Social Organization. Auvergnats are tied to the French state through a complex bureaucratic infrastructure, yet the primacy of Auvergnat regional identity is strong (particularly among rural inhabitants of the region). There are 1,308 communes in Auvergne, which constitute the smallest administrative units in France and which represent the level at which most social life occurs. There is both urban-rural and classbased social differentiation in the Auvergne. Auvergnats of rural origin who migrate to urban centers often remain in the region and retain close ties to native village and family life. Political Organization. France's Fifth Republic is governed by an executive branch, shared by the elected president and the appointed prime minister (and his cabinet), and a legislative branch, consisting of the National Assembly and the Senate. Since 1982, Auvergne has had a regional President and Council, as part of decentralizing efforts in France; before that, there was a regional prefect, but more central control over policy-making. France has a multiparty political system.
Social Control. The French state has a court system and police to enforce social control. Other state institutions, such as education and social services, also operate to perpetuate an orderly society. At the local level in Auvergne, there is both resistance to state forms of social control and pressure to conform to familial and community-based norms.
Conflict. During World War II, Auvergne was the home of the Vichy government and part of occupied German territory, although the Resistance was strong in southern portions of the region. All of France, including Auvergne, underwent a traumatic period of internal conflict during May 1968, when workers and students launched a series of protests.