Subnational Government: The French Experience is the most comprehensive and up to date treatment in English of the transformation of local governance in France since the 1982 decentralization reforms. It places these reforms and their consequences in the historical context of French nation-building, socio-economic changes within France and in relation to international trends in territorial governance. The book argues that we are witnessing a transformation of the classical Jacobin unitary state and the end of the old system of central-local relations which underpinned this. It examines the evolution of the municipalities and the attempts to overcome the problem of their vast number through various forms of association. It analyses the struggle for dominance between the departments and regions, the link between decentralization and reform of the state, the role of politicians and of electoral systems and it is all financed. The book combines meticulous empirical research with clear theoretical analysis.