The study of France has always generated a creative tension between those attracted by her uniqueness and those attracted by her universality. France herself claims both attributes. At least from the French Revolution if not back to Louis XIV, France has been used as a model for understanding other countries, systems, processes, institutions, ideas, and relationships. The development of social science relied heavily on the French experience to formulate concepts and methods which could be applied elsewhere. France has been a central reference point, either explicitly or indirectly, through theories whose origins in the French experience may not even be realized by contemporary practitioners.