Clout, Hugh and Demossier, Marion
Introduction. New countryside, old peasants? Politics, tradition and modernity in rural France
[in special issue: Politics, Tradition and Modernity in Rural France]
Modern & Contemporary France, 11, (3), . (doi:10.1080/0963948032000128528).
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Since the publication of the volume Rural Studies in Britain and France (1990) by P. Lowe and M. Bodiguel, ‘la ruralitéfrançaise’ has become the object of intense scrutiny and has emerged as a political field where questions of national and collective identity, traditions, history, landscapes, the past and future of French society have all been debated. In the introduction to that volume, the editors declared: ‘The countryside and rural society, their past, present and future, are major preoccupations in Britain and in France. The urbanisation of the two nations has in no way diminished this interest; if anything, it has sharpened it. With the bulk of economic and social activity concentrated in towns and cities, the countryside has come to embody largely a cultural interest in both countries’, something that has been borne out by recent events. This special issue devoted to ‘Politics, tradition and modernity in rural France’ is the first issue of Modern & Contemporary France to be dedicated to a discussion of topics surrounding la question agricole. The recent publication of a short dossier on French agriculture in the journal French Politics, Society and Culture pointed the way to a number of the debates examined in the following articles about the past and the future of rural France, especially in the context of a more globalised and Europeanised economy.
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