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Forests and Peasant Politics in Modern France

by Tamara L. Whited

  • ISBN: 9780300082272
  • ISBN10: 0300082274

Forests and Peasant Politics in Modern France

by Tamara L. Whited

  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Yale Univ Pr
  • Publish date: 12/01/2000
  • ISBN: 9780300082272
  • ISBN10: 0300082274
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Description: Confronting an ecological crisis in 1860, French officials initiated an unprecedented policy of alpine reforestation. The Alps, Pyrenees, and Massif Central mountains were fragile and degraded, scientific experts determined, and the salvation of the mountains (for the benefit of lowland farmers and urban areas) would require watershed restorations and reduced access to forest and pasture for alpine peasants. This book is an environmental and political history of the disputes over the uses of mountains and forests in France from the mid-nineteenth century to the eve of World War II.

Grounded in detailed case studies of two highland communities -- Jarrier in Savoie and Massat in Ariege -- the book sheds new light on one of the most pronounced conflicts between upland peasants and the state in modern France. Whited argues that the state did not push aside seemingly marginal people in a quick, decisive move justified by the imperatives of modernization. Instead, protesting peasants employed an increasingly flexible arsenal of political responses that forced the state to backtrack and compromise.

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