Collective irrigation, the state and social relations in the Eastern Pyrenees of France

Delay Etienne, Linton James. 2019. Collective irrigation, the state and social relations in the Eastern Pyrenees of France. Environment and Planning. C, Politics and Space, 37 (7) : pp. 1179-1197.

Journal article ; Article de recherche ; Article de revue à facteur d'impact
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Quartile : Q2, Sujet : PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION / Quartile : Q2, Sujet : GEOGRAPHY / Quartile : Q2, Sujet : REGIONAL & URBAN PLANNING / Quartile : Q2, Sujet : ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES

Abstract : In this article, we consider the social effects of a large dam in the Eastern Pyrenees region of France. In 1976, the French state constructed a dam near the town of Vinça on the Têt River, altering the hydrological conditions that had co-produced a complex system of hydro-social relations evolved since the Middle Ages. We argue that through altering the relative proximity of dependencies between farmers and between farmers and the state, the dam has had the effect of transferring expertise and social power from local to central authority. However, this shift is made difficult by the evolution of local farmers associations to take advantage of the new hydrological circumstances produced by the dam. The production of hydrological certainty assured by the dam has changed the raison d'etre for these associations (known as Association Syndicale Autorisée), providing them with new opportunities such as in the development of pressurized drip irrigation. In these circumstances, the relations between the Association Syndicale Autorisée and the state produce a hybridized authority over water, neither quite centralized nor local but combining both. We draw from Bookchin's elaboration of 'post-scarcity anarchism' as well as Bouba-Olga and Grossetti's concept of proximities to describe the pitfalls and the promises of pressurized irrigation in the region, made possible by the dam.

Mots-clés Agrovoc : Irrigation goutte à goutte, Association d'agriculteurs, Ressource en eau, Entraide agricole

Mots-clés géographiques Agrovoc : Pyrénées, France

Mots-clés libres : Water, Institution, Entraide, Pyrénées orientales, Irrigation, Irrigation association, Irrigation au goutte à goutte, Cooperative system

Classification Agris : F06 - Irrigation
E40 - Cooperatives
P10 - Water resources and management

Champ stratégique Cirad : CTS 5 (2019-) - Territoires

Auteurs et affiliations

  • Delay Etienne, CIRAD-ES-UPR GREEN (FRA) ORCID: 0000-0001-6633-6269 - auteur correspondant
  • Linton James, Laboratoire de Geographie physique et environnementale (FRA)

Source : Cirad-Agritrop (

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