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Local Environmental Politics in France: Case of the Louron Valley, 1984–1996

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The paper deals with a development conflict that occurred in the Hautes Pyrénées about a project of an EHV line between France and Spain that was to go through the Louron Valley. The paper aims at stressing three points: first, there exists specific constraints due to territorialized protests (so called NIMBY mobilization) in terms of rhetoric and repertoires of action. Emphasis is put on the cognitive dimension of the mobilization through the analysis, of the way in which the mobilized groups tried to define a framework of interpretation of the affair. Second, the paper challenges the classic definition of contentious politics that is based on a distinction between insiders and outsiders, civil societies and the State. Finally, the paper tries to show how development conflicts have produced a definite change in the forms of public debate and the ways public policies have been implemented. In other words, not only the State contributes to defining a field of possibilities for movements, but the movements themselves can spark a change in the political rules of the game. From that point of view, the field of environmental movements represents one of the best vantage points for anyone interested in the outcomes of social movements.French Politics (2003) 1, 305–330. doi:10.1057/palgrave.fp.8200016
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Institut d'Etudes Politiques et Internationales, Université de Lausanne, Switzerland, Email: [email protected]

Publication date: 01 November 2003

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