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Pastoral areas and actors: between pastoralism and “pastorality”

Call for papers: before may 31st, 2013

After having been berated for contributing to overgrazing and the degradation of certain fragile areas, pastoralism was then marginalized by the industrialisation of stock rearing, if not simply reduced to one of numerous extensive livestock farming techniques. Today, however, pastoralism appears to be enjoying recognition as a prudent method of managing semi-natural areas. There is evidence that this activity is increasingly used in mountain areas to help revitalize a sluggish local economy (Cournil, 2010). This is the case in certain mountain areas of the French Rhone-Alps region that are involved in “territorial pastoral plans”, a government initiative to develop pastoral areas. Here, a notion of “pastorality” is emerging, relating to the qualities attributed to these spaces and their actors (Cournil, Calmettes, Turquin, publication in preparation). This pastorality, which could also be defined by analogy with rurality as “the character or essence of what is pastoral”, appears capable of establishing new dynamics and unique links between the inhabitants of mountain areas and the city dwellers that use them.

What are the roles of pastoral areas and pastoral actors in the construction of the territories in which they are found? Can pastoralism meet all expectations? Can we speak of pastoralism and pastorality, or does the diversity of possible situations make it necessary to talk about different types of pastoralism and pastorality? What does the emergence of pastorality say about the evolution of pastoral areas and actors? Why and how is the notion of pastorality emerging today? Does it correspond to a patrimonialisation of activities, to a greening of the rhetoric and/or to practices that are becoming increasingly ecological? Is the image of pastoralism becoming blurred or, on the contrary, enjoying new legitimacy?

These are among the many questions that can be addressed from several different perspectives:

  • from a geographical and spatial point of view: the borders of the pastoral domain are changing in response to climate change, which is pushing the limits of pastures to higher altitudes, while urban demands are pulling herds towards lower altitudes to maintain peri-urban wasteland and parklands, and even urban gardens.

  • from a territorial point of view: marginal activities and border areas are becoming central in the identity of new emerging territories like certain regional natural parks.

  • from a social and anthropological point of view: pastorality is emerging as a motor for new “improbable” alliances, while at the same time we are witnessing a renewal and feminization of pastoral actors, particularly among shepherds.

  • from an economic point of view: new territorial resources are appearing based on the promotion and heritagization of the symbolic force of pastoral activities as well as on specific products and services.

  • from a political point of view: new forms of governance are being developed, adapted to actors who are questioning the spatial and temporal limits of territory, given that there are numerous seasonal workers who carry out their activities in areas that cut across several established territories.

There are thus a variety of ways to observe, describe and attempt to understand today’s pastoral phenomenon. The issues identified above from various mountain studies appear to us to raise questions relating to all pastoral areas and actors, be they in southern or more northerly latitudes, or in highland or lowland areas. The forthcoming publication is open to contributions from all authors concerned by these issues, irrespective of their discipline or the geographical dimension of their work.

Proposals are expected before April 15th, 2013, (500 words abstract) and final papers should be handed out before May 31th, 2013 (see Rules for publication).

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Bornard A., Cozic Ph., 2000.– « Les intérêts multiples des milieux pâturés d’altitude gérés par le pâturage domestique », in Bornard André et Brau-Nogue Catherine (Coord.), Le pastoralisme en France à l’aube des années 2000, Pastum Hors-Série, Éditions de la Cardère, 2000, pp. 231-236.

Brisebarre A.-M., Fabre P., Lebaudy G., 2009.– Sciences sociales, regards sur le pastoralisme contemporain en France, Coédition Association française de Pastoralisme, Maison de la transhumance et Cardère éditeur.

Calmettes A., 2010.– Pastoralisme et territoire en Belledonne : analyse au regard de la ressource territoriale dans le territoire pastoral de Belledonne, Mémoire de Master Ingénierie du développement territorial, Grenoble, Institut de Géographie Alpine – Université Joseph Fourier.

Calmettes A., Cournil P.-J., Turquin O., Les territoires pastoraux entre pastoralisme et pastoralité (publication en cours).

Cournil P.-J., 2010, Contribution pour une économie alpestre ressourcée, Mémoire de Diplôme de Recherche Technologique en développement territorial, Grenoble, Université Joseph Fourier, Institut de Géographie Alpine, UMR PACTE-Territoires.

Echeynne C., 2007.– Hommes et troupeaux en montagne. La question pastorale en Ariège, éditions L’Harmattan.

Landel P.-A., 2007, « Invention de patrimoines et créations de territoires », in Gumuchian Hervé, Pecqueur Bernard, La ressource territoriale, Paris, Éditions Economica, 2007, pp. 157-176.

Mauz I., 2005.– Gens, cornes et crocs, Éditions Cemagref, CIRAD, Ifremer, INRA, collection Indisciplines.

Turquin O., 2009.– « L’agrinature ou l’art d’économiser la nature en écologisant nos cultures », in Hervieu Bertrand et Hubert Bernard (dir.), Sciences en campagne, Éditions de l’Aube, pp. 325-336.

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