the fire of Notre-Dame de Paris on April, 15th 2019, this letter aimed to reflect collectively to better ways to preserve the European heritage. Focusing on the worldwide emotion set off by the event, this paper uses reputation and public policy literatures to provide insights about the capacity of a government and an international organisation to act and to interact with popular emotion in turbulent times. Thus, this paper proposes a new perspective by applying reputation concepts and arguments to the role of emotions in the policy process. In that case, emotion is the gateway to selective attention and bright light on heritage policies and to put it in a dramatic way on the agenda. In order to explore this question, the argument will first focus on the interactions between population and leaders, do population have a role after influencing the political agenda for such a famous momument? Can they concretely shape a policy, giving money or voting for a project? Then, this paper examines the politicians’ emotion regulation strategies, playing on the inherent ambiguity of the “vivre-ensemble” and emotional quality of an idea, after failing to embrace their role as a country of arts and heritage. Finally, this paper challenges the current window of opportunity for several actors in the social field with different interests, like cultural workers, patrons and billionaires, politicians and how they invested that specific event. It challenges the political responses adopted for every audience it addresses.