Obituary: Jean Charlot

Jean Charlot was an elegant writer, an electoral analyst of stature, a political commentator and the most eminent of the researchers on the French Gaullist movement. His stature in all of these disparate fields is assured but he is known to different audiences for very different talents.

He was born in Guingamp and educated at the lycees there and in Valenciennes. Over a long career, he rose through the Fondation National des Sciences Politiques and, after taking a doctorate, became a Professor at the Institut d'Etudes Politiques in Paris in 1978. He was a visiting Professor at the universities of Lausanne and Liege (where he was doctor honoris causa). He was Secretary General of the Association Francaise de Science Politique (1975-79) and on its board from that time.

Charlot was one of the first and most eloquent electoral commentators. France is continuously bathed in opinion polls and Charlot made it part of his business to explain these, and especially the trends which underlay them, to a wider public, both through his appearances on television and as a columnist (regularly for Le Point, but also for Le Figaro and Le Monde). In a country where there are many more academic television personalities that in Britain, he was an IFOP (Institut Francais d'Opinion Pub-lique) "pollster" and a populiser in the best sense of the term.

Within the French intellectual elite, which notoriously lent to the left, Charlot was an exception: a committed Gaullist and an associate of Gaullist leaders but at the same time a careful analyst. In this capacity he was a pollster on call to the neo-Gaullist Rassemblement pour la Republique (RPR) movement set up in 1976 by Jacques Chirac and delivered a number of private studies of public opinion to the RPR. Politically activist, propagandist, or polemical academics are also no novelty in France, but Charlot was from a different stamp: a passionate Gaullist but a dispassionate observer, an engaged but objective commentator. There was no mistaking Charlot's reasoned and sympathetic style, which took political matter and reduced it to a seamless and understandable flow of explication without "talking down".

Charlot's works on Gaullism and the Gaullist movement are standards. Yet his broad range of academic work also covered the analysis of opinion polls, the conceptual understanding of political parties and a widely admired basic text. His work on the Gaullist movement included his L'Union pour la Nouvelle Republique (1967), the famous Le Phenomene Gaulliste (1970, translated into English as The Gaullist Phenomenon, 1971, and many other languages) and Le Gaullisme d'opposition 1946-58 (1983). He contributed to the understanding of de Gaulle with the technical Les francais et de Gaulle (1971) and he edited Quand la gauche peut gagner . . . (1973) both based on polling work by IFOP. He also wrote the important Les Partis Politiques (1971) and the overview La Politique en France (1994). In addition to his journalistic output, Charlot was a prolific contributor to many compilations and technical journals and will be remembered in that domain as an innovative researcher within the rising discipline of western (and French) "political science" after the Second World War.

Charlot was a kindly and modest man with absolutely no "side". Although one of the most distinguished academics of his generation, he was generous to the newer entrants into the profession and contributed his time unfailingly. His determination to get to a Northern university one year, in the middle of a February freeze-up which stopped all public transport, to contribute to an Institut de Gaulle Colloquium, was way beyond the call of duty.

Charlot's last book Pourquoi Jacques Chirac? (1995), dissecting the 1995 presidential race, showed him at his best. In this he combined insider access and sympathy for the new president with over 30 years of work on the Gaullist movement and his pleasure at seeing a Gaullist once again in the Elysee was understandable. His discussions (in very good English) of the last two presidential campaigns will be remembered by contemporary students and academics. He was a devoted family man and he was a frequent visitor to England (his wife Monica ran the Maison Francaise in Oxford in the 1980s).

Jean Charlot, political scientist: born Guingamp, Cotes-du-Nord 16 March 1932; Professor, Paris Institut d'Etudes Politiques 1978-97; married 1956 Monica Huber (three daughters); died 6 March 1997.

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
News
i100

Other places that have held independence referendums
Arts and Entertainment
Jack Huston is the new Ben-Hur
film

It scooped up an unprecedented 11 Academy Awards when it was first remade in 1959

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
fashion

Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas

Arts and Entertainment
Blossoming love: Colin Firth as Stanley and Emma Stone as Sophie, in 'Magic in the Moonlight'
film

Actors star in Woody Allen's 'Magic in the Moonlight'

News
news

News
peopleThe Times of India said actress should treat it as a 'compliment'
Arts and Entertainment
Maxine Peake plays Hamlet at Manchester's Royal Exchange
theatreReview: Maxine Peake brings emotional ferocity to Shakespeare's starring part
News
London's New Year's Eve fireworks event is going to be ticketed this year for the first time at £10 a head
news

Revellers will have to pay to see New Year's Eve fireworks in London

News
news

Watch this commuter wage a one-man war against the Circle Line
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
lifeShould we feel guilty about keeping cats inside?
Travel
travel

...and the perfect time to visit them

Sport
Jonas Gutierrez (r) competes with Yaya Toure (l)
football

Newcastle winger reveals he has testicular cancer - and is losing his trademark long hair as a result

News
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
news

Man's attempt to avoid being impounded heavily criticised

Life and Style
tech

Try putting that one on your Christmas list
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SEN Teaching Assistant Runcorn

£50 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: SEN Teaching Assistant EBD , Septemb...

English Teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Preston: The Job ? This is a new post...

Primary Teacher EYFS, KS1 and KS2

£85 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Preston: Randstad Education are urgentl...

Teacher

£85 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Preston: Rapidly developing and growing...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week