Vingtième Siècle 113, janvier-mars 2012

L'invention politique de l'environnement
First Edition

Ce numéro de Vingtième Siècle met en perspective la question devenue aujourd'hui incontournable de l'environnement. Si la politisation de la question environnementale est désormais un fait établi, sa démocratisation est encore à inventer. Read More

Mobiliser pour l'environnement en Europe et aux États-Unis : un état des lieux à l’aube du 20e siècle
Environmental Mobilization in Europe and in the United States: Overview at the Beginning of the 20th Century

Jean-François Mathis
What did the 19th century bring in terms of environmental mobilization? It first introduced a discourse on nature, showing its importance and the dangers threatening it, and defined its complex relationship to humankind (conservation vs. preservation, reformism vs. utopianism). The 19th century also saw the appearance of environmental actors and the ways their discourse and actions became accepted and legitimized. Mobilization methods such as appeals to public opinion, associations and local and national institutions were worked out. Thus, at the dawn of the 20th century, the three elements necessary for the growth of the environmental movement were put in place: discourse, legitimate actors and efficient practices.
Key words: environment, nature, Europe, culture, associations.

Les nazis et la « nature » : protection ou prédation ?
Nazis and Nature : Protection or Predation ?

Johann Chapoutot
Nazis are credited with legalizing the protection of nature: the link they established between blood and soil, the cult of romanticism of nature and the negative eugenics they defended supposedly predisposed them to implement an ecological sensitivity earlier than other contemporary states. A study of Nazi ecological legislation shows that bills dated from the Weimar Republic and were scarcely applied: swamps, forests and mountains were subjected to Nazi defense and production policy needs. A careful analysis of what happened to these protected zones, like other territories and the people that occupied them, showed that they were totally reified and considered as sources of energy and material to be used in the Third Reich war effort.
Key words: national-socialism, ecology, law, predation,destruction.

La politique environnementale de Vichy
Vichy’s Environmental Policies
Chris Pearson

This article explores the environmental history of Vichy France. It argues that the Vichy regime engaged with the environment in a variety of often contradictory ways. As it strove to remake France in line with its reactionary worldview and to draw the maximum amount of resources from the soil, it appropriated forests, mountains and fields. At the same time, it launched a "war against wasteland" and attempted to cultivate the entire French environment. But overall, Vichy’s various policies failed. In line with other historical research that demonstrates that Vichy was not a parenthesis in French history, this article argues that Vichy’s environmental policies had precedents and successors in French history. Moreover, its policies echoed those pursued in other countries during the Second World War.
Key words: Vichy, environment, forests, back-to-the-land, Resistance.

« N’abîmons pas la France ! » L’environnement à la télévision dans les années 1970
“Don’t ruin France!” The Environment in Television in the 1970s

Christian Delporte
The environment emerged in television with the emotion that the Torrey Canyon (1967) catastrophe elicited and it came to stay with the program that was devoted to it, “France disfigured” (1971-1978). Faithful to government policy, the preservation of the environment first concerned the defense of the French landscape, mistreated by town and country planners and polluters of all sorts. While it refused to globalize the environmental issue, while its reassuring vision set it apart from ecologists’ alarmism, “France disfigured” at least popularized the theme of the protection of nature. Imposing its view and themes, this policy contributed to marginalizing the discourse and action of ecologists, even after Dumont’s candidacy for the presidential election (1974). Feeding into the idea that the environment is everyone’s business, television of the 1970s denied the value of political ecology and
even the utility of an ecological movement.
Key words: environment, ecology, ecologists, television,Michel Pericard.

Le greenrush : essai d’interprétation de la « bulle verte » au Royaume-Uni dans les années 1980
Greenrush: Interpreting the Popularity of Environmentalism in United Kingdom in the 1980s

Jean-François Mouhot, James McKay et Matthew Hilton
The British environmental movement experienced a short lived “greenrush” between 1988 and 1990 : exponential growth of members and income of environmental organizations (Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, WWF), highest vote share (thus far) for the Green Party in the 1989 European elections, omnipresence of environmental issues in the media and in politics. This “greenrush” was, however, short-lived and was followed by a lean period for environmental issues. We show that this phenomenon, contrary to what has often been written previously, was not limited to the United Kingdom, but was a European-wide phenomenon (including Eastern Europe) and was observed in the USA as well. We analyze the different factors which contributed to this peak and trough such as the globalization of the issue of climate change (and its increasing presence in the media after 1988) or the growing professionalization of environmental organizations.
Key words: political ecology, environment, non-governmental organization, climate change, United-Kingdom.

L’affaire de la Vanoise et son analyste : le document, le bouquetin et le parc national
The Vanoise Affair and its Analyst : The Document, the Ibex and the National Park
Florian Charvolin

The Vanoise affair, as it is commonly called in oral accounts and in the historiography of the protection of nature in the 1960s, is both an issue concerning ecological memory and a historians’ archive, after having been a battlefield of one of the first major confrontations between the public and town planners in France. It shows the first attempts to curtail the law on national parks, private developers’ interests in tourist resorts, local municipal politics and the growth of grassroots nature protectors. The article studies this emergence of a particular historic “form” taking its inspiration from the sociology of public problems and scientific content.
Key words: the Vanoise Affair, environmental history, nature protection, France, grassroots movements.

De la plainte légale à la subversion environnementale : l’aménagement des rivières dans l’Espagne franquiste (Aragon, 1945-1979)
From Legal Complaint to Environmental Subversion: Water Management during the Franco Dictatorship in Spain (Aragon, 1945-1979)

Pablo Corral Broto
Under Franco’s dictatorship in Spain, not everyone agreed with the productivist model for water policy. This research follows a regional approach, focusing on Aragon, in order to analyze the wide range of conflicts. With comprehensive access to empirical data sources, the study analyzes how environmental conflict contributed to political change by examining how social strategies were produced and justified. When confronted with industrial pollution and large hydraulic works, social action and the reasoning behind it progressively highlighted evidence showing the dictatorship to be incapable of applying a fair water management process. By historicizing this act, through the analysis of interpretative categories such as publicity, equality and citizenship, and their relation to the environment, it is possible to understand the transformation of institutional environmental action into more complex grass roots and democratic political action.
Key words: Spain, Ebro river basin, water policy, Franco’s dictatorship, environmental conflict.

L’expertise d’État, creuset de l’environnement en URSS
State Expertise, the Environment’s Origins in the USSR
Marie-Hélène Mandrillon

In the USSR, the first warnings concerning the impact of industrialization on natural resources came from within the communist system. These warnings appeared as of the 1950s, launched by the planners and scientists who were heavily involved in economic development programs. These experts formed a network and their ideas circulated, but their influence remained limited until the political upheaval set off by Mikhail Gorbatchev. The article shows that these bureaucratic origins continued to mark the environmental heritage of post-Soviet space in spite of the brief parenthesis of the Gorbatchevian opening on both the society and the world.
Key words: environment, USSR, communism, expertise, institutions.

L’européanisation de la politique environnementale dans les années 1970
The Europeanization of Environmental Policy in the 1970s
Jan-Henrik Meyer

This article analyses the emergence of a European Community environmental policy in the 1970s in terms of the Europeanization of the environment. There are three differ ent types of Europeanization as established in the documentation: as establishment of institutions and policy making at the EC level; as the EC’s impact on the member states; and as a process of establishing transnational cooperation of societal actors across the EC. The article disentangles the Europeanization of the environment process, emphasizing the precedence of Europeanization in the context of the Council of Europe and the EC take over of policy ideas and principles from the international level. Furthermore, it addresses the rapid emergence of societal Europeanization, notably in
the anticipation of European impact on member state legislation.
Key words: Europeanization, environmental policy, European integration, conservation, environmentalism.

De la nature à la biosphère : l’invention politique de l’environnement global, 1945-1972
From Nature to Biosphere: The Political Invention of the Global Environment, 1945-1972
Yannick Mahrane, Marianna Fenzi, Céline Pessis et Christophe Bonneuil

How, between the end of the Second World War and the 1972 Stockholm conference on human environment, did the environment become a global problem and a category of international political action? This article analyzes the geopolitical context and the types of warning and scientific expertise that shaped the emergence and developments of the “global environmental” category. While the category of “nature” declined, the article, through the prism of the Cold War and decolonialization, looks at questions of the international conservation of resources, the “biological bases of planetary productivity”, then of pollutions and “the biosphere”, and analyzes their inclusion in an ecosystemic conception of the planet and their involvement in an international political agenda.
Key words: global environment, conservationism, nature protection, Cold War, Stockholm Conference.

Le tournant environnemental de la société industrielle au prisme d’une histoire des débordements et de leurs conflits
The Turning Point of Industrial Environment Through the Prism of a History of Excess and Conflicts
Michel Letté

Did disasters and massive pollutions contribute to the environmental changes in 20th century industrial society? Growing opposition to the excesses of industry suggests at least a significant shift in public awareness. Starting from recent cases, this paper is an exploration of several levels of environmental conflicts resulting from more than two centuries of industrialization excesses. This history concerns the nature of transactions whose outcome was the delimitation of territory and its functions. It focuses on the negotiations between stakeholders to describe what is beyond their conflicting issues and proposes to redefine the environmental problem itself. What emerges is a history of the means for regulating environmental conflicts by putting in perspective the long term industrial excesses.
Key words: industrial overspills, environmental conflicts, territories, stakeholders, sensitivities.

La politique de l’environnement industriel en France (1960-1990) : pouvoirs publics et patronat face à une diversification des enjeux et des acteurs
French Industrial Environment Policy (1960-1990): When Public Authorities and Companies Faced a Diversification of Stakes and Actors
Daniel Boullet

The action of the State and the role played by public opinion, external influences and tangible necessities led French industry to be concerned about the environment. Nevertheless, inertia in public authorities as well as in the business community reduced the extent of the concern. A pragmatic policy rose in the 1960s along with institutional tools and relations with private companies. The free market approach was mixed with moderate State intervention. A ministry was established in the 1970s and rapidly became active; legislation was rejuvenated and liberalized. A systematic cooperation partially succeeded in involving industrialists who saw subjects not heavily concerned with their present situation. The 1980s saw serious accidents and the development of European legislation and was characterized by the inclusion of environmental issues in company management, which also had to cope with the problem of the management and transparency of information and of legal measures’ implementation.
Key words: administration, companies, cooperation, laxity, information

L’invention syndicale de l’environnement dans la France des années 1960
Labor’s Invention of the Environment in the 1960s in France
Renaud Bécot

French labor unions have often been presented as indifferent to the environment. Yet, ever since the end of the Second World War, union archives attest to its concern for issues such as management of “natural resources”, occupational health or urban planning. These concerns became more specific in the 1950s and 1960s when trade unionists were confronted with environmental damage, especially in the colonial context. Consequently, the unions worked out policies of economic planning, including on environmental issues. In the meantime, unions carried out actions in the workplace and neighborhoods against pollution. Thinking about workers’ surroundings gradually came into play, This notion became the union’s counterpart to the “technocratic invention of the environment” in companies and public institutions.
Key words: environment, unionism, pollution, productivism, workers.

Écologie et politique dans les années 1970 : les Amis de la Terre en France
Ecology and Politics in the 1970s: Friends of the Earth-France
Alexis Vrignon

Founded in 1970, Friends of the Earth-France was one of the most important players of political ecology in the 1970s. Participation in elections and anti-nuclear contestation are two sides of the same thinking about the role of citizens and civil society in solving environmental problems. Friends of the Earth wanted to challenge the authorities in the definition of the environment but they had trouble establishing an organization able to do so. Local groups seldom worked together and there was no effective control on national leaders, which fueled suspicion and tensions. At the beginning of the 1980s, the association adopted more conventional statutes and a definition of the environment similar to that of the public authorities. Thus, after the 1968 years, Friends of the Earth became a sort of French environmental NGO.
Key words: political ecology, civil society, years around 1968, nuclear contestation, environmental policies.

L’extrême gauche française et l’écologie : une rencontre difficile (1968-1978)
French Far Left and Ecology: A Difficult Encounter (1968-1978)
Philippe Buton

During the decade following May 1968, there were three different kinds of behaviors towards ecology in the French far left. First, some of the organizations were aware of environmental issues early on. Such pioneers were the parti socialiste unifié, as well as movements close to Maoism, known as “spontaneism” (Vive la Révolution and the Gauche prolétarienne),and also a small Trotskyist group (the Alliance marxiste révolutionnaire). The next one was composed of followers and included the main Trotskyist organizations (Ligue communiste, Lutte ouvrière) and the Anarchist organizations. A third group was composed of the stubborn ones and gathered almost all of the Maoists and a few Trotskyist (Organisation communiste internationaliste) or Anarchist organizations (Guerre de classes). The intersection of three parameters explains this typology: the relation of these groups to the notion of modernity, the relation to Marxism, and the notion of revolutionary optimism.
Key words: ecology, extreme-left, Anarchism, Maoism, Trotskyism.

Paperback - In French 20.00 €


Presses de Sciences Po
20 & 21. Revue d'histoire
, , History
BISAC Subject Heading
Onix Audience Codes
06 Professional and scholarly
Title First Published
16 January 2012
Subject Scheme Identifier Code
Thema subject category: Politics and government


Publication Date
16 January 2012
470 grams
List Price
20.00 €
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Stéphane Frioux et Vincent Lemire
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Charles-François Mathis

Les nazis et la « nature » : protection ou prédation ?
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La politique environnementale de Vichy
Chris Pearson

Le premier ministère de l’Environnement (1971-1974) : l’invention d’un possible
Entretien avec Robert Poujade

« N’abîmons pas la France ! » : l’environnement à la télévision dans les années 1970
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Le greenrush : essai d’interprétation de la « bulle verte » au Royaume-Uni dans les années 1980
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L’affaire de la Vanoise et son analyste : le document, le bouquetin et le parc national
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De la plainte légale à la subversion environnementale : l’aménagement des rivières dans l’Espagne franquiste (Aragon, 1945-1979)
Pablo Corral Broto

L’expertise d’État, creuset de l’environnement en URSS
Marie-Hélène Mandrillon

L’européanisation de la politique environnementale dans les années 1970
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L’invention syndicale de l’environnement dans la France des années 1960
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