Crisis and Commitment
the Life History of a French Social Movement
Using ethnographic field data from the Larzac plateau in Southern France, Alexander and Sonia Alland document one of the longest and most successful popular protests in modern French history - the Larzac movement. More than a record of events, the book describes the transformation from the early 1970s of rural defiance into a symbol of left-wing action for France and the world. This revised edition examines the activities of the movement since 1995, including the demonstrations at the Seattle meeting of the World Trade Organisation, the 'great hamburger war' against McDonalds, and the broadening of the movement to embrace struggles elsewhere, such as the anti-nuclear protests in French Polynesia. Particular attention is paid to the charismatic Jose Bove, who has become the figurehead and focus of the campaign during this period.
This account will be of particular interest to anthropologists and historians of contemporary France and Europe as well as students of protest and social movements, and of contemporary politics in general
Table of Contents
Introduction: The Larzac and Invented Tradition; Part One: The Community Forms, Background, The Struggle Begins, The Struggle Continues, Victory, Planning for the Future, The Future Unfolds; Part Two: The Community Evolves, From History to Myth by Way of Symbols, Discords, The Structure of Conflict and its Resolution, The Larzac and the Tradition of the New, Into the Next Century
In an analysis that is engaged and yet clear-headed, Alexander Alland presents a social movement in which out-of-the-ordinary individuals, drawing from the image of southern French peasentry, invented a tradition. The 'peasants' of the Larzac formed an innovative community still very much alive and attentive to the problems of rural development' - Jean-Luc Bonniol, University of Aix-Marseille, France
'There are few studies of the purposeful creation of a social movement, and by addressing this question, the authors raise some of the important implications of the Larzac case. In the many studies of protest and resistance, there is an increasing anthropological attention to issues of violence. Here, the focus on nonviolence is key and interesting, for nonviolence is less studied and, consequently, less well understood' - Elizabeth Evans, University of New Hampshire, USA