lundi 25 février 2013
What Le Banquet is about
Le Banquet is a review published by the Study Center for Reflection and Political Engagement (CERAP). It is a non-profit making organization with no political affiliations and is independent of trade union or lobby interests.
It was founded in 1992 and to date it has published 31 editions, two of which were double ones. Each edition is a book on its own, running from 230 to 500 pages. Several themes are expressed. Recently published works are given critical reviews.
Many cultural, theoretical and speculative fields are covered by Le Banquet. Political and philosophical articles figure alongside studies of history, economics, sociology and foreign affairs which are all grist to our mill.
We have had an editorial policy of publishing writers from all political horizons. To quote but a few from the French political scene : François Hollande, Michel Rocard, Hubert Védrine, Bernard Kouchner, Jean-Pierre Chévènement and Hervé Gaymard.
Other European contributors have been the late President of the German Republic Johannes Rau, the former President of the European Commission Romano Prodi, the Nobel Peace Prize-winner John Hume, the former British Minister Joyce Quin, the German leader Karl Lamers and others.
Heads of international organisations such as Pascal Lamy and Dominique Strauss-Kahn have written for Le Banquet as have great intellectuals from France : Marcel Gauchet, Pierre Rosanvallon, Vincent Descombes, Emmanuel Todd and Philippe Raynaud.
Still other notable contributors have been John Hamre, Charles Kupchan, Carl Gershman, Heather Conley, Charles Taylor, Richard Rorty, Michael Walzer and Ramin Jahanbegloo. These have come from several academic fields, captains of industry, high-ranking trade union officials, prominent leaders of think tanks and top civil servants.
However, our review is not a celebrity magazine. Our interest is to also publish the works of lesser-known writers and make their talents known to a wider public.
Why the title Le Banquet ?
It was not easy to find a title for the fourth review written for a wide audience in France. Commentaire, Le Débat and Esprit did not leave us much room to manoeuvre. All these reviews are of high quality and we of Le Banquet have excellent relationships with them. Our director and many contributors regularly publish columns in them.
The three above-mentioned magazines made an impact on their epoch and continue to give us superb insights into our age, Le Banquet is perhaps more reflective of our times and those of its leaders.
The general drift of Le Banquet seems to put its centre of gravity within the ambit of left-wing realism. Its philosophical tendency is toward rationalist deconstruction. Published articles reflect a great diversity of point of views.
Most of all, whereas our three competitors and their followers align themselves on political movements, Aronian liberalism (Commentaire), the Christian left (Esprit) and critical intellectualism (Le Débat), Le Banquet is based on the conviction that modern-day theories and practices require a radical re-thinking which no pre-established doctrine can provide.
Le Banquet is a publication free of all censorship of its views, be they laudatory or condemnatory. Its aim is not to promote, condemn or serve vested interests, nor to settle any scores. Freedom of judgment and critical insight are the building blocks on which Le Banquet is based. These are inherent to democracy, to which our review is dedicated and whose principles we defend. We wish to explore and extend the practical implementations of these fundamental liberties.
Why a website ?
We have a precise aim which sets us apart from other French reviews aimed at the general public. It is not our intention to provide pages of summaries and comments on latest publications. We have opted to offer our on-line readers all of the articles published since 1992 with a state-of-the-art search engine with the exception of the papers of the three last issues for which a selection has been made.
In future we plan to offer articles other than those previously published on Le Banquet’s site. We shall post links with similar sites and invite reactions from users.
Why have we made this choice ? The CERAP is made up of volunteers. We do not have an editorial secretary, nor even a permanent secretary, nor do we have a publishing house backing us up, whether that of a university or research center. We are a non-profit-making organization, even though we rely more than ever on our sales and subscriptions in order to balance our books and ensure our future development. We have a sense of public service and we aspire to allowing the most pluralistic points of view a means of expression.
We are convinced that the printed medium still has a future and that the magic of the printed page, particularly in review form, will endure.